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Silver vs Bronze Saxophones: Which is the Better Choice?

Trying to decide which kind of saxophone to play on or purchase can be over whelming at times. When deciding which style of horn is best for you, you need to determine what saxophone sound you are going after. In this article, we will go over the pros and cons between the silver sax and the bronze sax.


Bonus Video

Watch the video below about how to Clean your Saxophone in Detail and subscribe to the Saxophone Workshop YouTube channel to learn more about the saxophone.




For the last 100 years the saxophone has been known to be bronze in color. Over the last 10-years the silver saxophone has made its way into the mainstream market and you see more and more of them in bands across the country. This is not to say that the silver sax didn’t exist, they were very much available - Conn has made silver saxophone for years! However, over the last decade the silver horn has become more and more popular. 


The bronze saxophone is the traditional looking horn and is more than likely what is available everywhere you go. The bronze color is called the bell metal and has been the preferred choice by instrument makers due to its durability and timbre. It also has a more mellow tone due to the composition of the bell metal and the gold plated lacquer that is added to the instrument during the final phase of production. The bronze bell metal horn can be lighter in weight when strapped around your neck and the cost of the traditional horn can be on the lower end of the spectrum. 


The silver saxophone could be considered as the unicorn horn. They are obviously more shiny than the bronze horn. However, the thing you should be aware of is that the silver saxophone plays slightly brighter. This will organically bring out a brighter sound and create a brighter tone that cuts through the air. The silver horn can be slightly heavier than a traditional bronze horn; but over all the keys, mouthpiece, neck and everything else on the horn is the exact same. The drawback to owning a silver plated horn is they tarnish easier making the instrument more time intensive when it comes down to regular maintenance. 



Deciding what type of horn to purchase really comes down to personal preference. A few questions to ask yourself are:

  1. Do you want a high maintenance or low maintenance instrument?

  2. Are you going for a bright sound or warm and dark sound?

  3. Would you like a heavy horn or a lighter horn?


Moving forward, the color of the saxophones as of recently have changed dynamically. There was a time when you only had the option to purchase a bronze horn or a silver horn, now there are different colors from green and red to white and blue. The horn is still made out of a bell metal, the difference is the bell lacquer that the instrument is coated in during the final production phase of building a saxophone.


What color of saxophone do you think looks the best?

Leave your response in the comment section below.

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