Copper or cheated?

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

  1. vntgbrslvr

    vntgbrslvr Piano User

    Oct 10, 2008
    Waukesha, Wisconsin
    I have to assume that 100% copper is naturally softer than brass, so It's quite likely that a Conn Coprion will have a tendency to dent and ding easier than brass of equal thickness....Brass varies quite a bit in it's thickness (at least that's been my limited experience working dents out of different bells). I've not had the experience of working dents out of a copper bell, thus have no sense of how easy or difficult it is to work. Brass varies from horn to horn, from very thin and easy to work, to heavy and more difficult, I'm sure copper would be the same from different manufacturers.

    Fortunately, I've not dented my 57 Conn 12A Coprion cornet since I've gotten it.:thumbsup:
  2. nieuwguyski

    nieuwguyski Forte User

    Aug 9, 2004
    Santa Cruz County, CA
    Bach anneals their bells after completing them, so they're soft. Other manufacturers may or may not do this -- Benge didn't, and with a little marketing magic their work-hardened bells became "Resno-Tempered"!

    Electroformed copper bells are hard. I have two -- one on a Del Quadro custom cornet, the other on a NYTC Magnum -- and neither is soft.
  3. glorybe

    glorybe Piano User

    Jul 29, 2009
    There are scientific tests that have revealed a great deal about trumpets and other instruments. In many of these tests multiple microphones picked up sounds in many directions from the player. It turns out that very little of the sound exiting a trumpet is projected forward through the bell. Sound radiates everywhere from the horn's surfaces. The problem is that the player and the audience are not hearing the same things at all. A player may hear sounds through his jaw bone or through sounds radiated from the outside of the bell. The audience gets to hear mostly the small portion of the sound pushed forward from the bell. Perhaps that is why the player thinks he is better equipped to judge the sound. Perhaps he is not!
    There are some curve balls tossed into the mix as well. The lower tones for example tend to resonate off of the bell material and bell flare. Higher notes do not have long enough wave lengths to stand against the metal at all. One might therefore assume that the lower tones may be more dependant upon the surface of the metal. It is known that the harder the surface the greater the sound wave can cleanly reflect from it. Smoothness and hardness of the surface really do matter. I recently listened to a 100% common glass trombone made by a glass blower. The glass was no different than you might find in a soda bottle. Even the mouthpiece was glass. The slide tubes were all glass as well. The horn sounded just fine. At this point i wonder if a diamond or sapphire horn could be built. They probably would sound great.
    I hope that some brave company will push the norms on materials a bit. I feel that we are still in the infancy of brass instrument designs. I am seeing a few odd horns being built in India and China. A huge bass French horn and a baby French horn with the same pitch as a trumpet have both cropped up recently. I would like to see a four valve trombone as three valve trombones are common and useful and it would be interesting to see a four valve trombone compared to a four valve euphonium. A baritone with three valves sounds very different from a three valve trombone and a bass trumpet sounds different from all of them. Yet the same pitch and valve fingerings are used in all three instruments.
  4. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008

    I've heard the same several times, yet it's very difficult (read impossible) to find the results of these "many" tests. I would love to be able to read the summary results of the surveys to see if the conditions of the tests and the results are in alignment.

    I recall a thread here a little while ago about a glass trumpet (and I believe the maker posted as well) where the opinions stated that the glass horn was not as expressive as metal, so your (expensive) gem horns might not be a great idea.

    Well, until there is a call for such instruments, I don't think it's likely that you'll see them. Odd horns built in India and China are usually worse than the standard ones they build, which are pretty bad.

    You seem to be a low brass guy, so the need for that kind of innovation may be something that's sought in that area, but most trumpet players I associate with are more excited about the tweaking that guys like Monette, Harrelson, Lawler, and Taylor are performing. These guys aren't necessarily re-inventing the wheel, they're "perfecting" it.
  5. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.

    If one looks at the historical and economic reasoning and marketing of Coprion bells by Conn, it will be discovered that the making of Coprion bells was strictly an economy measure. In 1938 the United States was gearing up for WWll and sheet brass was being used primarily for the manufacture of cartridge cases and in short supply for the making of musical instruments. Scrap copper was more readily sourced, less expensive and could be electrolytically deposited on a "precision" mold to make large quantities of mostly student grade trumpets, cornets and trombones. Labor cost also was much reduced. It was then discovered that the performance of these horns was no worse than those of the same design that had formerly been made from sheet brass. The artist grade horns were then also made from copper as well. I also think that the originator of such soft and heavy metal bells started with the KIng and Reynolds horns with their Sterling Silver bells that 'supposedly' were musically superior to brass belled instruments. I don't call old Harvey White, et al a group of liars about their claims for the scientific testing of the silver belled trumpets. I played a King Silvertone trumpet in my youth with great satisfaction and pride of ownership.

  6. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    "knock down the walls" is subjective to too many variables other than materials. I've a Conn coprion trumpet and I believe the sound is just darker or warmer than brass and I'd be using the same mpc on both. Then again, in sneaks another variable ... the leadpipe which obviously are not the same in both my horns ... but between the two I have this is what I believe. Then too, my name is not Joshua and I'm not trying to knock down any wall.

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