How To Fix Sticky Saxophone Pads – particularly a sticky G# key.

Sticky saxophone pads happen on a saxophone. Sometimes the keys stick shut and don’t open properly.
The G Sharp key on a saxophone is notorious for this !

For reasons best known only to wise-and-reclusive-saxophone-boffins, the G Sharp key on a saxophone can get stuck on occasions.

Other keys can get stuck too.

Actually, a clarification might be required here: it’s not really the”key” that gets stuck, but rather the pad that forms the seal over the hole in the saxophone body that can get stuck.

Sticky saxophone pads means the notes don’t change when you press the keys with your fingers.

When notes don’t change when you are expecting them to change initially causes self doubt….. I did press the right key didn’t I ?  I’m sure I did….

Over time the condensation in your breath can cause the pads to become sticky.

If you have been over-indulging with your favourite sugary drink (eg soft drink, or soda or beer or wine) as well as eating lots of holiday snack foods (like potato crisps) and then blowing these into your saxophone, then you have a recipe for sticky saxophone pads !  Happy holidays !!! 🙂


How To Fix Sticky Saxophone Pads – How To Fix Sticky G Sharp Keys


If you have a problem with your alto sax g sharp key sticking – or the same problem with your tenor sax, or your soprano sax or your bari sax – then buy yourself some “roll your own” cigarette papers.

Smoking is bad for you.  Supporting the tobacco industry is wrong for so many reasons.

However, cigarette rollie papers are a very handy and useful tool in your saxophone repair kit.

Not only are they quite absorbent, they are slightly abrasive too.

By carefully inserting a “roll your own” cigarette paper between the pad and the main body of your saxophone immediately above the hole you can absorb any moisture that may have accumulated.

The rollie paper can also act like very fine sandpaper.  This can remove any small amounts of gunk or crud or fluff that may be causing the pad on your sax not to stick properly, or stick too much.

Note – DO NOT USE REAL SANDPAPER !  You may damage the pads.


You may need to manually and carefully open the pad/key with your finger before inserting the paper.  This can be a bit fiddly.


A suggestion is to sit down on a chair and have your saxophone on your lap.  This way you can use both hands to hold the sax steady and open the key pad.

Again, inserting the rollie paper can also be fiddly – especially for the G sharp key pad !

How To Fix Sticky Saxophone Pads

Once you have managed to get the paper in between the pad and the saxophone body, you can close the key pad to that it traps the paper.  Probably the key will close by itself once you let go with your fingers.

Then simply pull the paper out, slowly and carefully.

Repeat this process a few times.

It might also be worth putting light pressure with your fingers on top of the key as you pull the paper out, just to ensure that you are getting the gunk and sticky-ness off the pad and from around the edges of the hole in the saxophone body.  Not too much pressure, because you will rip the paper and not allow it to pull through.

This process works for all sticky saxophone pads.  It just so happens that the G sharp key is the most common pad to become sticky.

I hope this helps !!



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