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Discussion Starter #1
I have a bronze mouthpiece I'm considering having silver plated. Mostly for longevity and ease of cleaning when necessary. I've been told by some that it won't change the sound but I'm curious whether anyone has a before-and-after experience with this.

Any info appreciated.
 

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The plating on the mouthpiece is not going to do anything to the sound. It's not worth the $. I've never gotten a bronze piece silver-plated mind you, but I've owned and played dozens of mouthpieces over the years made of a variety of materials with silvet, gold & no plate and as far as I c
an tell, the differences are minimal. The type of baffle & chamber & the condition of the tip, rails & table can be huge though....
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Silver plating wears quite quickly so probably not worth it for that reason. If you want longevity have it gold or rodium plated (on top of silver or nickel). It won't affect the sound.
 

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It won't affect the sound until the plating gets too thick. It's almost never a problem. But as Pete says, silver will wear, gold or rhodium with nickel underneath is probably the most robust.

Another concern is that a lot of platers will want to polish it before plating, if they do this on the facing or near the tip they could ruin the piece.

Bronze is much harder than brass, though, and depending on the specific alloys, can also be much more resistant to corrosion. So I'm not sure I'd worry about it in the first place.
 

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But what happens to the tip, rails and other "critical" areas during the process ?
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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But what happens to the tip, rails and other "critical" areas during the process ?
I would think exactly the same as happens to the tip and rails of a new mouthpiece when it gets plated. Plating is too thin to make any difference. Morgan knows more, but I'm sure no machining or hand finishing process could ever be done to such fine tolerances as could compare with the thickness of a layer of silver or gold plate.
 

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If I get you right: the plating "covers" the whole mp, including the precision-machined areas ? And this wouldn't alter it, in sound and response ?
I'd be glad to believe it, but have some doubts. There is so much said about even the plating of ligs to change the sound.
 

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........There is so much said about even the plating of ligs to change the sound.
Oh yes!Much is said about many things (look at SOTW :) ) but NOTHING, in terms of sound change, has ever been documented by a seriously put together and correctly carried out audio test.......

there are many founded doubts as to if different ligatures do anything to the sound ...........as to what materials they are made of it is simply preposterous to think that that does anything to the sound
 

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Milandro, I don't give the lig stories a lot of credit. But plating machined raw metal, even if it only implies microns, doesn't seem that neutral for me. Specially on the tip and rails, where the whole thing is happening.
 

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variations in production are much bigger and significant that the possibility of a adding a micron or more on rails or table. The most significant variation to sound in a mouthpiece is positioning your reed as little as 1/8 o a mm higher lower left or right or if this happens (and it does) while playing because your ligature isn't holding the reed where it should
 

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but I'm sure no machining or hand finishing process could ever be done to such fine tolerances as could compare with the thickness of a layer of silver or gold plate.
This is pretty much right. I mean, hypothetically you could plate too thick or uneven current density could cause uneven plating, altering the shape enough to matter. Also, plating much thicker than the surface finish could concieveably alter the texture enough to matter at the baffle and facing curve and tip, but nobody plates these that thick on purpose. IRL plating mouthpieces works fine and in my experience doesn't change the playing characteristics of the mouthpiece. The only time it ever has is when one plater buffed a beak all the way through to the tip rail.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The mouthpiece is a Sakshama Custom Z. I've been emailing with Sak himself, who assures me that the sound won't change.

Here's my reasoning: I've got a bronze Berg Larsen that's been my main 'piece for a while now. I picked up the Z as part of a trade, and I like it enough that it'll probably replace the Berg.

Anyway, we all know that mouthpieces need cleaning now and then. I typically use an old, very soft toothbrush for this, sometimes with a tiny amount of non-abrasive toothpaste. It works great on my bronze Berg, stainless Berg, and my other mouthpieces whether metal or rubber. Just a little scrub and done.

The Z however needed a lot more scrubbing to get clean. Enough that the mouthpiece became shinier - the patina rubbed off too. I'm concerned that the bronze this mouthpiece is cast from might be softer or more porous, or something, and over a long period of time the mouthpiece could wear to the point that it affected the sound.

I was thinking that silver plate would be easier to wipe down/clean and would keep things working longer.

It's possible I'm crazy but this is what I was thinking. The mouthpiece also needs a new bite plate (thanks, previous owner) and Sak quoted me what I think is a very reasonable price to plate it, replace the bite plate, and send it back to me.
 
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