Saxophones come in four different sizes but are available in significantly more finishes; such as brass, silver, black, unlacquered, etc. But does the finish of a sax make a difference to the sound, or is it purely for aesthetics?
The equally terrible and wonderful thing about saxophones is the multiple variables...
The quality of the mouthpiece can make a huge difference to the tone. The quality and the condition of the saxophone is another factor. Generally and in my opinion, Yamaha saxophones sound brighter whilst Yanagisawa and Selmer saxophones seem to sound less bright and slightly fuller – all these things can make a difference in sound.
All saxophones have their own character and and will make an individual and distinctive sound.
When I’m teaching a new saxophone student there are so many other factors that can affect the tone. A good quality or very cheap reed makes a substantial difference. The strength of the reed is massively significant. If the mouthpiece is too far in or out of the mouth. If the head is tilted back or forward, or even if the neck-strap is too high or too low.
If the wind is not blowing in the right direction, if the cat hasn’t been fed, and if the Hubble telescope is not pointing to Musical North – all seem to potentially affect a player’s tone.
An experienced player who has athat they have built up a high level of familiarity with is likely to make a very similar sound on pretty much any saxophone that is in good playing condition.
For the most part, the sound you make comes from you as a player, your experience, and the mouthpiece and reed setup that you use.
You could argue that the finish of a sax slightly affects the sound but in my opinion it is by a small percent compared to the other variables. The best thing to do is experiment and play a range of saxophones with different finishes and see what works for you.
Goldington Saxophones are available in the following finishes (in order of appearance); gold lacquer, antique, vintage coffee, silver plated. For more information please visit:
Sax Bandits members can claim an exclusive offer via Sax HQ.