Jason Harrelson Article on Trumpet Finishes

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by gzent, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    Very good article, Greg. Many thanks!
  2. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    Yes, good article. It is interesting that he indicates lacquer can improve a horn. Seems today - and back until about the early 70's silver plate is/was popular. However, in the 60s there seemed to be many more lacquered horns. For instance, looking at the early Olds horns, silverplate was fairly rare. Wonder if we will ever move back to the lacquered look being preferred.
  3. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    It is my experience that this response of Jason's is indicative of the effort he puts into every facet of trumpet making and subsequent customer support - my Bravura is brush finished silverplate and it's true, it doesn't sound any different ;-)
  4. Dave Mickley

    Dave Mickley Forte User

    Nov 11, 2005
    Thanks for posting
  5. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    No problem. Even if you never plan to own a Harrelson, his web site is a great way to learn about how
    trumpets work and related topics.
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I find it especially useful to "clean up" myths about finish. Even so, we have to be careful about claims made about the so called "flaws" in other designs like from Bach. The deviations from horn theory make a trumpet even playable - that includes minor imperfections in the bore due to sloppy soldering or even minor pinches in the bends. The big picture is critical here, not the focus on things easy to explain.

    We have an artisan in Switzerland René Spada who takes Bach trumpets to their logical playing limit by disassembling and rebuilding them to his own specifications. A horn is the sum of the complete efforts. The blob of solder or wrinkle is not the problem that transforms the trumpet.

    A Harrelson is what it is due to thousands of factors, most of which have to do with extensive checks at every step of construction. That amount of attention would make any other horn equally expensive (and probably put it in a similar league). There is no "mass market" for that measure of precision, and that makes those artisans and their products very unique.
  7. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    This is why I always have horns I intend to keep restored. Charlie Melk, who does all my work, disassembles what needs it, corrects any flaws he finds, and reassembles the horns... and they play fabulously. When I play one of those horns, I know that any problems are ME and not the horn.

  8. musicalmason

    musicalmason Forte User

    Dec 14, 2003
    I'm going to say this with a preemptive disclaimer: by saying this, I'm not saying Harrelson is cheap or lazy, so don't read too far into this. I like his designs and am in no way calling him out...no flames intended. Ok...

    That said, another benefit of scratches finishes is, they are faster and easier to install than a polished finish. One good, trained brass finisher could probably install a good quality scratched finish on 2 or 3 horns, in the same time it would take to buff and polish one. I don't doubt any of the other benefits of a scratched finish, I'm sure they are all accurate, as they all make sense. The economical benefit also undoubtedly exists as well.
  9. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    Yep, and Jason said so - it's more time consuming to do a mirror finish without over buffing.

    One careless moment with a buffing wheel can ruin a horn.

    However, a fast, careless buffing job can be done faster than a good scratch job.

    Getting the tough to reach areas scratched nicely takes work.

Share This Page