5. Despite what the materials-don't-matter nazis here may say, the materials DO matter. Silver clearly resonates differently from brass. I have had discussions with people in the saxophone production/manufacturing industry, bassoon production industry and flute production industry and they ALL say that the metals (or wood, as the case may be) and alloys used have a direct bearing on the response and tonal quality of a horn. One exec of a well known instrument manufacturer told me that metal used and the process of heating and cooling the metal used in the bocal was the secret of their bassoon. Of course he didn't tell me the secret process... lol.
Sure, they all say silver makes a difference to the tone - it's just that none of them can agree on exactly what it is.
The whole thing is a joke, the likes of which could only have been penned by Monty Python...
Punter (Eric Idle): Hello, is this a saxophone shop?
Seller (John Cleese): It certainly is Sir!
Punter: In that case I'd like to buy a tenor saxophone
Seller: Certainly Sir, did you have any kind of sound in mind?
Punter: Well, I'd like something nice and warm in tone.
Seller: Ah, you want a solid silver tenor!
Punter: I do?
Seller: Indeed Sir. Silver is noted for its mellowness.
Punter: Well that's good, but I don't want it to be too mellow.
Seller: In that case Sir, you want a solid silver tenor.
Seller: Oh yes, Sir, silver is noted for its brightness.
Punter: But won't that make the sound too harsh?
Seller: Not at all Sir, silver is noted for its darkness.
Punter: Well OK, but I don't want it to sound too muddy.
Seller: Have no fear Sir, Silver is noted for its edginess.
Punter: OK, well I'm a bit confused, so are there any other options?
Seller: But of course Sir, you could have one with an annealed body.
Punter: Oooh, what's that then?
Seller: An annealed body is where they heat-treat the metal to soften it - it gives the best tone.
Punter: Oh dear, won't that mean the metal will bend easily?
Seller: In that case Sir you want a hand-hammered body
Punter: What will that do then?
Seller: Hand hammering hardens the metal Sir.
Punter: And what does that do to the tone?
Seller: It gives the best tone, Sir.
Punter: That sounds good - I'll have one!
Seller: Very wise, Sir. Now, do you want one with ribs or one without ribs?
Punter: Oooerr, what's the difference?
Seller: Well Sir, the one with ribs has a quick response.
Punter: And what about the one without ribs?
Seller: The one without ribs has a quick response.
Punter: Great, I'll take it!!
Seller: One more thing Sir, do you want it lacquered or unlacquered?
Punter: Umm, let me guess...does unlacquered give the best tone?
Seller: Sir is clearly very perceptive - yes, an unlacquered sax sounds brighter.
Punter: Ah, in that case I'll take the lacquered one.
Seller: A most perspicacious choice Sir, lacquer gives a brighter tone.
Stage right - enter Graham Chapman: