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hakan
03-18-2003, 03:41 PM
Paul R Coats says somewhere here on this forum that "metal mouthpieces should never be refaced as this will break through the plating and expose the player to possible brass poisoning".
I thought refacing was a very common thing. My Otto Link m.p. has been refaced to the point that all the plating is gone on the table, and mostly on the rails. I have been playing this m.p. for years. Will I die from brass poisoning? Anybody know anything about this?

Dr G
03-18-2003, 05:02 PM
Paul R Coats says somewhere here on this forum that "metal mouthpieces should never be refaced as this will break through the plating and expose the player to possible brass poisoning".
I thought refacing was a very common thing. My Otto Link m.p. has been refaced to the point that all the plating is gone on the table, and mostly on the rails. I have been playing this m.p. for years. Will I die from brass poisoning? Anybody know anything about this?

Much as I respect Paul Coats for his saxophonic contributions, I was dismayed to read this. Does Paul give any scientific basis (or references) for his statement?

I have investigated this issue myself in the past and have found no reason to worry. You may do similar searches yourself - look for MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) for brass. The greatest hazard, as I interpret the data, is from free-maching brass - brass that contains lead to make chips release more easily when turned or drilled. Even for that instance, if one performs diffusivity calculations for lead diffusing to the surface, it is very difficult to generate detectable amounts of lead in anything less than a geological period of time.

That said, some people are sensitive to brass. You'll know if you are one because you will probably have already suffered blisters or similar outbreaks on your skin from casual contact with bare brass on a hardward fitting or musical instrument.

Please let us know if you find anyone with hard facts to the contrary. I've been watching this issue with interest for a great many years because I am both a saxophone player and a materials scientist.

ZenBen
03-18-2003, 07:44 PM
You can count me as one who can't play mouthpieces with bare brass. I get a rash on my face as well as well as facial swelling. It is all rubber all the time for me.

MojoBari
03-19-2003, 03:02 AM
I think Paul wrote that a long time ago. He may have changed his opinion. There are brass allergies but I have not seen proof of "brass poison".

I found that if I played a 4 hr gig on a piece missing a significant amount of plating I could taste brass for 3 days later. Even a thin layer of spot plating (brush plating) fixed this good enough for me.

hakan
03-19-2003, 07:52 AM
Thanks for your views on this subject! I have never experienced any problems after playing the mentioned m.p. so I guess I am not allergic to brass, but I dont know if that means it is not dangerous(?)
I have never even thought about this before I read Pauls article. As far as I can see he doesnt give any medical background to back his theory up. Maybe someone with a medical background knows more?

Joseph Boucher
03-24-2003, 08:42 PM
After decades of using HR mpcs, I decided I give a medal mpc a try. When I went shoping for one, I had Paul's article on my mind. It scared me away from brass pieces. So I ended up buying a Dukoff 6 stainless steel instead.

max
03-24-2003, 09:21 PM
I don't have a brass allergy, but I do find the taste unpleasant.

I play an old Link that has had some work done on it in the past - I don't know how long ago it was (ten years or so?), but the brass does have a patina on it.

If I actually stick my tongue on it for more than three seconds, it bothers me. If I just play it (no matter how long the gig), I'm totally fine.

MojoBari
03-25-2003, 02:28 PM
Dukoff are usually made out of their own metal formulation they like to call "Silverlite". It is very soft and resembles Pewter. Dont let the rumors that there is lead in it bother you.... ;-)

Joseph Boucher
03-26-2003, 06:50 PM
MojoBari, LEAD? What's this about lead in a Dukoff? If this is true then I'm going back to HRs. Joe.

Dr G
03-26-2003, 07:43 PM
Do you have any idea what is in "hard rubber"??? :shock:

No? I didn't think so. :wink:

Joseph Boucher
03-27-2003, 02:22 AM
Are there any mouthpieces that I can use to perform 'safe sax'? Joe.

Joe
03-27-2003, 05:50 AM
Joe, the earlier Dukoffs were stainless steel. If you got a pre 80's one, you're fine. Stainless steel, glass, and wood are all safe bets. Plastic mouthpieces will be benign, also, provided there's no special additives. HR contains petroleum, which one wouldn't think would be great for the body, but then we smear petroleum jelly on babies' bottoms.

Some people are allergic to brass or, more specifically, one of the metals contained in brass. One thing no one mentions is that yellow brass regular has a 3% lead content (I hope the brass they use for horns doesn't). I used to have a Buffet SDA that would make my hands swell up every time I touched it since the lacquer had worn off the touch spots. I've played dozens of other unlacquered horns without any problems. A couple of other sparcely lacquered horns (I don't remember the brands) did make my hands kind of itch, but not swell. Obviously, the composition of the brass, which varies from brand to brand and even sometimes from horn to horn, is an important factor.

Pewter (Dukoff Silverite?) and brass both can be made lead-free, but pewter would be the one that would have a much higher lead content if it wasn't lead-free. One would think that lead-free materials are used in all mouthpieces since the financial liability of not doing so could be astronomical.

Bottom line is, I haven't heard of any sax players suffering from tongue or lip cancer, skin cancer of the hands, or lead poisoning. After a post that probably has made you pretty paranoid, I think we're OK, really.

Joseph Boucher
03-27-2003, 07:18 AM
Joe, My dukoff is a new one made of 'Silverite". I'm not paranoid really. I,ve been using HRs for over four decades and my lips haven't falling off yet. I didn't like the Dukoff anyway. It was my first try of a metal mpc. I found it to be to 'bright'. I have a perfectly good Otto Link 6 HR that has been my best piece. And I own a lot of mpcs. I'm tired of the mouthpiece madness and have 'wasted my last dime. I'm getting to old for this OCD. I'm been playing sax for 46 years, you'd think I've found my voice by now. The Otto Link does give me my best sound, so I'm sticking with it. You know enough is enough. Joe

MojoBari
03-27-2003, 01:49 PM
Great reply Joe!