Satin or Bright Gold Plating/Anderson Plating

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trickg, Sep 16, 2005.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Hello all. Not to suck up bandwidth here, but in relation to another thread I started about our gear, I would like to relate something that came out of a conversation that I just had with a fellow at Anderson Plating.

    After seeing the fantastic pics of Chuck Willard's (SchilkeB6) satin gold Lawler, and looking up Marc Melton's (DrunkIQ here and on TH) satin gold tuning bell Schilke X3, I wanted to call and ask them about gold plating my Schilke.

    When I asked about the satin (bead blasted) finish, he audibly cringed and said that he didn't recommend it. He thought that the bead blasting would be detrimental to the horn itself, and that the finish wasn't the best of finishes for an instrument. He was also somewhat perplexed that the satin finish has become such a popular finish these days. His reasoning was that the satin finish is a porous finish, and that there is no good way of getting things that get worked into the finish out of it without burnishing and ruining the satin effect.

    I still think that it is the best looking finish out there. Has anyone had any problems with their satin or scratch gold finishes?

    On the flip side, if I was to go with a bright gold plating, if I ever have a problem with the finish wearing, I could get it touched up by a friend of mine who has plating equipment and could spot plate it if need be.

    Something else that came out of the conversation was the answer to a question that I had about whether or not Anderson will do plating for a private citizen. They do. However, their turnaround time is 6-8 weeks although he did say that if I had the horn prepped and was sent to them in "ready to plate" condition as a commission, their turn around time is considerably faster at 2-3 weeks.

    I thought that this was all good information that was worth passing along.
     
  2. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Patrick, I can only repeat what Leigh advised me when I was "ordering" my MR. I too asked about the satin finish since I'd seen it in photos of a Lawler cornet and thought it had an amazing, "silky" appearance.

    Leigh's arguement for the scratch finish was that the inevitable tiny scratches, etc. that will happen with use are essentially camouflaged by the random pattern of the hand-scratch finish. He was prepared to do the beadblast "satin" if I insisted... which I didn't.

    As it turns out I'm glad I went with the scratch. Since gold plating is softer than silver plating it is much easier to put a tiny "worm track" into the finish... either a mute touches the surface or a wedding band or....

    The very "constancy" of satin bead blasted finish would make any discontinuity that much more obvious.

    As far as changing the sound? I dunno... a guy who went to England to pick a horn did some blind testing at Eclipse and found two different MRs that, even though they appeared absolutely identical, had different sounds that were distinguishable by both Leigh and Noel. But if you don't have a comparison horn that is absolutely identical in ALL respects before you apply the finish... how are you going to tell?

    I agree that I don't think I'd want a satin silver horn though. There will inevitably be some tarnish to silver that requires cleaning/polishing and that WOULD tend to take away from the original satin. I would only use scratch or satin on a gold plated horn which "washes clean" and doesn't really tarnish, thereby negating the need for "elbow grease".

    Even if one has an existing horn... say an almost new Schilke B1... and wanted to have it refinished.... how would you know that the sound had changed? You've just "eliminated" the standard by which you would have judged the new sound so what's the effect?....... Who knows? Different points in time, different sound? Probably can't tell.
     
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Toots, thanks for the info. I have a friend that can do plating, but he doesn't have the capability to tank plate something as big as a trumpet, although I did ask him about brush plating once and he said that while he didn't recommend it (too thin) he would do it and only charge me for the gold solution used.

    I have that old Mel Bay trumpet descant book that has the bright gold plated Schilke on the cover and I have always liked the way that looks, I just don't know if I would want to part with my trumpet for the length of time it is going to take to have it done, nor do I want to part with the amount of money that it's going to take to have it plated by Anderson.

    Are there any other platers out there that have the ability to plate a trumpet?
     
  4. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

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    Ok Patrick,
    My turn, I guess.
    I talked at length with Roy about the finish on my horn. We agreed with Toots about the satin silver (which I DID want) being difficult to keep from tarnishing and then cleaning. We also discussed brushed gold and scratch gold. All three look great, but Roy suggested for me to go with the satin gold. (bead blast) The brushing or scratching before the plating is up to the technician doing it and unless you see it before plating, you might not be happy. I have seen many scratch and brushed horn that I really liked, but I still prefered the satin finish. I have also seen some brushed/scratched finishes that look terrible. The satin finish is very uniform. Roy asked about my habits with the trumpet. I am very careful with my horns as far as nicks and dings and I also do NOT wear jewerly (including my wedding ring) when I play. This sort of eliminates the chance of rubbing on the finish and brightening it up.
    I guess it is a personal decision. The brushed and scratched horn look great. I really wanted a scratch finish when I decided on gold. I am very happy with the decision I made to go with the satin finish.

    Either way, both Leigh and Roy are experts in their fields and you should listen to what both say. It's a matter of preference...who was better?
    Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle? You can't lose.

    btw
    When I was going to have my B6 satin silvered, my pro shop called Anderson's and they were reluctant to do it also. They mentioned not wanting to weaken the integrity of the very small amounts of solder that Schilke uses on their horn.
    Also, Anderson's gold plated my horn and Roy did the bead blast.

    -cw-
     
  5. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

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    Patrick,
    Before you get your horn plated with scratch/brush or satin, you should try to see each of them in person, or aquire some GOOD digital photos that you can put on your photo program and zoom in on to get a real good look at what you're going to get.
    Each of the brushed or scratch gold finishes is different.

    -cw-
     
  6. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

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    I thought the topic of the longevity of smooth version scratched or satin finishes came up once before and Leigh of Eclipse stated that there was no concern since the plating actually adheres to rough surfaces better than smooth ones.
     
  7. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Chuck is right on with his statements there. If you'd like I can send you some recent pictures (so recent that I haven't taken them yet!) of my Eterna cornet which underwent this treatment at Leigh's hands. 4 megapixel sound like enough detail?

    Greg, I think we're talking about different things... the issue is whether or not the relative "roughness" of scratch or satin might burnish down to "bright" given that gold plating is softer than silver as well as how easy it might be to accidentally leave scratches in a somewhat sensitive finish. The issue of the plating actually sticking to the horn really isn't there with a quality cleaning job done by experts (which Leigh and several others undoubtedly are).

    Really whether 'tis nobler to scratch or to blast is really in the eye of the beholder! (with apologies to somebody who is probably dead!)

    Oh yeah... and another advantage of the matte finish (scratch or blast) is that fingerprints, etc. are virtually invisible... especially on the gold finish. I spend more time trying to keep the inside of the bell clean than the rest of the horn!
     
  8. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

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    Gzent wrote:
    I not sure what you meant.
    I could be wrong, but I thought that the satin finish (bead blasting) is done after the trumpet has been gold plated, whereas the brushing or scratching is done prior to gold plating.

    -cw-
     
  9. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Chuck, I think that, since the plating thickness is somewhere in the area of 4 mil thick, that the beadblasting must be done BEFORE plating or else you'd be blowing the gold right off the horn rather than "denting" it.


    Anybody know for certain? Leigh? You lurking out there?
     
  10. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

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    You're probably right.

    -cw-
     

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