It’s a question I get asked a surprising amount, and something you’re no doubt wondering yourself at this precise moment; when purchasing your brass instrument, what’s better - lacquer or silver?
The answer to this, you may think ‘simple’, question is: neither.
In reality, choosing between lacquer and silver comes very much down to personal preference, as both give an elegant finish to an already beautiful instrument.
Traditional beliefs, advantages, and factors to consider when choosing lacquer or silver
It may be the stuff of myth and legend, but it is believed that lacquer and silver each give instruments a different sound quality; lacquer giving a more mellow sound, where silver gives a brighter tone, although the difference is minimal. What will really change the sound of your instrument is the type of mouthpiece you use.
Although lacquer is durable, as a plastic-based solution, it’s much more difficult to repair than silver, when something goes wrong. As a metal, silver is a straightforward material to work with, especially if parts need to be soldered back together.
Alongside this, if your sweat is acidic it is certain to wear a lacquer-finished instrument. Most people do have alkaline sweat, but some possess a more acidic quality; people with red hair, for example.
And finally, a small but very relevant point, silver inevitably needs more upkeep. If it’s not polished regularly, silver will go black and tarnish…
Final thoughts on lacquer or silver
Essentially, it’s up to you which finish you choose - what looks better, what feels better, and what sounds better in your own opinion.
There’s no right or wrong when it comes to your connection with your instrument, and what you think is the most striking finish. The most important part of the entire process is finding an instrument of exceptional quality; that will continue to sound incredible, and look good, even 20 years after you’ve purchased it. And that’s what Wessex Tubas is all about.