Quality of Brass...

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

  1. tatakata

    tatakata Mezzo Forte User

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    godchaser you have so much wind I think you should try tuba. (I kind of doubt you have ever tried the trumpet)
     
  2. Johntpt

    Johntpt Pianissimo User

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    Just a couple of thoughts on this topic. I don't know about grades, but there is a difference between virgin and re-used brass. Is virgin brass what is typically used to make trumpets?

    Also, I know that the scientists will tell you that the type of alloy makes no difference in the sound quality, but my ears and intuition tell me differently. Anyone who's tried several Bach trumpets with different bell options, everything else being the same, has heard the difference. For example, a regular weight, a G bell, an H bell, and a * bell. Or, using different bells on a Schilke tuning bell horn, one regular, one berryilium. The difference in sound is rather striking.

    JU
     
  3. godchaser

    godchaser Banned

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    Your bitterness can't all be just for me tatakata. What i mean is, i suspect you make a habit of chewin' on things like that. That can't be good for your play.

    My genuine regards-




    Chris
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    BRASS IS NOT PURE. It is an alloy. There is no way to make it "pure". The brass types suitable for instruments are easy to work with.
    the word pure simply does not belong here. The differences in alloy are less than the differences in manufacturing techniques.
    The goal is not necessarily the widest palette of sounds. That is why the Bach sound is still considered standard. I believe that the standard brass has the most flexibility - because of its malleability/hardness traits. Red brass looks nicest! ;-)
    The brass did not have ANY defined resonant behavior before manufacture. Even if it did, the first hammer blow would change it. That is the beauty of brass, through temper and annealing we can give it exactly what we want. Nothing is ever lost - except maybe my patience after explaining this one time too many!
    Erase the word "PURE" from your vocabulary when thinking about brass (for the 5th time!)! You can always restore the specific temper of brass by reheating it and controlling the cooling process - it is never "lost"
    Cryo is an unproven theory when applied to the sound of musical instruments.
    The science of metallurgy is called for here whether an "alloy" as you describe is easily made, machinable and workable afterwards. I can't even guess what effect it could have.
    Not a safe assumption at all. Different never meant better. Most of us have more than we can handle now!
    we are talking about circles and not moving forward. Simple conjecture without any logical foundation. Other posters call it a waste of time.

    Chris, you need to find some scientists. What you propose NEVER comes into the mind of the working player. Professional instruments do not hold us back regardless of manufacture. Our bad habits do. I choose to work on things that make a difference in my playing. Dave Monettes and all of the other instruments in my collection use normal, gold and red brass, that is good enough for me.
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    John, you can't assume that all other factors are identical when comparing trumpets - even from the same company. The bell with a * is a light weight bell - thinner. G just means gold brass and not tempered as hard as the conventional yellow brass bell. I am not familiar with H. The Schilke Beryllium is VERY thin - a mechanical difference. I am not saying that there is NO difference, I am saying that the artisan has so much leeway in the construction that the material is secondary. The marketing people have a MUCH different opinion!
     
  6. Johntpt

    Johntpt Pianissimo User

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    Yes, but my ears and the ears of my coleagues notice a big difference. I've played Bach C's, 2 with the 229 25H and one 229G 25H. The 229 horns sound very similar but the 229G is quite a different color. Even viola players can hear the difference. Same with the Schilke bells. The same tuning bell horn with a regular bell and then with a Berrylium bell sound very different to the listener.

    BTW H in Bach terminology means Heavyweight. Also a very different color, one I happen to not like very much.

    JU
     
  7. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

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    One more reason to use copper based alloys for trumpets. You can solder it.
    Any other metal or alloy would require higher temperature joining methods.

    Bronze would require brazing.
    Aluminum, heliarc
    steel, welding
    PVC pipe, glue. (That one is for godchaser.)

    Get my drift? Brass is easy to work with.

    As for virgin brass or recycled artillery shells once it is melted in the crucible and the metalurgist checks the mix you have brass. There is no delineation. Brass is brass. If you throw some zinc into it you get naval brass. But, it is hard to form unless cast into propellers.
     
  8. godchaser

    godchaser Banned

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    'BRASS IS NOT PURE. It is an alloy. There is no way to make it "pure". The brass types suitable for instruments are easy to work with.'



    True enough Robin. And i can see now, this is gonna have to be a lengthy post. If so, i'll see to it, in keeping with the efforts you have made for me many times. It's much appreciated. :)

    My original post came to whether or not anybody knew of any documented experimentation relevant to my questioning? No one's said they got a line on anything, and i can't find a thing myself. Which stands to reason.

    I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me Robin, but let's be clear. I said from the start i was looking for some reference material. I didn't expect you or anyone else to tackle the subject that we're all obviously ignorant-

    simply because there doesn't seem to be any documentation available of metal alloy experimentation (specific) of my questioning?

    -in that any experimentation's been done with so-called 'pure mixes' of metal alloy?

    -and whether anyone has experimented with (cryo'd metal alloys) -of typical industry mix percentages? As well, (cryo'd metal alloys) of so-called pure mixes that are primarily copper, gold, and silver - with as little element/admixture as structural/usage concerns will allow?

    Given my simple notion of questioning there, and its considered unknowns and adsence of testing- your suggesting it's of a failing logic and conjecture doesn't hold true. Although, i should say here, that we're agreed on point of the metal alloy not 'losing anything'. This makes perfect sense to me, and was my feeling of things as well; although i should have made that clearer in my general questioning of whether this was correct.

    I said:

    'What reference has the experimentation that's been done offered up to compare to? Apparently nothing at all, (?) given the (metal alloy can't be more than it is?')

    As well earlier, when i was talking with Felix.

    'My thinking's that if the streeses can be nullified, and consequently the 'original resonant properties' are restored / (enhanced)?' -My feeling was that there's enhancment, rather than restorative necessity. 'The metal is what it is'.

    I also said before in another thread many times that i feel the industry is simply familarizing itself with cryo. (enhancing) benefit presently. ..That its recognized benefits will be commonplace eventually.


    Seems our goin' round and round isn't of our making, but more where the industry stands presently.



    But again, your obviously right about BRASS not being 'PURE'.


    Probably most of ya'll are aware that Brass is actually Copper, alloyed with typically 30% zinc/other admixture. Which your obviosuly already aware.

    Red Brass is alloyed Copper with typically 15% Zinc/other admixture.

    To get to a point of a so-called 'purity', we'd have to go back to brass' origin of Copper.

    Pure Copper is misleading too, in that it's alloyed with more than one element/admixture itself.

    Corinthian Bronz, that's also called Corinthian Brass, is thought to be an alloy of Copper with Gold or Silver, or both.

    Bronze, is Copper alloyed with typically 10% Tin/other admixture.

    Also:

    Hepatizon, or Black Corinthian Bronz is alloyed with Copper, and what's thought typically to be 8% Silver 8% Gold. It has a dark purplish patina.

    Shakudo, is Copper alloyed with typically 4% Gold/admixture. It's got a blue-purple patina.

    (I probably should have been more accurate of pure, but it didn't occur to me to need to.)



    'The differences in alloy are less than the differences in manufacturing techniques.'

    So it would appear? But i've yet to see anything that speaks to the questions i'm interested.


    'The goal is not necessarily the widest palette of sounds. That is why the Bach sound is still considered standard.'

    Understood.


    'I believe that the standard brass has the most flexibility - because of its malleability/hardness traits. Red brass looks nicest! [​IMG]'

    I wouldn't argue that, anymore than you would suggest these traits are exclusive of standard brass, or that this distinction is relevant of more than what's commercially viable presently, and indefinetly so, most likely?

    Which i wouldn't argue either. Forms' got to follow function, and that spells cost. Custom alloys ain't cheap.


    'The brass did not have ANY defined resonant behavior before manufacture. Even if it did, the first hammer blow would change it. That is the beauty of brass, through temper and annealing we can give it exactly what we want.'

    We're speaking at cross-purpose again. I don't argue that the build process is 'synergistic', as you pointed out earlier -of the quality that is a trumpet.

    However, if we're speaking accurately, it's clear we're all agreed that there is in fact no 'defined' - resonance. As well, that this is a significant consideration regardless of perceived or defined behavior. Otherwise we wouldn't use different metal alloys for different purpose when building a trumpet. -This despite how effective a builder is at creating tone.

    (So there does exist an inherent resonant quality in the alloy, and there's no sound rationale in having to restore the metal. -Its resonant property is not lost by stresses to the material.)

    Agreed-


    'Nothing is ever lost - except maybe my patience after explaining this one time too many!

    This makes perfect sense to me. The nature of things insists 'nothing's lost' -despite our impatience. :) And i'd take issue with your idea of 'explanation', considering the industry apparently hasn't taken hold of the questions i'm speaking to?


    'Erase the word "PURE" from your vocabulary when thinking about brass (for the 5th time!)!

    I appreciate the efforts you take on my behalf Robin. I truly do. I've said to you before many times, that i can't express to you my gratitude. Which is something i've found myself saying to Felix several times in our conversations.


    'Cryo is an unproven theory when applied to the sound of musical instruments.'

    What's your point? :)


    'The science of metallurgy is called for here whether an "alloy" as you describe is easily made, machinable and workable afterwards. I can't even guess what effect it could have.'

    Agreed, on both counts. There doesn't seem to be any reference as yet? And costs are prohibitive in pursuing it? Course, i suspect there's ways around that, particularly long-term?


    Originally Posted by godchaser
    Seems reasonable that there's a lot more to be had here?


    'Not a safe assumption at all. Different never meant better. Most of us have more than we can handle now!'


    It strikes me highly likely Robin. And i specifically said earlier that different isn't better. '..certainly a 'difference of sound' doesn't mean better.' Seems the industry is just behind the curve on the practicality of these things, is what it amounts to? Not much anyone can do about that?


    'Chris, you need to find some scientists. What you propose NEVER comes into the mind of the working player.'

    Apparently it hasn't come to the minds of scientists either? I'd love to learn differently? Maybe there's some practical momentum these things could get'a hold of? Seems a good build strategy to put to use?


    'Professional instruments do not hold us back regardless of manufacture. Our bad habits do.'


    Bad habits are no good, and we're right to let the builder's concern themselves with equipment?

    Or not-

    'I choose to work on things that make a difference in my playing. Dave Monettes and all of the other instruments in my collection use normal, gold and red brass, that is good enough for me.'

    Well for now anyway- :)

    And your saying Monette has Gold in the mix, as well as dipping the horns? Or they're simply dippin' the horns?


    I better get after it here, talk later.. Chris

    -And if there's a prize for the longest post, i want to hear about it!


    :D


    .
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2007
  9. tatakata

    tatakata Mezzo Forte User

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    Do you think someone is actually going to read that?
     
  10. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

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    Hey, I saw an aluminum trumpet at a junk store years ago. I now wish I had bought it, just for the novelty factor. It was light as a feather and sounded TERRIBLE. Instead, I went for the other horn they had on the shelf, a '49 Olds Ambassador cornet for $12.50.:D

    Really, Rowuk sums up my opinion on the subject rather nicely:

    "Chris, you need to find some scientists. What you propose NEVER comes into the mind of the working player. Professional instruments do not hold us back regardless of manufacture. Our bad habits do. I choose to work on things that make a difference in my playing...."

    The biggest drawback to my trumpet playing is ME. Sure, better trumpets make my job easier, but the pretty piece of brass won't make music without the player, and the player is what makes the music beautiful (or mediocre). I like hardware as much, if not more than most, but scholarly? discussions aren't nearly as entertaining as nailing a challenging piece of music in a performance.
     

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