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Pad Sticking

Pad Sticking

There are 3 kinds of pad sitcking...

Initial Stick: The result of wet pads drying against a tone hole. All saxophones will do this and the G# and low C# are vulnerable to not opening as they open using only spring force. The rest of the normally closed pads will usually open under normal finger / palm pressure.
1) Swab the instrument a few times and use a pad blotter on wet pads before you put the saxophone in the case.
2)Manually check all normally closed pads before playing each time. Takes a second and this type of sticking is only going to happen once per playing session.

B) Sticky Stick:  The result of actual grunge or sticky material on the pad leather or tone hole.  Pads stick while playing, either completely or partially.
1) Use a clean sheet of paper and place between the tone hole and pad. Press down, withdraw the papar to scrub the leather clean. If this does not cure the problem,
2) Use powdered pad papers to leave a powder residue behind. Only use powdered pad papers when pads are dry.

C) Surface Tension Stick: Only occurs once the horn is wet inside, at least 10 to 20 minutes into playing and usually only on rolled tone hole or tone hole ring horns i.e. Keilweth SX-90R. This is the most poorly understood of the 3 problems and most players try solutions designed for the other form of pad sticking without good results. This is due to moisture causing surface tension between the larger pad and tone hole mating surfaces of these horns.
Anything that keeps water from developing surface tension.... in order....
1) Increase spring force to facilitate the pad returning to its normal open position.
2) VERY ightly sand the lacquer on the tone hole tops only with #320 - #400 emery paper to produce micro grooves which will allow air to infiltrate the water surface and break surface tension.
3) Every now and then, treat the pads with a hydrophobic liquid, e.g.light key oil works amazingly well and repels the water from causing problems.