Posted by Rick Denney on January 26, 2000 at 13:47:58:
In Reply to: Mouthpieces posted by Seven on January 26, 2000 at 12:01:09:
Chrome is hard and brittle--if you ever drop the mouthpiece, it can crack and flake. I have a nice scar to demonstrate how damaging peeling chrome can be. Take care of your mouthpiece!
Silver is softer than brass, and therefore will not crack or peel, though it can be rubbed off. It's less durable, as you point out.
Most mouthpieces are made of brass or bronze, because both are ductile and easy to machine and polish. Depending on the alloy, stainless steel isn't particulary ductile, and won't grab the inside of the receiver as tightly. A bigger problem is cost: Machining steel is a lot more difficult than machining brass, and the lathes would have to be bigger, and the tools harder and more frequently sharpened. Mouthpieces are already expensive enough, it seems to me.
You could also make them out of aluminum, with all but the shank anodized (anodizing is a hard surface that reduces grip, but gold anodizing would look sharp), or titanium, which is harder than aluminum by a little bit, and completely biologically inert. But brass is denser than either (and denser than steel), so doing this would counter the trend toward heavier mouthpieces. And they would cost a lot more.
Finally, nothing feels better on my lips than polished silver or gold. Getting that mirror smoothness on those other metals is a little harder to do.
Rick "Sorry, I'm an engineer" Denney