Saxophone Forum


by Saxman2200
(64 posts)
10 years ago

Silver nickel or Black nickel?

I am looking into a new professional sax. I am sure I want a Keilwerth SX90R, however I have not had any expirence playing on anything but normal gold laquered. I want a nice solid dark tone, so I believe I want a nickel plate but I don't know if I want Black nickel or silver nickel. Does that make any difference in sound? The shadow looks better, but I don't know if worth 600 dollers more (if it just looks cool). Any input?

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  1. by Saxman2200
    (64 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Silver nickel or Black nickel?

    Come on guys I need help!!!

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    1. by karebear1012
      (395 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: Silver nickel or Black nickel?

      oh ya plzz help out here...i need the same thing. i'm getting a keilwerth too, but i dunno wut color nickel. please help!!

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      1. by golferguy675
        (600 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Silver nickel or Black nickel?

        Well, the SX90 is really good, but I loved the Shadow when I played it, it's not just looks. The Shadow has a much darker, better sound than the Sx(and it looks really good!). I don't own one though, I went ahead and bought a new soprano, I didn't need another alto, I have too many as it is. The silver and black nickel on Keilwerths don't seem to have a whole lot of difference that I've noticed. The black nickel seemed a little bit more solid, because the silver tenor I played was a little tinny sounding. Ask to demo each for a week at a time, and figure it out yourself, that's the best way.

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        1. by SaxMan
          (559 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Silver nickel or Black nickel?

          do yourself a favor and do NOT get the R option (rolled toneholes.) and I would, without even thinking about it, get the silver plate - black is ugly as hell, and nickel isnt as durable as silver is.

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        2. by Goldref18
          (145 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Silver nickel or Black nickel?

          Get the black nickel! Black nickel=dark tone, whereas silver plating=bright one. This is true as a general rule of thumb in my experiences and even moreso with the keilworths. But why are you so set on a Keilworth? You should check out a vintage selmer for that money.

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        3. by golferguy675
          (600 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Silver nickel or Black nickel?

          Really? Black=dark silver=bright gold=golden white=smooth rainbow=colorful unlacquered finishes get that bare sound.... ; ) I would agree with Saman about getting Silver plate or a lacquer, nickel is not very durable, and is subject to pitting.

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        4. by chiamac
          (586 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Silver nickel or Black nickel?

          what about stripping my tenor, then putting black max over it? would that give me a bare dark sound? =)

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      2. by Spike
        (248 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Silver nickel or Black nickel?

        i'm too lazy to read too far into this, so here's my opinion: the 2 nickel finishes sound virtually identical. the shadow is actually nickel/silver composite, and from what i understand has a warmer tone with more overtones than the straight up nickel/silver, but haven't gotten the oppertunity to play one. DO get rolled tone holes. they can wear out the pads keilwerth uses faster, but lend a warmer tone, and actually play easier. i have a black sx90r tenor, and a bundy special alto with about 40% laquer(it's esentialy an ex90r)

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      3. by YanagisawA-901
        (312 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Silver nickel or Black nickel?

        maybe im stupid, but a laquer doesnt give you a damn different tone!! is that laquer inside your sax effecting the wave legnthes?? or is that laquer somehow coating your lungs to help you support more "golden" sounds of lung support.. you make the sound dark, you make it bright, you make it thick, full, rich, monophonic, polyphonic, w/e.. the instrument has minimal say so in how you sound..it may compliment your skill, but it wont enhance it..

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        1. by golferguy675
          (600 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Silver nickel or Black nickel?

          This kid is getting better every day. I agree, the only real effect the lacquer is going to have is dampning vibration, or controlling frequency of resonancy(hence silver being brighter), only things that are controlled by the exterior. On an alto especially, there's not enough space on the outside that isn't covered in keys for there to be a really noticeable effect. It's very miniscule compared to the influence of a mouthpiece, or reed, or even a ligature.

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          1. by peter090
            (155 posts)

            9 years ago

            Re: Silver nickel or Black nickel?

            I'll throw something else in. The variation in sound from instrument to instrument is more important than the finish. You have to play the horn to know how it sounds. If you limit yourself to a particular finish (or model) you are going to try fewer instruments and you may pass up a really good horn. If you are just going to order one from a catalog you might as well order the cheapest finish and spend the difference on a better mouthpiece or better still a huge selection of reeds and private lessons.

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            1. by Goldref18
              (145 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: Silver nickel or Black nickel?

              Yeah i agree however i also think that in certain manufacturers the finish makes an enourmous difference. While i always will and do prefer the vintage selmer, where finish makes no difference cuz they're all amazing horns, in my experience the cannonball horns are indescribably different from finish to finish, while horns like the keilworths are generally great performers in all finishes. Also to comment i do not ever reccomend ordering a horn without trying that exact one because most horns vary from instrument to instrument and it only makes sense to try out the horn that you will have for a while.

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            2. by chiamac
              (586 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: Silver nickel or Black nickel?

              " vintage selmer, where finish makes no difference cuz they're all amazing horns" oh god, here we go again...

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            3. by johnsonfromwisconsin
              (767 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: Silver nickel or Black nickel?

              Here's my theory about plating and tone and how it relates to horn manufacture and marketing: Q) Does finish effect tone? How about alloy type? A) Somewhat. The sound you hear comming from a horn is due to the vibrating air column inside. I assert that the vibrating bore container induces a reverse-resonance back into the vibrating air column. Finish has some capacity to effect the freedom of the bore to vibrate but the makeup of the bore material itself has probably a lot more capacity to effect this reverse-resonance. Q) So you agree that finish/material makes that difference? A) No, not entirely. it is oneof the factors. Beyond the mouthpiece and reed, the PRIME factor is the shape and design of the bore as this effects the nature of the air column directly. The ability to effect the nature of the air column diminishes as you progress down the bore to the end of the instrument, thus the neck is the most vital part of the bore. Q) How much do you think finish/material effects the sound. A) I would guess that it would have a significant enough difference to be decerned by some, but not everyone. I think it may often be that plating and material are used mainly as an advertising effect to get you to *believe* that silver will give you resonance and clarity, or that black chrome or nickle will make you sound dark and thick, and that gold will give you great depth and sonority. Who knows, each of these materials may indeed contribute to that effect, but I wouldn't be surprised if horn manufacturers used platings and materials to implicitly reinforce what their design goals were with regards to tone.

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            4. by KCSaxGal
              (46 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: Silver nickel or Black nickel?

              Is it just me? Everytime I see a black saxophone I automatically assume it's one of those cheapo models being sold by the dozen on eBay.

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            5. by Goldref18
              (145 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: Silver nickel or Black nickel?

              well yes and no. Depends. A lot of the Selmer Serie II and Serie III are that really cheap looking dark black when in reality they are great horns. A lot of the Keilworths are also black, just a little more subdued and nickel-ized, also great horns. The Cannonballs redefine tacky, but they play really well. However if you see some crazy brand you've never heard of that sells for under 500 bucks you can assume it's a cheap way to suckerpunch impressionable students.

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            6. by johnsonfromwisconsin
              (767 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: Silver nickel or Black nickel?

              incidently, I played a "Stephanhauser" alto in nickle and black nickel plate this past week. It's ergonomics were strange and ackward. The cupped pearls weren't too much of a distraction, but the low Bb and C were a long streach for my smallish hands. The sound was rather appealing. It was dark, cold and a little hard, but projecting and not at all stuffy. Everything seemed to play in tune with my Vandoren AL3/Classiques (unofficially) and the timbre was amazingly consistant from top to bottom! The palm notes sounded like the upper stack, save for the pitch. It looked a little unconventional, but I was fairly shocked by the sound of the thing.

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            7. by Goldref18
              (145 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: Silver nickel or Black nickel?

              That is a rare and beautiful coincidence. I have never heard of Stephanhauser. Was it pro level? Cuz most of the time, the intermediate horns have the worst placing of the low keys, even worse than the beginner horns. What is ur main axe? How much do these Stephanhauser's go for?

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            8. by johnsonfromwisconsin
              (767 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: Silver nickel or Black nickel?

              here is the horn I tried: www.stephanhouser.com/SAS1500-BK.htm The lines between intermediates and professional instruments is highly subjective, and it's not clear what Stephanhouser lists this horn as. It really doesn't matter, either you like a horn, or you don't like it in varying degrees. I don't always agree with a companies marketing designation of their horns. The Stephan' I played was selling for $1400, but you could probably find it for a few hundred less. My main axe(s): Mid 60's Buescher 400 tenor, 1986 Yanagisawa 880 alto

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            9. by Saxman2200
              (64 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: Silver nickel or Black nickel?

              Thanks for the input. I think I will go for the black nickel. I had a chance to play it and was thoroughly impressed. I have played the stephanhousers as well. They are nice horns. I happen to know from my uncle (music dealer) that they are intermediate horns. They have great timbre, and really good sound for an intermediate. The first time I played it (at jazz weekend) I thought it was a professional. I wouldn't pay much over 1100 though, because as he said. They have a bad low pinkey key placement and the cupped key's are rather uncomfotable. All in all a decent horn though, and really nice looking (not that that matters), I would definatly reccomend it (oh and by the way, you should go though Michigan Winds out of Lansing, they are good). Once again thanks for the help.

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