Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by jason_boddie, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. jason_boddie

    jason_boddie Piano User

    Dec 26, 2008
    Jacksonville, FL
    I have realized something I thonk to be funny about trumpeters. It has to do with the finishes of horns

    When I was kid and started playing at 11, my mom rented me a nice shinny laquered Bundy student horn. I called it "the Dead Bundy".

    I got to the point that I hated that horn. Why, well all my friend were getting Strads, they were all silver. One evn had a French Besson with the inside of the bell finished in Gold something.

    Nice Looking horns. So, my mom went out and bought me a brand new Jupiter Pro horn. Which I was ok with. It actually played nice, you just had to take really good care of it because it wasn't put together as well as some other horns.

    Fast forward to me joining TM a year or so ago. Imagine my suprise when I am seeing guys asking about how to remove laqeur to get down to raw brass. People actually buying Raw Brass horns, horns that have a polished Raw Brass look.

    I just think it is funny that there is a Shiny to Dull (raw) culture out there. I would have never thought it to be so.
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    There are at least 2 reasons for unfinished: geek or economy. Unfinished looks like the player is actually involved in the construction.

    Economy is just the recognition that the finish plays little or no part in improving our playing.

    Gold and lacquer are for those that want to minimise the work of keeping the outside of the horn presentable. Silver has a certain coolness without the jealousy factor of gold. Silver is work to keep "like new".
  3. jason_boddie

    jason_boddie Piano User

    Dec 26, 2008
    Jacksonville, FL
    Silver is work to keep "like new".[/quote]

    AMEN on the silver.
  4. Buck with a Bach

    Buck with a Bach Fortissimo User

    Dec 29, 2009
    Canton, Ohio
    Rowuk speaks the truth! Silver means " elbow grease!"
    Myself, I guess I'm old school. Give me lacquer or silver, those matt or scratched finishes just leave me cold. My current stable are all silver, but if I could find a 60B in lacquer I could be tempted, providing it was reasonable........Buck:D:oops:
  5. flugelgirl

    flugelgirl Forte User

    Jan 20, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I love a matte finish because they are really maintenance-free. My Yamaha has a matte lacquer finish, and fingerprints and water spots are never visible. I have a brass allergy so I can't go raw, but I know my husband's tux sleeves are green and nasty from his raw brass french horn, and that raw brass can also leave you with smelly hands. I'm really in love with the gold plate on one of my V Raptors, though - I wipe it down with a soft cloth or some ammonia-free window cleaner and it looks great, with no tarnish on my hands. I'm really tired of polishing silver, but the right polish makes the difference - a good job with MAAS polish and I only have to do it a couple of times a year.
  6. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    I don't like green hands, so I stay away from raw (it stings like hell if you rub your eyes with brassy hands!), although my lacquered Bach Bb is mostly raw at the contact points. As far as I'm concerned, all finishes are worry free because I don't care about the aesthetics, with two exceptions. 1 - I try to keep the scunge out of the bell rim because if you leave it forever, it's really tough to get out and 2 - I wipe the water spots off the gold finsh on my Monette C once in a while. I just can't justify the time it takes to really polish a silver horn.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2010
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I fall into the "geek" category.

    I had the good luck to know an amazing old-school American auto mechanic who (as a geek himself) drove his own "Good-ol-boy-dirt-track-stock-car" on spare weekends.

    When I brought my car in he would talk bout his stock-car. There were two themes. One was about the folk who swore at him for scraping their paint off, and the ones who had him busted him for illegal modifications that everybody else did anyway.

    I learned from him that performance was more important than paint.
  8. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    I fall in between - the "cheap" category. Several of my horns had really ratty lacquer but were otherwise in good condition. So, I stripped the lacquer and hand polished them back to a nice shine. But, having them relacquered is quite expensive and I'm too stingy to do that (right now). I purchased several products for clear coating that I am going to experiment with to see if I can do it myself and still have a decent finish (like trying to paint my car myself??). I do not find any difference in tone between raw brass and lacquered so that is not my issue.

    Fortunately for me, while I experiment, I do not react to raw brass so I can continue to play my horns in that unfinished state. I use a little baby oil or car wax to reduce the tarnishing and so far I only need to do that every few months. So, everyone has a different situation and a different reason for raw brass.
  9. Pete

    Pete Piano User

    Nov 17, 2007
    I love lacquered horns. I just think that they are easier to maintain. I like my horn in the lacquered version, 8310Z. Some horns don't sound any different whether lacquered, silver, or whatever. The Z horn is definitely different depending on the finish as far as the color of sound.

    The other silver issue is that most high school students think that a silver horn plays better. Probably because most student horns are lacquered. Obviously, it has nothing to do with how well a horn plays. The finish on some horns will tend to make a horn respond slightly different, and most high school players can't tell the difference.

    I remember seeing a video years ago with David Monette, discussing his reasoning for only producing raw brass horns at the time. After getting a horn to play where he wanted it, he did not want to buff it down for plating or lacquer, because it would change what he already had assembled. He produces horns with various finishes now, and I'm guessing that the finish is part of the equation when putting his newest horns together.

  10. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    I'm a fan of polished, lacquered horns, especially when they are made of 3 different metals. I like the classic look of silver or gold plated instruments, too. Never liked playing a ratty-looking instrument...

Share This Page