Sticky G#

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Thread: Sticky G#

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    BenBrittonJazz's Avatar
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    Default Sticky G#

    Hey, just wrote up some suggestions for fixing a sticky the G# pad. Blog post is here: http://everythingsaxophone.blogspot....sharp-key.html

    The gist is:
    - Bending the G# spring further to get more power
    - Cleaning with liquid soap and water
    - Leaving some liquid soap and water on the pad, basically using the liquid soap to lubricate the pad
    - Using some light oil to lubricate the pad
    - Traditional dry cleaning with a dollar bill or pad cleaning paper


    What else could we add?
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    Default Re: Sticky G#

    There is something that you can delete - and that is using liquid soap on a pad. Liquid soap tends to become gummy as it dries. That is exactly what you don't want.

    The more popular remedy, discussed in detail many times over, is to use naptha (lighter fluid) to clean the pad and tone hole.

    I use Runyon Pad Dope to treat pads at risk of sticking (G# and low Eb).
    Go for The Tone,

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    Default Re: Sticky G#

    I use hydrogen peroxide as a pad cleaner.

    However, the most important omitted remedy is this: Put a sheet of pad paper or a thin piece of paper towel under the pad when the horn is in its case or otherwise not in use for an extended period. This helps prevent the buildup of sticky material between the pad and the tone hole rim in the first place. It makes a significant difference.

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    BenBrittonJazz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sticky G#

    Interesting on the liquid soap. I've used it recently with good success, but maybe only because it was very watered down?

    I did forget about the lighter fluid. I've used in the past with little success, which is probably why it didn't come to mind. You've had good luck with it then?
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    Default Re: Sticky G#

    Quote Originally Posted by LostConn View Post
    I use hydrogen peroxide as a pad cleaner.

    However, the most important omitted remedy is this: Put a sheet of pad paper or a thin piece of paper towel under the pad when the horn is in its case or otherwise not in use for an extended period. This helps prevent the buildup of sticky material between the pad and the tone hole rim in the first place. It makes a significant difference.
    You're right. I should put that in. I purposefully omitted that thinking how annoying it is to add on more thing to the daily routine, but it does work...
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    Default Re: Sticky G#

    I had the problem, for a short time. My fix was to put a piece of plain old copy paper under the key, during the pad saver hour that I typically employ after swabbing, and then leaving the paper in place overnight. Within a couple of weeks there was no more sticking. Months later, everything's still okay.
    Strive to be better than the day before.

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    Default Re: Sticky G#

    Thanks for the quick feedback everyone. I made some updates to reflect suggestions here.
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    Default Re: Sticky G#

    I would also remove bending the G# spring from the list. G# springs are often mangled by somebody using pliers to put a crimp in it so that a sticky pad will be yanked off of the tone hole. The down side is that your little finger has to overcome that increased spring tension. Not just when playing G# but, on modern horns, when playing anything on the LH pinky table. Because there is inter-key friction involved when playing low B, for instance (because it pushes down G#), any increase in G# spring tension isn't just a lineal increase in the force needed to push down the B key. Bending the G# spring makes the entire table a pain in the pinky. I suppose one could practice, practice, practice and develop a Popeye pinky, or never experience the joy of a light and fast LH table, but I always go another route.

    I would add "play a G# to make sure that it isn't stuck. If it is, lift it with the right hand." That should be good for the evening. If not, time to clean.

    Mark

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    Default Re: Sticky G#

    Double post because I got a notice that the first post failed. Odd.

    Mark

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    Default Re: Sticky G#

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Fleming View Post
    I would also remove bending the G# spring from the list. G# springs are often mangled by somebody using pliers to put a crimp in it so that a sticky pad will be yanked off of the tone hole. The down side is that your little finger has to overcome that increased spring tension. Not just when playing G# but, on modern horns, when playing anything on the LH pinky table. Because there is inter-key friction involved when playing low B, for instance (because it pushes down G#), any increase in G# spring tension isn't just a lineal increase in the force needed to push down the B key. Bending the G# spring makes the entire table a pain in the pinky. I suppose one could practice, practice, practice and develop a Popeye pinky, or never experience the joy of a light and fast LH table, but I always go another route.

    I would add "play a G# to make sure that it isn't stuck. If it is, lift it with the right hand." That should be good for the evening. If not, time to clean.

    Mark
    I see what your saying, but increasing spring tension is vital for people who have a reoccurring problem, especially if there is just too light of a spring tension to begin with. I was just playing a horn, and the G# pad would get restuck within minutes of cleaning, making it impossible to play on (and I was borrowing it for a recording session). I increased the spring tension slightly (just with my fingers), fixing the problem, without mangling the spring or making the spatula table annoying. I'll definitely put a clarification and warning in the post though.
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    Default Re: Sticky G#

    Quote Originally Posted by BenBrittonJazz View Post
    I see what your saying, but increasing spring tension is vital for people who have a reoccurring problem, especially if there is just too light of a spring tension to begin with.
    I would think only if there is too light a spring tension to begin with. I don't think you should have to tighten a spring tension just to overcome a sticky pad. Sort it out at the source I say, and so keep a nice light action.
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    Default Re: Sticky G#

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Thomas View Post
    I would think only if there is too light a spring tension to begin with. I don't think you should have to tighten a spring tension just to overcome a sticky pad. Sort it out at the source I say, and so keep a nice light action.
    Good point. But, if you're really stuck (at a gig or a session or whatever), then just go for it, and have a tech fix it later. Still, good point, and I should include that too.
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    Default Re: Sticky G#

    On a properly set-up sax you shouldn't have to mess around with the springs, which for an amateur can really get you in trouble. On one of mine, I did have to tweak the C#/G# spring tension because the horn was damaged at a show when dancers fell into the stage and knocked my USA tenor around on its stand so the lower rest arm pushed the low C# way up off its tone hole. The C# key in the table was sticking up in the air. I finished the job and simply figured out how to bend the key back into position without bracing anything on the thin brass of the bell. This worked, but now the springs were too soft because what really happened was the rods twisted and didn't completely untwist when I corrected. Thus, the spring catches on the rods were rotated a little, making the spring effect weak. I actually played it like that (which created the 'sticking G# from hell') for years and only last year took it upon myself to re-visit the situation along with a few other quirky key problems on the sax. I was able to do everything using the adjusters on the horn plus tweaking the G# springs.
    When it comes to sticking pads, there are two situations; hobbyist/occasional player and working players. Being a working player, I need 'industrial strength' treatments. I am subject to playing outdoor jobs from April to November and they usually are hot and sticky. Drinking 'beverages' doesn't help .
    I recently used this sax to experiment on since it pretty much is a 'worst case'. To start with, I like to play it and on outdoor jobs where it could rain or who knows what, I'd rather use it than the MK VI most of the time.
    Considering what caused the sticking pads revealed how to treat them. In the first place, the pads that usually get wet are covered in sugary organic deposits from the condensation of your breath whether you drink sugary/alcoholic beverages or not, but they definitely make it worse. Typically, most gigging players do not have time to carefully swab out the horns and press each pad. I take the time to stick stuffers in but that's it. When I get home, its late and I'm tired, so I bring all my stuff in and put it away. I might not get to it for a few days or maybe not at all before the next gig, when typically I would have to pry some pads open and fiddle with the G# all night.
    So the first step is to use the cotton swabs on the long wooden stick with drugstore alcohol (part water) which dissolves the organic deposits and generally cleans the pad. Don't forget to do the tone hole rim too.
    Next I use a solvent and work on the sealing ring on the pad and again, the hole rim. There are certain solvents that tend to remove the dark build-up in the rings and on the rims.
    Finally I use a very strong silicone on the whole pad which helps it repel moisture for a longer life.
    This method has provided the 'industrial-strength' treatment my horns require.
    The 'acid test'; get up the day after the gig, or even a few days later and go to the horn, open the case and push the G# - it pops up with no hesitation. D# pops up. The side keys and palm keys pop up.

    If you don't do anything but use the alcohol, you will still receive the other benefit of cleaning your pads; the horn plays better.

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    Default Re: Sticky G#

    Quote Originally Posted by DarrellMass View Post
    I had the problem, for a short time. My fix was to put a piece of plain old copy paper under the key, during the pad saver hour that I typically employ after swabbing, and then leaving the paper in place overnight. Within a couple of weeks there was no more sticking. Months later, everything's still okay.
    I do this, but with kitchen parchment paper. I do it on the G#, the C# and the lower octave pip (Super 20 owner) No more sticking.

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    Default Re: Sticky G#

    I leave a folded dollar bill under the C# pad, which in turn slightly props open the G# key so it can dry out... this also keeps the C# key from sticking, as this is another one I have trouble with sometimes.
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    BenBrittonJazz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sticky G#

    Quote Originally Posted by buddy lee View Post
    I leave a folded dollar bill under the C# pad, which in turn slightly props open the G# key so it can dry out... this also keeps the C# key from sticking, as this is another one I have trouble with sometimes.
    Nice. I bet the dollar bill even makes it look cool.
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    Default Re: Sticky G#

    Quote Originally Posted by BenBrittonJazz View Post
    Good point. But, if you're really stuck (at a gig or a session or whatever), then just go for it, and have a tech fix it later. Still, good point, and I should include that too.
    If you are at a gig, which would you rather have, a sticky pad or a dysfunctional horn because of a broken spring? Springs have a habit (especially ones that are rusted at/near the post) of breaking with no warning. I keep Pad Dope and swabs in my gig bag for tending to friends' horns (mine has yet to stick).
    Go for The Tone,

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    Default Re: Sticky G#

    MusicMedic "Pad Magic" works wonders!
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    Default Re: Sticky G#

    Something I never thought about before was the parchment paper! I'd personally not put something any thicker than that or (what I've used in the past for sticky pads)......cigarette paper. I'd advise against putting something between the G# pad and tone hole that doesn't allow the pad to sit properly (aligned) on the tone hole. That's just common sense to me. Since I now regularly have it on hand, I now use Naptha. Works great.

    John

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    Default Re: Sticky G#

    Put a piece of cork or a folded up business card under the C# arm lever down below the low B pad/cup (if it's a Selmer). This will open both keys and will not distort the imprint on the pad. You can find points and any horn where this will work. Some will not open the low B pad such as Conns.

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