So lets talk metal

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by SteveRicks, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    So, where do horn makers obtain the metal for their horns? What type of specs go into an order? I have always believed that the metal in Olds horns are possibly responsible for their sound. Kanstul has semi-copies of a number of famous horns, but while the Kanstul horns are great, there is still a difference between them and the originals. Not worse, just different. There are a number of manufacturers that attempt to clone the strad. Never has exactly the same sound.

    I know there are hundreds of factors that determine sound, but the metal is something that is rarely talked about. Maybe Ivan will give us his take on this topic.
  2. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

    Mar 9, 2011
    Florida, US
    I would guess at the metal shop. I think it is the ratio of copper to brass. I think Andy Taylor would be the perfect person to ask. He does red brass, normal brass, and pure copper bells and probably anything you could think of. PM nordslandtrompet about that.
  3. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    I presume most manufactures would buy their brass from metal suppliers, these days of rising prices and reduced inventories choices in alloys may be somewhat limited. At one time I could go to a supplier and purchase small quantities of brass, copper, nickle silver sheet in various thicknesses, also they had thin walled tubing that telescoped they called music tube in lengths of 12", last time I asked they would only sell me sheets 6'x3' and looked blank when asked for music tube.

    I have recently aquired a 1941 York Custom model with a copperish colored bell, Oldlou in another thread said York made these bells from Gilding metal which I believe is a copper tin alloy, as York were making projectile casings from this metal for the Department of Defence, I leave the supply to your imagination.

    A metal manufacturer will make a specific alloy for you if you order sufficient quantity, I used to get a specific copper alloy for electrical work, it was only made in Germany and the wait would be 6 to 9 months until enough was ordered to make a batch, a sheet 6'x 1'x0.040' cost $500.

    Regards, Stuart.
    coolerdave likes this.
  4. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    Gilding metal is a copper alloy, comprising 95% copper and 5% zinc. Technically, it is still brass. Gilding metal is used for the jackets of ammunition, including artillery shells, as well as enameled badges and other jewellery. There are good references in Google that state that Gilding metal has also been used in trumpet manufacturing.
  5. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    Thanks Ted, I should have looked it up instead of trusting my failing memory.

    Regards, Stuart.
  6. fuzzyhaze

    fuzzyhaze Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 22, 2009
    Newcastle-Upon-Tyne UK
    This is a little vague but I remember years ago, my trumpet teacher telling me that in the UK they changed the percentage of copper in brass due to wartime rationing (WW 2) and it never returned to pre war levels afterwards. They substituted the copper taken away, for other metals such as nickel or tin, I think. This also made it slightly more brittle. He also went on to say that Japanese brass has this lower copper content but American brass has the original ie. pre war levels of copper, it was never changed in the US. It makes for a darker sound and a more maleable material. I'm quite happy to be corrected on this information by anyone who knows, the above is anecdotal after all. I do wonder wether or not most manufacturers buy their brass from China to reduce overheads, I'm not suggesting it's inferior, I assume it will be made to the buyers specifications, I would like to know for sure though, has anyone got any info on this?

  7. BrassEye

    BrassEye Pianissimo User

    Sep 9, 2011
  8. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.

    To be a bit more precise, and I surely hope that the minor differences in semantics from U.S. English and that spoken in Australia do not hinder my explanation; bullet jacket material is definately not the same as cartridge casing material. A cartridge is that container into which the propellant is inserted. When fired, this pushes the bullet through the bore. Two different cupric alloys are needed for these vastly different jobs.

  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
  10. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Actually, that is how Kingtrumpet gets his unique sound, he slaps a asymmetric on an artillery shell, and there he blows!

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