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Stiff Keys and General Maintenance

cjR

New Member
Messages
29
Im a fairly new player and have realised I dont really know what I should be doing to look after my instrument (I use cork grease and clean my mpc buts thats about). Recently I have noticed some keys sticking or feeling a bit stiff particularly c#/Db pad is there something I can do to lubricate these keys?

My sax (an alto Stagg) is only about 5 months old.

Any hints or tips appreciated
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,011
Perhaps the C# pad is needing a clean. I've cleaned mine by slipping a £10 note under it and drawing it through. A friend raises the C# key and places a small foam block under its arm to keep it open when the sax is not being played. This keeps the G# key open as well. If you think the problem is mechanical take the sax back to the shop for attention. If you have a guarantee that is.

Jim.
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
2,147
It's not entirely clear whether the key is stiff or the pad is sticking. Thus you have two answers that are different depending on the problem. A quick fix for a sticky pad is to dust a little talcum power on a piece of paper and then insert this between the tone hole and the pad and pull the paper through. Much like Jim's suggestion + talcum powder. I keep a small contiasner of talc in my sax case. This is not (supposedly) a permenant fix but will allow you to get on with playing. There are various methods (unfortunately not a singe one that everybody agrees on) for removing the gunk that causes sticking. I've never done the full gunk removal, but haven't needed to in over 50 years playing. Spring tension being adjusted correctly is also necessary.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
It's not entirely clear whether the key is stiff or the pad is sticking. Thus you have two answers that are different depending on the problem. A quick fix for a sticky pad is to dust a little talcum power on a piece of paper and then insert this between the tone hole and the pad and pull the paper through. Much like Jim's suggestion + talcum powder.
I am not a big fan of powders. I think a clean pad works better. A tech advised to use roo pads only on C# and G#.

About the £10 note, they are becoming quite rare in my wallet, so I use plain paper. Paper can also work in countries where they don't use the pound, like Timor East, Europe and the United States.

My tech applies paraffine oil, and it seems to work for a while.
 

Rawr

Member
Messages
31
Little tip for sticky keys, get a dollar bill and put it on the sticky key. Rub it around a little, leave it there over night. The dollar bill sucks up the spit. Works great for me.

Cheers!
 

Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
Messages
508
I recently bought an alto - thanks Pete and Gnu - which had some sticky pad issues (in storage for a long time). Most came good with one go round with talc and a cigarette paper. A couple needed the Q-tips and lighter fluid treatment but only one proved really difficult - inevitably G#! I just couldn't get the Q-tip in there enough to fix.

So here's a solution that may have been used before - if so stop reading now!

My lady wife - whose name escapes me for the moment - uses a cotton wool pad to do things to her face every night. About two cm in diameter. I eased that under the pad - bit fiddly pulling it through with a tweezers - closed the pad and then dripped lighter fluid onto the cotton wool pad.

Result! And cheap too!
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
Little tip for sticky keys, get a dollar bill and put it on the sticky key. Rub it around a little, leave it there over night. The dollar bill sucks up the spit. Works great for me.
I tried with the british equivalent (62 pence) but it didn't work. All the coins fell inside.


My lady wife - whose name escapes me for the moment - uses a cotton wool pad to do things to her face every night. About two cm in diameter. I eased that under the pad - bit fiddly pulling it through with a tweezers - closed the pad and then dripped lighter fluid onto the cotton wool pad.

Result! And cheap too!
Is there a risk of hardening the pad, with such an amount of lighter fluid?
And does it smell?
I have a similar problem on my SML alto (I use a BG suedish thing) and I am too lazy to remove the key.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,807
The prevent sticking keys and to keep the pads/sax in good condition I clean my sax (after I've been playing) like this.

- pull a swab through the sax a couple of times.
- insert a pad sawer. I always have pad savers in my saxes. I store the neck in the bell.
- dry all pads with pad paper (no powder) or a pad swab. The closed keys/pads are important.
- clean/dry the neck as well.

End your practising/playing session with this. Don't start practising/playing session dealing with sticking and let the other musicians wait while your putting your sax in playing condition. Very irritating!

Thomas
 

Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
Messages
508
Is there a risk of hardening the pad, with such an amount of lighter fluid?
And does it smell?
I have a similar problem on my SML alto (I use a BG suedish thing) and I am too lazy to remove the key.[/QUOTE]


I guess time will tell with the pad, but so far so good - I was actually careful not to use any more fluid than necessary to moisten rather than soak the pad - and with the spout on the particular brand I used - Zippo - it was easy to control.

No smell that I can detect.

Like you, I didn't want to remove the key - not confident I could ever get it back again!
 

Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
Messages
508
I had read that - but very hard to find pipe cleaners in Hong Kong! Hence the search for the alternative.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I had read that - but very hard to find pipe cleaners in Hong Kong! Hence the search for the alternative.
Pads of cotton woool, kitchen towel work well.

For cleaning out hinge tubes, just running the fluid down them, or soaking in a container, then running the rod in and out, wiping clean and applying more fluid each time, works well. Then oil afterwards, once it's all dried out.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,807
When I bought old saxes in USA a common describtion of a sax could be; "..... workable pads ....". I asked a saxtech in New Jersey what workable pads meant and how he did it. He used mild soap water. It worked for me as well. I used a few drops of liquid baby soap, lukewarm distillate water and "topz". You can also use mild washing-up liquid instead of soap.

Thomas
 

JTHANK

Member
Messages
33
Here are what I do:
1. Wiping the bore (with a swab) and pads (with a microfiber cloth) dry every time after practice
2. Cleaning the pads with lighter fluid if necessary
3. Oiling the pads when necessary.
4. Keeping some of the keys (G#, D#, C#) open when storing the horn. I use some foam discs found in a pack of CD-R for this. They are extremely soft and should do no harm to the pads and the tone holes. Put one under the C# key, and it will keep the G# key open at the same time (not sure if other horns work the same way though), and then another one under the D# key. There is much more moisture collected at the bottom of the horn, and the D# key is most affected by this. I did not pay attention to all these before, but one day I wiped the pads and found a lot of greenish built-ups around the D# tone hole! Since then I pay more attention to maintenance.
5. Putting a bag of silica gel in the case.

Below are some of the stuffs I use.
 

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