Bell Metals

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by codyb226, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

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    Hey Guys. Just wondering what does the different metal that trumpet bells are made out of do? My Yamaha is a Gold brass bell, I have seen Yellow brass, Red brass, Copper, and Sterling Silver. Does this change the sound?

    -Cody
     
  2. acarcido

    acarcido Forte User

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    Hi Cody, the bell material is very critical in the designing the horn with a specific sound. All factors come into play here such as bell flare and bracing for balancing the trumpets response and feel. So many factors but in short. Yes, bell material has a very huge impact on the sound.
     
  3. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

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    Yes, I understood that. But what does it do to the sound?
     
  4. acarcido

    acarcido Forte User

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    I recall hearing that Reynolds used more nickel in their Argenta model trumpets which is a harder material than brass. That darkened the sound and made the horn heavier. I know that Conn has three versions of the Vintage one, Rose brass, yellow brass and sterling silver. I think trying those three in the same configuration would be the best comparison of bell materials effect on sound. I have only played the Rose brass (1BR-46) model myself. Also, this Tueday I recieved my Silver Sonic with a sterling bell and leadpipe. That plays much different that my Conn 6B. More darker and projects out of the bell like a monster if pushed. I love this new trumpet. I hate to say it, but My 56 Conn 6B Victor will now be my back up horn.
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Cody, the material is only part of the story. Its thickness, hardness (temper) and the bells shape as well as how and where it is braced have as much to do with the sound as the material. There are red brass lullaby sound and screamers. The same goes for the rest too. There is a myth however that more copper content (redder brass) makes the sound darker. I have a C trumpet with a gold brass bell that really lights up when I play aggressively. On the other hand I have a super smooth sounding horn with a yellow brass bell.
     
  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    I agree with rowuk, there are too many variables to predict and I have the exact same experience as rowuk with my horn with higher copper content and my yellow brass bell.
     
  7. tptshark

    tptshark Pianissimo User

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    As has been said, the bell shape and method of construction (1 or 2 piece, seam construction, level of annealing etc) have a large impact on the sound. Having made that disclaimer, it is my experience that more copper generally results in a darker sound at low volumes but will brighten up a lot at high volumes, yellow brass is the 'standard' even trumpet sound, and solid silver is a little brighter than yellow brass, but the sound doesn't break up as easily at extremely high volumes. Gold brass and red brass are the same thing, i believe. FWIW, I use yellow brass on all my trumpets.

    Go down to a store and play a Bach 37 in yellow brass, gold brass, and stirling plus - you'll hear/feel the difference.

    Cheers,
    Adrian
     
  8. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

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    That is what I want to know. I want to know if some metal darkens the tone vs. bright tone. I wish I had a shop where I could play a bunch of trumpets, but I have yet to hear of one in the central Florida area.
     
  9. Mark_Kindy

    Mark_Kindy Mezzo Forte User

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    I wouldn't really worry about the metal type for sound color --- it's almost like focusing on bore size for the blow. Too many variables, the best method is to try each horn before you play, because while there may be a ...somewhat general... trend, there will be many exceptions, as well. An interesting topic, but we go back always to the complexity of the instrument and the physics surrounding it.

    On that note, I've also heard some about the copper content, but I'm not sure about that. I'm sure the ratios of metals do affect it somewhat, but I'm not convinced it's as clear cut as that. Much about the overtones the bell produces has to do with the hammering, heat treatments, and other parts of construction, as well, and may have larger impacts, in fact.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012
  10. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Much of trumpet lore is what I call "voodoo," and for me bell material falls partly into this category. If we apply a little science, I don't think a blindfolded listener can really tell the difference between bell materials. Have a bunch of different players playing different horns and let the listener name the bell material, and I'll predict the listener will be "correct" as often as rolling dice.

    (That being said, I do find that on my end of the bell, I like the way an all-copper bell can go from sweet to nasty, and that sterling can play higher dynamic volumes without breaking up. Thing is, one can do that on yellow and gold brass too.)

    Experiment number two: Give a player two identical looking trumpets (silver-plated, perhaps), explain that yellow brass is brighter; gold brass is darker, and then lie to them. Give them the horn with yellow brass and tell them it is rose brass, and I predict that they will believe the lie and play brighter on the gold brass horn and darker on theyellow brass. That is where the voodoo comes in....
     

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