Gold Brass / Rose Brass / Yellow Brass

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Trumpet Dreamer, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. Trumpet Dreamer

    Trumpet Dreamer Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2010
    Jazz Town, USA
    As an owner of several horns that each bell is different in compostion, just wondering if someone with a bit of a techno backgound might detail the different copper compositions of the 3 types of bells referenced?

    The tone character of the bells with different one more desireable than the other, etc?
  2. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    I'm not sure that the manufacturers ever gave the exact alloy composition of each type of brass - or each model, for that matter. I have several models with not only different types of brass but also different combinations of plating. I'm not sure that one can predict the sound based on the composition.

    For example, an Olds Studio (pre 1970) has a brass bellpipe with a nickel bell flare. My Selmer Invicta has the same configuration but a different sound - the Selmer has a darker sound than the Studio. The Olds Special Tri-color (1958-1970) has the reversed configuration - that is, a nickel bellpipe with a brass (they called it Bronze) flare. It has a brighter sound than the Studio. Later, after 1970, both the Special and the Studio were all nickel with the only notable difference being the 3rd valve trigger on the Studio. Both have the same sound which is darker than the earlier Studio models.

    Keep in mind, that the sounds I am describing are based on my playing with particular mouthpieces. Other combinations will certainly produce different results. The marketing departments of the manufacturers made lots of claims for the type of sound that different bells would produce but I have never seen a definitive analysis of those claims and I suspect that for the most part, the sound is in the "eye of the beholder" (I guess that should be the "ear of the behearer" - or something like that).
  3. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
  4. Trumpet Dreamer

    Trumpet Dreamer Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2010
    Jazz Town, USA
  5. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    Jun 6, 2010
    C-17 .... that's the stuff. One of Conn's secret forumlas.;-)

  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    The bracing, material and temper determine how much of the vibration in the horn "leak" through and get to the player and how much is modified before leaving the horn. The "more transmissive" the bell, the brighter the sound because lower frequencies leak first. That means that an annealed (soft) yellow brass Monette bell will sound darker to an audience than a hard tempered gold brass Bach bell (I have both). Comparing two Bach trumpets, the gold brass instrument will sound darker to the audience, but be slightly more difficult for the player to hear.

    Another thread mentioned "equilibrium". When the tone of the horn as the player hears it, matches what the brain/ears expect, magic happens. That is why "looking for a dark sounding horn" (or the other way around) for many players just means dull and lifeless, because the brain wants something else.

    The best horn is the one that finds YOU!
  7. kctrumpeteer

    kctrumpeteer Piano User

    Dec 23, 2009
    In addition to the material the plating will affect the sounds as well. e.g. the same material bell with either Lacquer, silver plating, gold plating, etc. will sound differently. I've been looking at a new Flugel horn and considering the gold brass bell and I know it was recommended not to do the silver plating as that might have a tendency to counteract the 'darker' sound vs a lacquer on the gold brass bell. Of course it was also mentioned that depending on the mouthpiece used that would alter the sound as well and of course there is the player too, so there are a multitude of things that affect the sound.

    The Bach pdf is a good resource... obviously lots of customizations you can do to affect how it plays.
  8. Trumpet Dreamer

    Trumpet Dreamer Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2010
    Jazz Town, USA
    I have spoken with several people in the industry who make the claim that plating has zero effect on the tone color. I know, there are a number of people who will argue the other side as well.

    My flugel which has the rose (gold) brass bell, is finished in silver. The sound is soooooooooo mellow, and on the dark side. This is with a Blessing 3FL mp.
  9. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    I believe that to be true, and pretty much the same with lacquer, as long as it's not too thick.

Share This Page