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Discussion Starter #1
I wonder why some mouthpieces seem to make the reed decaying process even faster than "Normal".
I have a Florida OL STM where the gold layer is completely gone - it looks silver. I assume that this will be the nickel layer ?

When I play with a new cane reed (regardless which brand) the reed will show green color after very short time. (maybe after a week)
I do care about my horns and equipment and ALWAYS swipe my horn and neck, disassemble my reed from the mouthpiece, clean my mouthpiece and remove moisture from the reed and store it dry and safe.

As I have different mouthpieces I can tell that this doesn't happen with any other of my mpcs.

So I assume it may have to do with nickel on the STM ?

Does anybody know why this happens and what I could do to avoid it.

Thanks for your ideas!
 

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I wonder why some mouthpieces seem to make the reed decaying process even faster than "Normal".
I have a Florida OL STM where the gold layer is completely gone - it looks silver. I assume that this will be the nickel layer ?

When I play with a new cane reed (regardless which brand) the reed will show green color after very short time. (maybe after a week)
I do care about my horns and equipment and ALWAYS swipe my horn and neck, disassemble my reed from the mouthpiece, clean my mouthpiece and remove moisture from the reed and store it dry and safe.

As I have different mouthpieces I can tell that this doesn't happen with any other of my mpcs.

So I assume it may have to do with nickel on the STM ?

Does anybody know why this happens and what I could do to avoid it.

Thanks for your ideas!
Not nickel but copper from the brass.

Only reliable way to prevent this will be to have the piece replated.
 

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If you keep the piece clean and dont leave the reed on all the time it will happen less. A raw table, as described will tarnish.

An occasional cleaning with a non abrasive brass cleaner will prevent this from happening.

of course plating will prevent it too...until that wears out.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ok, thanks.
What would be the best material for replating this?
Gold or silver ? Are there more alternatives? Clear lacquer maybe?
 

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Silver is good but it is pretty soft.

If you have no problems with nickel it is much tougher

I personally think not leaving on a reed all the time (if you do) and cleaning it now and again is an easier solution
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks- but Inever leave the reed on ... the playtime seems to be enough to trigger the coloring. I am in doubt about using a brass cleaner but am not sure about the health aspect?
 

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If it turns that fast then get some sort of plating

Its not especially expensive and it will solve the problem.

As for brass cleaner I dont think it is a problem since you can wash it off with soap an hot water.

Unlike HR metal is not impacted by a hot water wash...In the world of metal the hot water coming out of your tap is considered cold. Just dont use it on hard rubber
 

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Would a layer of Vaseline or similar on either the worn table of the piece or the back of the reed help prevent the greening of the reed? I suspect its cant hurt to try, even if the green copper staining is just cosmetic.
 

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Yes it would and Vaseline has been used for this as well as better sealing of the reed for many years. However, just cleaning the mouthpiece with something that will remove tarnish/oxidation from the raw brass every so often will probably keep the green deposits in check. I use 'Lime-Away' or 'CLR', available at the grocery or home center, on my metal mouthpieces that have raw brass as well as my saxes with raw brass. You rinse it off or use a wet cloth. On a mouthpiece, wash with soap and water after using it. It leaves the mouthpiece/horn clean, doesn't affect lacquer or plating and leaves raw brass with a flat, golden-tan finish that really looks good.

At the minimum, removing the reed after each playing session and wiping dry the table as well as the reed, then not putting the reed back on until next time, will go a long way toward controlling it.

Re-plating sounds like a great thing to do until you understand what happens - they will buff/sand off the old plating, stains, corrosion, scratches, etc. to get down to polished bare metal, which is required to make the plating 'take'. This of course includes the table and facing, so if you really like the mouthpiece, you might talk to some mouthpiece people before sending it off.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yes it would and Vaseline has been used for this as well as better sealing of the reed for many years. However, just cleaning the mouthpiece with something that will remove tarnish/oxidation from the raw brass every so often will probably keep the green deposits in check. I use 'Lime-Away' or 'CLR', available at the grocery or home center, on my metal mouthpieces that have raw brass as well as my saxes with raw brass. You rinse it off or use a wet cloth. On a mouthpiece, wash with soap and water after using it. It leaves the mouthpiece/horn clean, doesn't affect lacquer or plating and leaves raw brass with a flat, golden-tan finish that really looks good.

At the minimum, removing the reed after each playing session and wiping dry the table as well as the reed, then not putting the reed back on until next time, will go a long way toward controlling it.

Re-plating sounds like a great thing to do until you understand what happens - they will buff/sand off the old plating, stains, corrosion, scratches, etc. to get down to polished bare metal, which is required to make the plating 'take'. This of course includes the table and facing, so if you really like the mouthpiece, you might talk to some mouthpiece people before sending it off.

Thank - I will try the cleaning method first I guess. The link plays great as it is - I would not want to endanger that.
 

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Gerhard, do you soak your reeds in anything?

I agree that the most obvious answer to the green is from the oxide reaction with copper in the brass, but there are some nickel compounds that are also green. If you mouthpiece is down to the nickel plate, clean and dry most of the time, then you add a wet solution that reacts with the nickel, there is some possibility of a different chemical reaction.
 

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The other solution is to switch to a synthetic reed. I had cane go green, but never synths. I suspect that the cause might be a reaction of the mouthpiece with cane and not just moisture. My STM never got green inside from moisture, just under natural cane. Reason #137 for abandoning a prehistoric reed material.

Mark

Save the arundo donax.
 

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The plating is not only for aesthetics or sound. You shouldn't put raw brass in your mouth, it can have (and probably does have) small amounts of lead. Please get the mouth piece replated!
 

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The plating is not only for aesthetics or sound. You shouldn't put raw brass in your mouth, it can have (and probably does have) small amounts of lead. Please get the mouth piece replated!
Groan, not this again...

Don’t look up - the sky is falling.
 

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My favorite Otto Link was refaced by JVW a long while ago. It’s been my main piece for a few years now. The table is in bare brass. I’m as meticulous as you in keeping my equipment dry and clean. Still I have the same experience with my reads turning green where they touch the table. I don’t worry about it. They play great for longer then I could wish for. Just keep playing... business as usual.
 

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My favorite Otto Link was refaced by JVW a long while ago. It’s been my main piece for a few years now. The table is in bare brass. I’m as meticulous as you in keeping my equipment dry and clean. Still I have the same experience with my reads turning green where they touch the table. I don’t worry about it. They play great for longer then I could wish for. Just keep playing... business as usual.
This sounds like a plan.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for all of your comments!
Yes, I have had the STM refaced as the table was very uneven as someone had done a not so good job on it before.
So - the table is indeed down to bare brass. This is also the part where the reed turns green.
So I don‘t have pure brass in direct contact with my mouth as there is always a reed on top of it.
I will try a brass cleaner, for now I have started the „Vaseline approach“ and see where this gets me.
I have also come across a special lacquer - Zapon lacquer- which I learned is used to avoid brass turning green. (It can be sprayed)
This is something I will research further. I am still in doubt if this zapon lacquer might dissolve over time and if it is hazardous.
Has anybody had experience with this lacquer.
 

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Lacquer on a table strikes me a a bad idea...both chemically and in terms of creating an uneven surface. Chemically that being close to your mouthpiece is much more likey an issue than brass in your mouth. Yes its bare brass but none of the alarmists around here have presented anything that resembles data to suggest that there is any health threat.

To me you are going into darker territory to fix what is likely a non problem.

My suggest is that if it bothers you this much do the job right and have it replated. Personally, Id just play it.
 
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