Plated vs. Lacqured vs. Raw Brass

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Trumpet Dreamer, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. Trumpet Dreamer

    Trumpet Dreamer Mezzo Forte User

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    Plated vs. Lacquered vs. Raw Brass

    One large point of controversy has always existed between those who prefer a lacquered horn and those who prefer plated horns, either silver or gold, or a third group who prefer their instruments in plain brass without any protective coating whatsoever. Let me give you my findings on the three different finishes of instruments. First, I tried to find myself three instruments that played absolutely identically. One, I silverplated, one I had a very good lacquer job put on and a third I left in brass. Now recall that all three instruments played identically the same in brass, or as close as it is possible to get. I had various players from the Symphony working with me as well as other professional trumpet players in Chicago and they agreed unanimously on the results. The findings were that plating does not affect the playing qualities of brass instruments. That is, the plated instrument and the plain brass instrument played identically. The lacquered instrument, however, seemed to be changed considerably. This instrument, which originally had played the same as the other two, now had a very much impaired tonal quality and the over-all pitch was changed.
    To explain these findings as to why the silver and brass instruments played alike and the lacquered instrument did not, let me give you some figures. The silver plating on a brass instrument is only one-half of a thousandth inch thick. In other words .0005 inch. The lacquer that goes on, if it is a good lacquer job, is approximately seven thousandths of an inch thick, or .007 inch. Now to get an idea in your minds as to what these thickness figures represent, an ordinary piece of writing paper is approximately four thousandths of an inch thick so the silver that goes on an instrument is only 1/8 as thick as a piece of writing paper, while the lacquer is almost double the thickness of a piece of writing paper. The silver in itself is very compatible to the brass. The lacquer, if it is a good lacquer and baked on, will be almost as hard as glass and not at all compatible to brass. The lacquer on the bell of an instrument is seven thousandths of an inch thick on the outside and another seven thousandths on the inside which gives you a total thickness of fourteen thousandths or .014 inch. This is already the thickness of the metal of my instruments so the lacquer process would double the bell thickness. As you can see, it is bound to affect the playing quality of the instrument.

    from - The Schilke Brass Clinic
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2011
  2. craigph

    craigph Piano User

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    Re: Plated vs. Lacquered vs. Raw Brass

    If you are going to blindly copy something at least give an appropriate citation lest people think this is YOUR words. (I'm a university lecturer and always on the lookout for plagiarism.) TD's posting is from Renold Schilke, the full text of which can be read here:

    Schilke Brass Clinic
     
  3. Trumpet Dreamer

    Trumpet Dreamer Mezzo Forte User

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    Re: Plated vs. Lacquered vs. Raw Brass

    Please note credit was given to the Schilke Brass Clinic in the original post as this was a taken from their website. Plagiarism is not my style, as my writing skills far exceed my trumpet playing ability.

    The above comment from a lecturer is of no surprise.

    I thought the other members here would find these paragraphs from the Schilke Brass Clinic informative and interesting.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2011
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    OK,
    now you have Renolds take on it. So what?

    I haven't noticed lacquered Bachs with worse intonation, tuning slides in a different location or playing handicaps. I also noticed that back at that time, Schilke was not getting much of a cut on the symphonic market. Obviously his ears told him to do things that were not universally accepted.

    If it helps, Dave Monette also does not lacquer. My lacquered horns play fine. I have never had 3 instruments from any manufacturer that were so close that I could have used them for a test like this.

    I think that theory and practical production are often lightyears apart. The easiest way to get a great horn is to play it instead of trying to calculate what may work.

    The Kanstul, Getzen, Bach, Selmer, Holton, Conn, Monke, Schagerl instruments that I have played in raw, silver, gold and lacquer all were just fine. I guess I am simply not good enough to tell the difference.

    You are wrong about the controversy though. Those with great lacquered horns just know first hand and never had anything to argue about. Only those that try to ram their personal beliefs down someone elses throat are controversial.

    There is no controversy at all if you play before you pay. Your ears get it right every time!

    Do you know what instrument Renold used? Do you know if this really happened? Renold was a very technical person. If this was for real, I am sure we would have had measurements with frequency deviation in cents, strength of overtones and the like. I think a report like this is bogus. Renold was much more exacting.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2011
  5. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

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    Great. That means my 64 Super will continue to improve in sound as the lacquer disappears.
     
  6. reedy

    reedy Piano User

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    I think its just a question of if you like it or not. As some of you know I bought myself a new trumpet a month ago and tried out around 15 in my lead up to deciding. Some I really liked the feel of, others I really liked the sound off and some I just liked the look off. generally the silver plated trumpets were brighter and the lacquerd were darker, although there were one or two who were the opposite!

    The 'trumpet' man in the shop explained that silver= bright and gold=dark but I wasent convinced but playing the silver plated trumpets to the lacquers there was a difference between the two.

    Some of them I played had a really nice sound but im not sure if I liked the sound, like the schikles, really nice 'schilkie' bright sound and did sound really good but i wasent sure if I liked it or not, this was genrally the case with alot of the others, finally settled on a Selmer TT, love it!


    Trumpet Dreamer I've seen some of your posts over the last few weeks asking about different options to a trumpet including this one, and yeah I know your trying to find out as much as you can about trumpets as you can as you sound like your after a new one? but really your best bet is go and play some! you can read all you want about finishes, weight, bore size etc but at the end of the day there are so many differences that your best bet is to just try them out then come away and think about it then go back and blow your top 3 then pick it not because it has a reverse leadpipe or its a large bore but because you like it and it likes you!
     
  7. Trumpet Dreamer

    Trumpet Dreamer Mezzo Forte User

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    Thanks to everyone for their kind words of advice. Yes, there is a plan to play before paying also.

    Just trying to fill in some gaps of info on general trumpet qualities. I do not have the time nor the patience to try everything under the sun, hence I trust the wisdom of the kind people who frequent this forum.

    As a fair number of horns have been tried in the past, just looking to see if there is something that was missed or overlooked.

    Something else I always like to remind myself of...the journey is the destination.

    Again, thanks to all who have taken their time to give meaningful advice!
     
  8. reedy

    reedy Piano User

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    most good music shops will have a good range of trumpets, the one I went to in the UK diddnt have that much choice but I knew I had come away with something I had fell in love with, suited me and my playing style, I tried a Smith-Watkins, yamaha 9335, several 8335 xenos, LA and EU I think, a limited edish xeno (very very nice) 2 strads, 2 schilkies, a stomvi 2 john packers, a cannonball and the selmer TT.

    few others I would have liked to have tried but I was very very happy with my TT, if I wasent sure in that shop I would have driven a bit more and found another shop with others but diddnt just the way things worked out for me but im sure if you went on a trumpet shop you would fine one that suits you


    whats wrong with your Getzen tho?
     
  9. Trumpet Dreamer

    Trumpet Dreamer Mezzo Forte User

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    Honestly, there is nothing "wrong" with the 3001 MV at all. It's a very nice horn, with a commercial sound that tends to the warm side of the spectrum, and it has good feedback. The Yammerhammer is a great horn also...yes, a student model, but a real kick in the pants to play! And with the custom mods on the horn, it plays way beyond a typical intermediate trumpet. In fact, it plays nearly as nice as the Getzen, only with a tone that is a bit brighter. My teacher said if he used my Yamaha to play lead in the 1 O'Clock, he could cover up the entire band! He plays a 1600 WB.

    I enjoy playing different horns and have been working with a dealer rep as well as one of my teachers on defining what would make a good addition to my very small collection.

    I'm very fortunate to have an opportunity to engage in this endeavor and I do appreciate the feedback from everyone who has taken the time to chime in!

    Plus my spouse is very supportive as well.
     
  10. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    Back in the days when lacquer was sprayed on very thickly, the Schilke test may have had some validity. Today, it's not really relevant unless you're discussing certain vintage horns with original lacquer.
     

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