Pads begin to stick or "smack" due to the buildup of particulate on the pads' faces.  The particulate comes from your mouth and small particles in the air that are captured by the moisture in your breath. When the moisture evaporates, it deposits the particulate onto the pad face and it builds up over time.  Each time you play, some of the particulate becomes emulsified in the moisture of your breath.  This causes the moisture to become thick and pasty, slowing the release from the tone hole.  This causes the "smacking" sound and slows down the key response.  Blotting the pads dry will remove the moisture containing the emulsified particulate.  It may take several weeks to fully remove the dried buildup; however, over time, this will remove enough particulate to reduce or stop the sticking and smacking problem.  Using Yamaha powder paper can reduce the build up of new particulate.

Materials needed:  

  • Yamaha Powder Paper

  • Yamaha cleaning paper or Lens towels

[iSeries from Lens Crafters or Pearl Vision Centre]


After practicing, swab your flute out; but, before putting your flute away, dry all the pads with Yamaha pad cleaning paper or lens towels torn into strips about an inch wide.  Place the paper between the tone hole and pad face, then close and open the key several times. DO NOT hold the pad down and drag the paper across the face, as this can damage the pad face by lifting or separating the fibres on this surface of the pad skin. For best results, blot your pads dry every time you put your flute away.  Once a week, after blotting your pads dry and letting your flute sit out to allow all the moisture to evaporate, use Yamaha powder paper.  Place the powder paper between the tone hole and pad face, then close and open the key several times.  The powder creates a barrier to prevent the build up of new particulate.

The problem should go away in a couple of weeks.  Once the stickiness goes away, you must continue the blotting and use of powder paper or the problem will return.