Gold Brass, Yellow Brass

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Rob Page, Apr 11, 2006.

  1. Rob Page

    Rob Page New Friend

    Apr 6, 2006
    I am in the search for a new horn and needed some clarification on what Gold Brass, Yellow Brass and Rose brass translate into as far as the horn sounds. One thing I can tell for sure is the same horn that comes in Yellow or Gold brass always costs more for the gold brass version. Is there a benefit to this?
  2. rjzeller

    rjzeller Forte User

    Mar 7, 2005
    Rochester, MN
    Yeah, it looks better. Beyond that, I doubt it. I've always loved gold brass and rose brass horns, and always preferred them, but I cannot honestly say that you hear much difference.

    Technically, I believe the only real difference is the amount of copper/zinc used in the alloy. More copper, darker color. (I think).

    The only bells I've heard a difference on were the copper bells (outsize of silver/berrylium/etc.), and I LOVE those. But when it comes down to it, the rose/gold/yellow I don't think really matters much. Play each and get what you think sounds the best or plays the best. If it's a tossup (and I rather think it will be), then grab what looks the best...

    my 2 pennies.....

  3. nieuwguyski

    nieuwguyski Forte User

    Aug 9, 2004
    Santa Cruz County, CA
    two other considerations: The more copper, the more a brass alloy is resistant to red rot, and the softer it is. Corrosion resistance is a plus, susceptibility to dents is a minus. Bells rarely suffer from red rot, so corrosion considerations mainly apply to leadpipes.

    Admittedly these issues don't relate to tone quality, which is what you asked about. But they are a few of the more prosaic qualities of gold and rose brass.
  4. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Why not take a look at what one of the horn makers has to say about the different materials? Leigh McKinney has some comments at in which not only the material but also the finish is discussed in terms of the sound. Keep in mind that there is or can be also a difference in the gauge or thickness of the bell depending upon the material used; softer materials typically require heavier gauges to give the required mechanical strength to resist things like hard mute changes, stands, etc. This difference in thickness can have as much of an effect as the essential material itself.
  5. dcstep

    dcstep Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003
    The shape of the bell flare and leadpipe are more important in determining tone than the alloy of the bell. That said, the alloy will have a small incremental impact on the tone. Yet... the thickness of the material may be just as important as the alloy.

    There are so many variables that it's hard to generalize, BUT generally, given the same thickness and flare, yellow brass will be more brilliant than gold-brass, rose-brass will be one step darker than gold-brass, copper will be another step darker and sterling silver the darkest. However, most sterling bells these days are extremely thin, offsetting the density of the silver and in contrast to the old King sterling bells on the Super 20s, which were very thick silver.

    So, you have to use your ears. There's no "safe" generalization.


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