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Saxophone Mouthpieces – Gold Plated vs Silver Plated – Is There a Difference?

Saxophone Mouthpieces – Gold Plated vs Silver Plated – Is There a Difference?

saxophone mouthpieces gold vs silverThis comparison is specifically related to the Guardala MBII Fatboy mouthpieces.

It is a side-by-side comparison between the gold and silver plated models.
Other than the outer finish, these two tenor saxophone mouthpieces are exactly the same. A mouthpiece, or even a saxophone that is finished in gold will be more expensive than one that is finished in silver, so…. is it worth the extra cost? Or, which one sounds better to you? Or, do you even hear any difference at all?

If you prefer the look of silver, or if your saxophone is silver then this would make good sense, but will you notice a difference in the overall sound?

Our saxophone mouthpieces are the most talked about parts of our equipment for good reason…it’s the thing that can alter our sound the most. More than the reed or the saxophone.

Today there are a LOT of saxophone mouthpieces on the market.

This is both good and bad of course. We can’t ever dream of trying out every one we see or hear about.
If the over-crowded mouthpiece market makes your head spin just focus on the top brands that have been around for at least a few decades.

The Otto Link mouthpiece was a favorite for many players way back in the early part of the last century. The Link was also the inspiration and starting point for some of the more recent top manufacturers we know of today.

People like Theo Wanne and Dave Guardala. Another great mouthpiece company is Jody Jazz. Keep in mind that each of these companies have several models to suite individual needs, such as tip openings and baffle styles so it’s important to know what these things mean to your tone.

Personally I have tried and even own or owned some from the names mentions above but I’ve been the most satisfied with the Guardala, specifically the Michael Brecker models (MBI, MBII etc).

The MBII Fatboy is a recent model designed and made by Nadir (http://nadirsaxwind.com). He is the person who now carries the torch for everything Guardala. So, on also replicating the models that made Dave Guardala famous in the saxophone world, Nadir also builds upon some of these models and the Fatboy is one I really like. It has that brightness we look for in a metal mouthpiece but adds a little more fatness than other models.

Check Out the Video and let me know your opinion.


  • Dan Fleming says:

    Wow Johnny, I can tell there is no difference between silver and gold pieces. And it’s also pretty clear that I am not a Guardala player (at least not a good one). I hope you don’t mind me saying that it was my silver piece that you played. Sounds as good as it should when played by someone with “Guardala chops”. Thanks so much for trying it.

  • Tim56 Tim56 says:

    Johnny: To me the same. However my 7 year old grand daughter said the silver was a little higher. Hmmm, I went on the site and played, Hawaii 50. She hummed it all the way through perfectly. Amazing. When she listened to the mouth piece demo, she was right with you on the gold mp. I think she can play by ear. Wow. Tim

  • jak Swift says:

    Had to give it a coupla listens but I think the silver has a slightly thinner sound. Only a fraction. This could be down to a numbert of things. I’m no scientist, but I guess gold being the heavier metal would vibrate at a lower frequency and thicker tone. Could just be the fact the gold is Johnny’s own mpc. To have heard the silver alone, I still would have liked the tone….a lot !!
    I assume this is the mpc you have up for sale Dan. Good luck bud, and thanks Johnny for taking the time.

  • all liked the silver better, it seamed a little more raspy and free, the gold was warmer and softer

  • you should do a music backing for this one, its sweet and simple

  • David Lee says:

    My opinion, for what it is worth (having played sax now since 1965) is that the SILVER mouthpiece is slightly better…a brighter and fuller tone. Dave Lee

  • Martin Hoff says:

    Well you basically sound the same on both. A little more edge on the silver. Very slight. A little warmer with the gold but enough edge so I would say I prefer the gold. My 2 cents. Martin

  • All plating does is dampen the sound, by increasing the thickness of the plating dampens it even more.
    So very thin platings aren’t going to sound significantly different.

    As different metals have different volume sizes and shapes, a gold plating will be different in size and shape to a silver plating. Image covering a table with water melons and then covering it with grapes – thats an exaggerated example of what different metal platings look like at a microscopic level.

    What would be more significantly different is comparing a solid gold mouth piece to a solid silver mouthpiece.

    If you want to feel the difference in sound between different metals and thickness of metals, buy a ligature that has interchangeable metal plates that hold the reed in position on the mouthpiece. There is a noticeable difference in mouthpiece sound with different types of metal plates used and in there is a noticeable difference in the mouthpiece sound by changing the thickness of the metal plate.

    i’ve listened to both mouthpieces, and if the silver mouthpiece was mine, i would send to a mouthpiece maker and have it checked over as it doesn’t sound very good to my liking.

  • Johnny, you sound awesome as always on both mouthpieces. The silver mouthpiece does sound thinner than the gold one but in short they both sound great. Question, do they makes these mouthpieces in non plated vintage look? Perhaps if they are not plated they would have a different tone/sound. Maybe that’s an idea for you to pass on to the manufacturer? As a side note, I should of had you play my Theo Wanne durga size 10 mouthpiece to compare how powerful of a tone/sound is produced with my mouthpiece. At least for myself it gives me a powerful strong loud tone with little effort. In January I’ll take it to the Namm show again and let you try it with video recording for the forum to view. Keep up the great videos!! I really enjoy them and learn from them!!! Cheers from Los Angeles California. ……Marc J.

  • Mike Potter says:

    Sounded fantastic! There some minor differences between the tunes but it’s so hard to say if the playing would have any noticeable impact. All things handmade have minor differences, I would think these differences (face curve, rail thickness, tip curvature, table flatness) would have more of an influence on the sound than would the plating. Wonder what a bare brass piece sounds like…

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