Sticky Keys

The sticky key. . . I think every sax player has had one. You press a key and the respective note doesn’t change. What the heck, huh? It mostly happens on sprung closed keys such as the G#, the Eb, the side Bb and C, and the palm trills. However, the one I see the most at the shop is the G#. Do you know what’s to blame? Blame the spit and any other debris that you’re blowing into it. So here are a few tips and tricks to all you aspiring players.

Trick#1 The dollar bill trick

Grab a dollar and open your sticky key. Put the dollar between the tone hole and pad. Press the key and drag the dollar through. It’s basically cleaning the pad of any gunk or build up.

Trick#2 Powder paper

Powder paper is a type of paper formulated with talcum powder and made specifically for sticky keys. It’s the same process as the dollar bill trick but the powder will stick to the sticky substance and create a powder barrier between pad and tone hole.


When done playing, open your sticky key and put a little piece of something between the pad and tone hole and leave it there until next playing time. It can be almost anything; like a little piece of cloth or maybe even a little flat piece of cardboard. You can get creative. Use your imagination.

Tip #2

Clean your horn after each time you play. Wipe that puppy down and get all the moisture off the sprung closed keys. I personally don’t like this idea because it takes a lot time but, if time is not an issue this is the best thing for your saxophone. Since our spit is nasty and caustic, if left on the horn it can cause damage to your instrument. The more you can keep off your horn, the better.

Well, thanks for reading. And remember… SPIT happens!



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