Quality of Brass...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by crowmadic, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

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    Many factors determin the sound of an instrument: construction, player, environment, to mention a few. But I'd like to focus on what I consider the primary factor, The Material Of the Body. As a "brass player," I am interested in knowing about the different qualities of brass used to construct a trumpet; not the thickness. There are different grades of silver and gold. There must be different grades of brass. Does anyone know what grade of brass is used to construct the most revered trumpets?
     
  2. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

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    Brass tube is bought from the mills that make it. Olin makes tube stock and sheet stock.

    It would cost too much for a trumpet manufacturer to have a special alloy melted and drawn into tube or sheet for making special trumpets.

    Bells are made with sheet stock of various alloys that others will comment on.

    Do a google search on brass alloys and you'll find out all you need.
     
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Crow,
    there are only a couple of "blends" that are commonly used. There is no "quality stamp" like on gold or silver because brass is an alloy and therefore "imperfect" by design.

    The material itself is not as significant as one might think. The "TONE" that we hear has more to do with the temper of the metal, the position of the braces and the horn "flare". The material has a cosmetic influence, can change the susceptability to corrosion and all other factors being identical, the difference in mass could result in a slight change of tone. Yellow brass has less copper and that means that we have the potential to make it "harder" when it is tempered - if we go that route.
    The reason that a gold brass or rose brass horn sounds different than yellow brass (called "Tombak" if I am not mistaken) is that all other factors are not equal - material thickness and temper (and wishful thinking) being the major differences. Let's not forget the effects of laquer or silver- and goldplate either.
    My point is that the mechanics of construction change more than the alloy used. Yellow brass is used for student instruments because it is easy to work with, has properties that can make those instruments more durable and reliable. Those properties are also suitable for professional instruments too and with the proper skill, any of the commonly used materials can give VERY similar if not identical technical and audible results.
     
  4. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

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    rowuk, You're the engineer (if I remember correctly) but, a flat piece of wood when struck can tell you how much resonance you can expect from it. I would think that a flat piece of brass would do the same. Therefore, I would think a craftsman would seek the best alloy combination for his masterpiece trumpet. The facts of this conversation are not meant to make a better player of anyone, or be the answer to tone. It's just a "brain-flex" in between practice.
     
  5. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

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    I think your question about brass could better be answered on the Zildgen or Sabian cymbal web site. The folklore on these two manufacturers implies that they have proprietary alloys of brass from which they make their product. I understand that good cymals are cast then machined to a special contour.
    Cheap cymbals are stamped out or brass sheet or plate.

    As I stated above. Brass tubing is a standard alloy that you can look up on the web. It would not be cost effective for a trumpet manufacturer to have a proprietary alloy concocted.

    I would not call alloys "imperfect" by design.
     
  6. godchaser

    godchaser Banned

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    -I was thinking the same thing myself crowmadic. As well, some speculative thinking that possibly you can speak to Robin.

    Incidentally, what'd you degree in?

    Probably the cost of pure hybrid metals leaves short its practical consideration for builders and players, and the practice of its significant and on-going testing? But do we know whether a melting pot of primarily pure metals; say of gold, copper and silver, would benefit enhanced characteristic of sound?

    -And that singular metal alloys are necessarily less of the characteristics sought, or that a melting pot would be moreso?

    My meaning is if we mixed a batch of all these metals together, and with less admixture for greater purity; would it be worth the time and expense? Obviously its not practical, but would the trumpet go better as'a result? It's interesting to consider; particularly if there's ever been any formal and lasting testing done, and what was learned?

    Would a singular metal, of just brass, with greater purity, or less admixture be more or less its equivalent anyhow? -Possibly admixtures could be seen and utilized as more of the strategy in resonance and sound task? Maybe it is already, and builders choose accordingly? I dunno-


    Would this amount to the apparent and timely conditions that nurtured the woods that Antonio was fortunate enough to build his Strads?

    I guess it'd be worth it to venture to isolate a mix(s) that'd be beneficial of this and that, the way singular alloys are used throughout a horn now, for specific pieces of the horn? And continue to use that strategy, but with particular mixes? Which distracts my meaning of: is there reference already- of whether a 'melting-pot' and its purity is warranted, given there's appreciable benefit? Wouldn't be cheap for anybody to begin with, but if there's something there, it could turn'a buck i guess?


    C
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2007
  7. tatakata

    tatakata Mezzo Forte User

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    :stars:
     
  8. godchaser

    godchaser Banned

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    :)


    I went back and fixed the typos t.
     
  9. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    I don't think that's the problem......:oops:

    It's more of a problematic juxtaposition of terminologies utilized in a quasi-intellectual exposition of metallurgical technologies.

    Ya dig?
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2007
  10. godchaser

    godchaser Banned

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    'I don't think that's the problem..'


    True enough Mr. Proctor; i was havin' on tatakata there. Although, i can't understand why you spend the time to play it up to something that doesn't amount to much.

    -I'm obviously (questioning) here; and doing so despite my neophyte best efforts to articulate my meaning. I'd guess 'quasi' would fit, if i was suggesting to speak from fact, and my interest wasn't in trying to learn something.


    Don't lean on me like that.. you put us both in a false light.



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