Band Instrument Repair Specialists


We get many requests for many different types of finishes, and for many different reasons.  Lacquer vs. silver vs. raw vs. gold. vs. nickel, etc.  You get the picture.  Here is some information that may help you decide on the finish for your cherished instrument.

All metal wind instruments are made from the same basic materials: brass and nickel silver, although metals like platinum and gold are used for very high-quality instruments.  Brass and nickel silver must be protected from exposure to the environment or they will deteriorate over time, especially when aggravated by the salts and acids found in perspiration.  This is the main reason why an instrument made from these materials should have some type of protective finish applied.  Some performers may get an allergic reaction to the finish of their instrument.  We have seen this most often with silver.  Another reason is that some performers may get "brass poisoning" when playing an instrument with a raw finish.

Lacquer is the least expensive finish to apply, although tinted lacquers can be difficult to touch up when repairs are needed.  Nickel is used on many student instrument, and can be somewhat "slippery" and hard to hang on to.  Silver is used for many pro-line instruments.  Gold is usually used on the highest quality instruments. 

100,000 players, 100,000 opinions, but here goes: According to a 2009 article of the Yamaha (c) "Bench Press," it is generally held that a raw finish helps make the sound of an instrument the most natural by not controlling any overtones, a silver finish seems to make the instrument sound more consistent throughout its entire range, and clear or gold lacquer lacquer dampen more harmonics than silver plate.  Black lacquer, because it is much thicker than clear lacquer, dampens more overtones than clear lacquer.  We're in no position to argue with them.   
Website Builder