Copper or cheated?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by crowmadic, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

    688
    1
    Oct 3, 2006
    I purchased a Rudall Carte Starline trumpet recently because it was advertised as having a copper bell. I've been curious about the sound of a copper bell horn. I know I could have made better choices to find this out. Nevertheless, the photos on ebay did look like copper, but when I polished the horn with brasso the enamal came off in large areas revealing a silver/nickle metal. I never mind that because I usually like my horns raw, but I didn't expect the copper bell to discolor in that way. My main question is, if this bell was true copper would it show any silver/nickle splotches?

    thanks...........crow
     
  2. Bear

    Bear Forte User

    1,255
    4
    Apr 30, 2004
    USA
    to my knowledge, no... you got cheated. A lot of people see the rose colored laqcuer on horns and assume it's copper. It's not, just a pretty paint job.
     
  3. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

    493
    4
    Jul 28, 2009
    New Hampshire
    Copper will look like copper, period. It's an element. If it doesn't look like copper, then it isn't.
     
  4. RAK

    RAK Piano User

    388
    2
    Jul 23, 2009
    Kettle Falls, Washington
    Is copper better than brass?
     
  5. Bear

    Bear Forte User

    1,255
    4
    Apr 30, 2004
    USA

    VERY subjective... Copper has certain acoustic properties that lend it to carry sound a little "better" than brass alloys.
     
  6. RAK

    RAK Piano User

    388
    2
    Jul 23, 2009
    Kettle Falls, Washington
    Wow I didn't know that. Lets see Is it easier to damage brass or copper? How do I find if my horns are brass or copper. Scrap the lacquer:-(:-( off.?
     
  7. Trumpet guy

    Trumpet guy Forte User

    1,035
    4
    Feb 9, 2008
    California
    Most horns are brass which is a mixture of mostly copper (I think 67% copper) along with zinc and some other stuff to make is stronger. Pure copper is more prone to dents and is not standard on any horn. Copper is also more expensive than brass just like pure gold is more expensive than an alloy of it. Also copper discolors do green when you don't polish it (like the statue of liberty) but I don't think it discolors when you polish it. To my knowledge, the only way to get a true pure copper bell is buy it from a custom maker. The closest you can get to copper from a non custom is rose brass, which is 85% copper. But it just sounds like a darker brass bell to me. I've heard copper is a very expressive bell where you have control of a pallet of tones much larger than you would with yellow brass. But that's just what I've heard and read around Trumpet Master.

    EDIT: I think some old Conns came with copper bells
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2009
  8. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    8,208
    7,603
    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    Lots of old Conns came with copper bells. Copper bells are available on some production horns today, like this:

    Getzen : Cornets : 3850 Custom Bb

    Unless your horn is color lacquered or plated, if you have a copper bell, it should be obvious. With clear lacquer, it will look much more pink or red than the brass on the horn.
     
  9. Mamba21500

    Mamba21500 Piano User

    317
    13
    Feb 26, 2009
    Copper has more focused sound waves allowing the sound to travel further. A copper belled instrument can be heard up to 4 times further away then a brass instrument.

    Also I'd advise against using brasso on instruments, if it's lacquered, it'll come off, if it's plated, it'll come off, and it stinks!
     
  10. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    Is there any evidence to support the idea that a horn with a copper bell can be heard 4X's further simply because it is copper? I'm not prepared to accept that. That would imply the audio energy output of the horn was 16X's greater at the bell barrier for the same energy input JUST because the bell is copper. This has not been my experience, BUT, to be fair, I have NOT performed any quantitative experiments. Nevertheless,I'm skeptical. If there is solid evidence to support this, I'm all ears.

    I DO believe a copper bell can have a modest affect on the timbre of the horn due to the way it feeds energy back to the players lips (a subject covered on other threads here at TM). The structure of the horn has a big impact on how it plays as well. It is a complicated mix. The bell metal doesn't radiate away much acoustic energy compared to the sound coming out of the front of the horn. Trumpets aren't percussion instruments.

    As to whether or not copper is better than brass, well, IMHO, it is a matter of taste in the way the horn plays compared to an identical horn made with brass. I have a copper bell California Stage 1 Cornet model GS from Felix Vayser and I LOVE it. It produces a warm sonorous tone. However, if I'm going to try to "knock a wall down" the Stage 1 California Light Bb (yellow brass) is coming out of the case. It is no contest.

    I'm not completely sure you were ripped off. As a previous poster mentioned, someone might have spotted the red lacquer and THOUGHT it was copper. It's hard to say. It is too bad it wasn't what you expected. Sorry to hear of it. Part of the school of hard knocks, I suppose.

    Peace!

    Nick
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2009

Share This Page