brass or silver

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by songbook, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. songbook

    songbook Piano User

    Apr 25, 2010
    brass or silver trumpet. Which do you prefer and why? I enjoy my silver Getzen Eterna for many reasons, with the appearance of the horn being one of them. The sound is good and the valves are unbelievable. It seems most Drum & Bugle Corps use silver as well. Is it because of the outdoor playing, and they project better? Also was wondering when silver became so popular. Years ago brass trumpets pretty much dominated the trumpet seen. Hope to here from you.
  2. hahkeystah

    hahkeystah Piano User

    Jan 12, 2011
    Charlottesville, VA
    IMO silver does project better, but i prefer the sound and feel of a brass horn
  3. ColinWhite

    ColinWhite Pianissimo User

    Oct 16, 2010
    East Lansing, MI
    I don't notice a difference and I don't believe that one is intrinsically better than the other. However, I prefer the lacquer on my instruments because it looks nicer (stays clean longer) whereas the silver instrument looks really pretty for a few days and then gets all smudged-up. You don't notice as much smudges on a lacquer horn. Plus, I'm a bit of a traditionalist and I like my trumpets to look the way I think that they should look. :play: - see, that little guy knows what I'm talking about!
  4. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    Well, I am going to be different so far in this posting, I like the silver. I find that it usually gives me a darker sound, it lasts much longer if properly cared for, and I just prefer silver. However, underneath that finish is still the brass, copper, or whatever.
  5. larry tscharner

    larry tscharner Forte User

    Apr 30, 2010
    dubuque iowa
    Colin, that little guy is right. Brass instruments are brass colored and in the very early days that was all you had, except for those who were purists and only played rams horns. Modern plating is relatively new to the scene and I must admit I like silver or(gulp) gold instruments better for their looks, but as far as which plays better I dont think it makes a very big difference. Not to say that lacquer doesnt sound different than plated, it may make some difference but no two horns sound the same for a whole shopping list of reasons. When I was in high school the cool players had silver and all us Olds Ambassador players envied them. That has stayed with me ever since. Best wishes.
  6. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    As the 'old guy on the block', I have some of each of the finish types. I can find no actual difference in the sound of any finish type, but, do enjoy my elderly gold or silver palted horns the most. The lacquer coated horns in my 'accumilation' have lost a goodly portion of their shiny coating and are now looking rather shabby because of that loss, while 'most' of my plated horns still look quite presentable. A case in point is one of my favorite cornets, a King Master Model. I am always berated by other musicians because of its grungy appearance, but, never about its sound. The lacquer on that little horn is about 85% gone and the brass has never, to my personal knowledge, been polished. I do agree that it looks bad, but, at my age and health I have no intention of sending it to one of the master renovators to have him keep it for two or more years for a strip, polish, and relacquer $500.00 job. My widow would probably have to pay that bill and learn to play a cornet when it would finally get back. My plated horns 'mostly' still look just fine after as many as 100+ years.

  7. hahkeystah

    hahkeystah Piano User

    Jan 12, 2011
    Charlottesville, VA
    i agree with lou on the bit about the laquer. plating always sounds better IMO, and lasts longer too
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    with the types of horns most of us own, there is essentially no difference in sound between silver, raw or lacquered brass and gold unless something is "hidden" when silver or gold plating. There are useless subjective opinions about lacquering. I say useless, because the piece to piece variance between two horns is far greater than anything lacquer could do. Believe what you want to. At the end of the day, a cracked note on a gold plated horn is every bit as obnoxious as the same from a lacquered one.

    Lacquer is easiest to keep clean and tougher than Gold. Gold doesn't tarnish but is soft and will rub off with time, silver tarnishes and reacts with certain types of foods containing sulphur like eggs and certain white wines........

    I am sure that it would be possible to build a horn that could show a difference. I'll bet anything that sensitive would be a curse to any player.
  9. Kujo20

    Kujo20 Forte User

    Sep 29, 2010
    I'm not a big fan of silver plated instruments. Cosmetically I just don't like the look, and as far as influencing the sound....???.....not so sure....everybody has their opinions though!

    What I really like is the brush/scratch/matte/satin gold finishes! Taylor, Monette, Harrelson, Eclipse....they all use different variances of this look, and I like them!

    I also agree with the OP observation of silver plated instruments being popular in marching band, drum and bugle corps....etc...I think you see them a lot in big band trumpet sections too. It's probably because they think that it creates a certain sound fitting to their needs (projection, tone coloring) Who really knows though?

  10. kcmt01

    kcmt01 Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 25, 2009
    Polson, MT
    It depends on how long you plan to keep your horn. Silver lasts the longest. As far as lacquer goes, there is a big variance in durability. There are 50 yr. old Conn student horns out there with better looking lacquer than my 20 yr old Bach Strad.

Share This Page