Trumpet finishes and effect on brightness/darkness of tone

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Bwanabass, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. Buck with a Bach

    Buck with a Bach Fortissimo User

    Dec 29, 2009
    Canton, Ohio
    My LB Bach was a dark rich sounding horn, mostly a lacquer finish. They say the Olds Operas are a darker sounding horn, finish on those is either nickle or silver. My 17A has a Coprion bell( copper), but does sound trumpety(?) with a 10 1/2C Bach piece, but go to the Wick 5 or 5A I have and it mellows/darkens quite a bit. Don't think that the finish is going to really make that much of a difference. It's more the player/mouthpiece choice:oops::cool:
  2. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    I've thought about this a little, and I reckon what we see as differences based on finish are more likely differences based on projection - the more the trumpet projects the sound, the darker our perception of that sound - because we are left with the low frequency tones. I base this on empirical evidence of observers who say I sound the same on my Harrelson as my Getzen Classic - but I think I sound quite different. Yes I sound like me, but one seems darker than the other - the Harrelson is heavier and projects - and I think it sounds darker, whereas the Getzen is light and gives me a lot of feedback - and I think it sounds brighter.

    Ok, now I roll up the hem of my tee shirt and expose the target sketched on my chest - well, my belly really.
  3. nieuwguyski

    nieuwguyski Forte User

    Aug 9, 2004
    Santa Cruz County, CA
    The finish on Olds Operas is lacquer. The silver color results from the alloy used -- nickel silver.
  4. Brad-K

    Brad-K Piano User

    Jun 18, 2011
    Trumpets plated with lead have a real dead sound. But they can be used as a radiation shield.
  5. Buck with a Bach

    Buck with a Bach Fortissimo User

    Dec 29, 2009
    Canton, Ohio
    Thanks,JNN. I wondered whch it was. The Reynolds Argenta I played in HS was finished that way as well. Wasn't as well informed at that point and am not sure if it was a darker sound or not. It did have a .462 bore though, maybe that's where my affinity for the larger bores comes from:dontknow::oops::cool:
  6. Forte User

    Jan 27, 2008
    Brisbane, Australia
    French horns, which have a quite dark sound, are often made of nickel silver. I had one that put me through uni, a trusty Holton H179. I'm sure the design of the horn has much more impact than the finish though.
  7. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    There's a big difference between what a horn (or bell) is made of and a finish that's applied to it. Most of the time, horns are made of brass, and an extremely thin coating of silver, gold, or lacquer over the brass won't do much to alter the sound. If the horn is made of nickel, or has a solid copper bell or a solid silver bell, etc., then that's different - there should be a discernible difference in tone/feedback/playing characteristics between that one and a plain brass one, everything else being equal.
  8. Buck with a Bach

    Buck with a Bach Fortissimo User

    Dec 29, 2009
    Canton, Ohio
  9. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    My thinking is that never will we find "everything else being equal", and while such begins with you and I or with other players, it is also true among instruments or mouthpieces of different makes, models, and attributes.

    That being said, IMO a coprion (copper) bell was the best innovation in the brass trumpet / cornet instruments and rather than state that such darkens the sound, I'd prefer to say it smooths it, not necessarily in the comparison between burlap and silk but in a similar feel for the sound.

    IMO the major components to tone are mouthpiece, leadpipe, tubing bore, and bell flare and in this respect the larger the bore the less neccessity for tubing length.

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