How to extend saxophone pad life - You can C the difference

How to extend saxophone pad life - You can C the difference

Our friend Kent showed us his Vito student model alto sax that was bought from a pawn shop in the early 80’s. It was played hard through high school in marching band and then left to sit in the case since 1986.

We love this photo because it shows a powerful principle of woodwind care hiding in plain sight. It also shows the secret to how Key Leaves help you stop sticky key pads and preserve your sax pads. 

Can you find which saxophone pad is most healthy in the photo below?




  • Low C# has a bad stain and leather damage
  • Low C is in great condition for it’s old age.
  • Eb is crazy funky rotten!!!

Here is a closeup of that sticky rotten Eb pad. Notice the bacteria and yeast growth on the pad leather and the ring of dark green metal corrosion around the tone hole chimney and pad seat ring. Yuck!

Want to see a different example with similar result?

We took the low Eb and low C keys off this 1964 Selmer Mark VI alto sax. It was overhauled in 2004 using waterproofed Pisoni pads and silver resonators, then cared for by a pro musician who used a Hodge silk swab after every play session. See how the Eb pad leather ages faster than the Low C pad? Even on a great horn with quality pads and pro care, the leather pad seat ring on the Eb shows stain and age. Look at the difference in the tarnish on the pad resonators! They are both solid silver but one aged much faster.

What is the secret to Low C’s clean living?

The Low C pad is sprung open to dry, but the Eb and Low C# keys are sprung shut so they trap corrosive bacteria and moisture against pad leather and the sax tone hole. Low C sax pads last longer and don't stick because they are left open to breathe fresh air. But the neighbor pads of Eb and C# are closed to rot on the tone hole. This is why the closed pads of G#, Eb, C# are often the most sticky on the sax. This is also why the high palm keys often rot out so fast. Everything above your left hand is a closed pad with the end cap trapping sticky gunk inside the sax body.

Putting The Principle To Work

Key Leaves help leave open the closed pads of the saxophone so they don't stick and rot and malfunction when you try to play G sharp, low C sharp or low Eb.This is secret of how Key Leaves™ sax care products stop sticky sax keys. They leave keys open to dry. It’s simple and proven to work. Because a few second of prevention can prevent sticky sax keys and add years to the life of your saxophone pads. Plus it just feels great to take the stage knowing you can trust your sax to play without sticky key malfunction.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.