Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 69 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
626 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So there are these cheap metal tenor pieces on ebay. I kind of like them, they look pretty decent and I like the baffle on them. But I have heard that they have lead traces in them and I don't really want that (pretty obvious). But would gold-plating (despite it's softness) shield me from the lead? And if it wears out, how light can it get (if it actually does shield me) until it needs replating?

Here's the link if you don't know it:

http://cgi.ebay.com/TENOR-Saxophone...638?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5196479926

I was looking specifically at this one, is a top-rated seller and free shipping, so I really like this one. Any thoughts?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
Joined
·
21,030 Posts
I have only seen a few of these but the experts here tend to say that they play poorly. These are Asian copies (sort of) and not always faced well. Plating will wear off very fast too. I think the lead is the lesser of the worries and the way they play may help you avoid the lead issue as you may never use it.
 

·
Moderator
Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
Joined
·
28,904 Posts
I have only seen a few of these but the experts here tend to say that they play poorly.
I may not be an expert yet, but I've tried a few of these (or identical looking ones) and have found them to be surprisingly good.

I wouldn't worry about the lead as it has existed in brass and other alloy mouthpieces (such as Otto Link and Dukoff) for decades and I haven't heard of any problems, plenty of people play these mouthpieces after all the plating has worn off.

This is from a reputable company with a return policy, IMO there's little to lose by trying one out.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
Joined
·
25,970 Posts
This is from a reputable company with a return policy, IMO there's little to lose by trying one out.
Yes, this is distinguished as compared to buying from a no-name concern directly from China. But I came across something rather interesting regarding how "cutting operations" can cause even low lead amounts to leach to the surface which I posted in this thread: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?157907-Health-Risks&p=1641376&viewfull=1#post1641376

Now whether or not refacing can be considered a "cutting operation" may be open for debate. But given this question, I wouldn't play a refaced brass mouthpiece that wasn't replated no matter where it came from.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
Joined
·
25,970 Posts
There's more here...
Not much science there though. But an adult exposed to potential lead poisoning would certainly not be as damaging as a youth with a developing brain exposed to the same amount. The adult might just get a little dumber.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2012
Joined
·
4,370 Posts
I think you guys need to get with the times. Our children now play with lead toys, and we carry our groceries home in lead bags. Superman loved lead because it protected him from kryptonite. As long as you don't eat the mouthpiece, you should be fine. If you do eat it, you'll just have to play in a heavy metal band. Or you can get a job cleaning up the nuke plants in Japan because you'll be protected from the radiation:bluewink:.
 

·
Moderator
Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
Joined
·
28,904 Posts
Our children now play with lead toys,
And have done for centuries. People have been painting their sheds with it, biting open lead shot fishing weights for centuries, I've eaten plenty of pheasants and only spit out a few of the shots, the rest are probably inside somewhere still.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
32,933 Posts
The solution to pollution (and poisoning by toxic substances) is dilution.

Is it safe to whistle?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
Joined
·
25,970 Posts
People have been... biting open lead shot fishing weights for centuries...
I recommend keeping needle nose pliers with your fishing gear. Not only are they handy for removing hooks, but you can use them to clamp down on those lead weights. Unfortunately, at least in my area, the fish themselves are more dangerous. Recommendations came out just this week to limit consumption of certain species to no more than 8 oz. per month (Rockfish over 28") and some not to be eaten at all (Bluefish over 15") due to results of recent testing.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2010
Joined
·
3,310 Posts
But I have heard that they have lead traces in them and I don't really want that (pretty obvious). But would gold-plating (despite it's softness) shield me from the lead? And if it wears out, how light can it get (if it actually does shield me) until it needs replating?
You intend blowing through it, rather than chewing on it, right?

The whole toxic lead in brass thing is very over exagerated. There was a long loooooooong thread a while ago about chinese saxes or some such and I got so exasperated by the ignorance on show I did some calculations of the lead leaching likely to happen (Ill spare you all the science content), and its basically a non event, your spit would have to be acidic in the first place to leach the lead out of the surface of the piece that your were in contact with, and then you would have to be drinking gallons of your own drool in order to ingest it anyway, which Im pretty sure would mean you weren't playing the sax quite as intended.

Old Corolas (also a material scientist) reached a similar conclusion. Also, unless you were keeping your mouthpiece in an oven at a couple of hundred degrees between practices any lead that did happen to leach out of the surface, once gone, would never be replaced by diffusion of those big immobile lead atoms from within the interior of the brass , so your total exposure is basically so close to nil as would be dwarfed by other exposure anyway, plating or not.

All of which pre supposes that a chinese brass piece would have any more lead in it than any other brass piece (lead helps with machining, a small amount is normal) , a position that all our RoHS testing at work failed to support as every chinese or taiwanese brass component we tested (at $600 a pop) passed the required standards.
 

·
SOTW Administrator
Joined
·
26,206 Posts

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
Joined
·
25,970 Posts
...I did some calculations of the lead leaching likely to happen (Ill spare you all the science content), and its basically a non event...
Not sure if you caught this in consideration of the issue as it pertains to brass mouthpieces:
To enhance the machinability of brass, lead is often added in concentrations of around 2%. Since lead has a lower melting point than the other constituents of the brass, it tends to migrate towards the grain boundaries in the form of globules as it cools from casting. The pattern the globules form on the surface of the brass increases the available lead surface area which in turn affects the degree of leaching. In addition, cutting operations can smear the lead globules over the surface. These effects can lead to significant lead leaching from brasses of comparatively low lead content.
-Stagnation Time, Composition, pH, and Orthophosphate Effects on Metal Leaching from Brass. Washington DC: United States Environmental Protection Agency. September 1996. p. 7. EPA/600/R-96/103
I'm only asking in regard to whether or not refacing could be considered a "cutting operation" (not setting forther whether it is or isn't), as perhaps you're better familiar with that term of art.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2010
Joined
·
3,310 Posts
Not sure if you caught this in consideration of the issue as it pertains to brass mouthpieces:


I'm only asking in regard to whether or not refacing could be considered a "cutting operation" (not setting forther whether it is or isn't), as perhaps you're better familiar with that term of art.
There is nothing new there, For the sake of argument, in a mouthpiece context it presupposes that:
A: Chinese brass is any different to western brass
B: That you have acidic spit
C: That you are sucking in your spit and ingesting the lead content, rather than blowing through the mouthpiece
D: That any plating is missing in action.

That study was with respect to the plumbing fixtures in your home. Last I checked they are still all made of brass with more or less the same composition (including the lead globules and smearing at the machined surfaces), and unlike a sax mouthpiece you are actually ingesting the fluid passing those surfaces, rather than blowing it down the horn and away from you.

A quick glance at the results of that study seems to show that in the worst case example the median lead content of the initial water samples was found to be about 0.5ppm. After in excess of 100 days of exposure to brass it was up to about 10ppm (compared to several hundred for a pure lead sample). Higher lead content brasses (red brass) had a correspondingly higher leach rate.

The full study is here by the way:
http://www.epa.gov/nrmrl/pubs/600r96103/600R96103.pdf
If you care to wade through it there is also reference to "stagnation time", which means that the worst of any leaching occurs after a number of hours of exposure to the leaching liquid, which does not quite tally with the way I play the sax, so I suspect the real world dangers are minimal.

I dunno about you, but I dont intend to suck on my mouthpiece for days at a time, although people that have heard me play may argue that I've sucked for years (but mostly on hard rubber)
 
1 - 20 of 69 Posts
Top