Nickel plating is the cheapest but also most problematic protection for the keys. Nickel is one of the most common heavy metals on earth and can be found in door keys, money, cheap jewelry and many types of food. Nickel can´t be digested and will be slowly stored in the kidneys and liver. Once a certain level is exceeded, the body might react aggressively, resulting in an allergic reaction. Skin irritations and discolorations, insomnia and even depression are observed. Due to the enormous increase in such reported cases, the sale of nickel or nickel-plated products is restricted or even banned in some countries. Our recommendation is clearly to avoid nickel plated instruments.
Nevertheless, nickel-plated instruments are preferred by some players for two reasons: its feel and a perceived difference to the sound of the instrument. The smoothness of the surface is very appealing, if it becomes necessary to slide the little fingers from one key to another.
Some players believe that the nickel has an effect on the sound. We compared many instruments to silver and found no difference in sound quality. Our conclusion is that any differences depend on the individual instrument rather than the plaiting.
For players, who still prefer nickel plaited instruments we can offer three solutions. This applies also to owners of nickel plated instrument who like to reduce their exposure to nickel.
1.There is a new type of nickel plating available, called tin nickel, which reduces the risk of nickel allergies. We can apply it to any instrument on demand. It will need to be done in conjunction with an overhaul.
2. A temporary protection can also be achieved by covering the key parts that are touched when playing with a layer of clear lacquer such as nail polish. This will need to be reapplied when worn down.
3, We can apply a new Nano-technology 2-compound epoxy coating to the keys. This can also be done without an overhaul