Bell "Ping" Test

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Trumpet Dreamer, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. keehun

    keehun Piano User

    Feb 4, 2010
    My Monette Chicago C bell makes quite a bit of a resonant ting. It's amazing and amusing... I'm not sure what kind of implications it has, but I heard some stuff about overtones.

    Not really educated enough about it to talk about it, but... I ping on the bell to amuse myself... :huh:
  2. kcmt01

    kcmt01 Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 25, 2009
    Polson, MT
    It's not April 1 yet.
  3. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    The most important thing by a LONG LONG LONG shot is how it plays, don't let anything else convince you that one horn is better than another except by playing it.

    Can you post a link to this ping article?
  4. nieuwguyski

    nieuwguyski Forte User

    Aug 9, 2004
    Santa Cruz County, CA
    Some horns have live bells, some have dead bells -- it has nothing to do with quality. I had a Schilke X4 with a "beryllium" bell that thunked like plastic when you pinged it. I still have a Conn Vocabell that rings like a bell. Both great horns.

    IMHO, the type and construction of the bell bead will affect this outcome more than the alloy the bell is made of, as will annealing or allowing the bell to remain work-hardened.
  5. Trumpet Dreamer

    Trumpet Dreamer Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2010
    Jazz Town, USA
    Let me spend a few minutes referring to the materials and their affect on the acoustics of brass instruments. The majority of bells on brass instruments are made of various forms of brass such as a combination of copper and other metals, depending upon the ultimate properties required. The common formulas contain copper and tin with a certain amount of antimony for hardness. Some use copper, zinc and tin. In my experiments on my instruments, my favorite brass formula until recently was a 60/40 combination of copper and silver which was especially made for me for just the bells of my instruments. However, approximately a year ago, I worked out a new formula for what I term beryllium bronze. This particular material has a wonderful acoustical effect that it has remarkable carrying power. Its projection of sound is quite phenomenal. However, let us go into the various metals that we have experimented with. At one time we ran an experiment in which we used steel, aluminum, various plastics, glass, silver, various combinations of brass and the last one we used was lead. To demonstrate results as quickly as possible, I will choose the two extremes. The steel bell, which we tempered so it was extremely hard, gave possibly one of the most interesting results. Many people test a bell by tapping it with their finger or knuckle and in tapping the steel bell, it would emit a very ringing sound, truly like a bell. However, when we played this instrument, the quality of sound was extremely dead. On searching for the reason for this, we looked at the oscilloscope when the performer played on the instrument and found the sine pattern very faint but the distortion pattern, coming from the vibration of the bell itself, going through at a very jagged and rapid rate, killing the brilliance of sound of the true tone. At the other extreme was the lead bell. This bell, if rapped with your knuckle, emitted an extremely dead sound like rapping on a piece of wood. However the sound that emanated when it was blown was extremely brilliant, brilliant to the point of being mechanical. This showed up on the oscilloscope as a perfectly true sine pattern, there being no distortions in the harmonics either above or below, and, as a result, the sound was absolutely pure but not usable musically, except for a general effect such as a percussion instrument would give. The voice, you know, registering on an oscilloscope, gives harmonics both above and below the note. These distortions, if we may call them such, give warmth to the tone. We have to have that "distortion" in order to have the sound acceptable to our ears as a musical sound.

    This was taken from the Schilke Loyalist web site. Note that he references the tapping (pinging) of a bell to check the ringing qualities, or lack thereof.

    The original reference to the ping test (complete with recordings) was from another post here, which lead me to another site. Have not been able to find it again.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2011
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Ping your head, lips during different times of the day. I think you know where I am going with this.

    A ping is something that the artisan may use as one of the parameters. Ask them. They are the only ones that know. If you do spectral analysis of the ping, you will see that the actual result is dependent on where and with what strength that you ping. Most bells are not symmetrical in behaviour (but then most players aren't either).

    If you don't understand german, look at the pictures a little bit into this report:

    After watching such measurements being made, I stopped trying to second-guess the artisans. My stand now is that if you have to ask the question, you probably are not ready for the answer.
  7. amzi

    amzi Forte User

    Feb 18, 2010
    Northern California
    Just "pinged" a few of my horns. The "purtiest ping" was produced by my Recording Olds Cornet, the ugliest by my Couesnon Flugelhorn. I currently have a Coprion bell Conn Director sitting in my office and it's ping sorta sounds like dropping a canning lid on a slate floor. My evaluation: You can ping and ping, but it don't mean a thing.

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