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Horns Discuss How can you tell the difference between a nickel and silver bell in the Equipment forums; Guys...what's the easier way to tell if a trumpet bell is silver or nickel...
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    Fortissimo User coolerdave's Avatar
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    How can you tell the difference between a nickel and silver bell

    Guys...what's the easier way to tell if a trumpet bell is silver or nickel
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    Fortissimo User A.N.A. Mendez's Avatar
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    Re: How can you tell the difference between a nickel and silver bell

    Nickel is hard, looks like your car bumper.
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    Fortissimo User coolerdave's Avatar
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    Re: How can you tell the difference between a nickel and silver bell

    that is why I asked .. the bell end has two flap style bends ... which would take alot if it were nickel right? I can't tell the difference where it meets the silver part of the horn ... Is there another way of telling?
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    Forte User nieuwguyski's Avatar
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    Re: How can you tell the difference between a nickel and silver bell

    Quote Originally Posted by coolerdave View Post
    that is why I asked .. the bell end has two flap style bends ... which would take alot if it were nickel right? I can't tell the difference where it meets the silver part of the horn ... Is there another way of telling?
    Are you describing a French bell bead? Regardless, solid nickel isn't used in instrument construction. The only pure nickel you'll find is nickel plate, which will be plated over a base metal -- usually brass, copper, or nickel silver. The "solid nickel" that gets talked about is actually nickel silver -- 60% copper, 20% nickel, 20% zinc (or thereabouts). Nickel silver is harder than brass, but still workable.

    If there's no color change where the bell meets the horn, there's no material change. Neither nickel plate nor nickel silver is the same color as silver plate.
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    Fortissimo User coolerdave's Avatar
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    Re: How can you tell the difference between a nickel and silver bell

    Quote Originally Posted by nieuwguyski View Post
    Are you describing a French bell bead? Regardless, solid nickel isn't used in instrument construction. The only pure nickel you'll find is nickel plate, which will be plated over a base metal -- usually brass, copper, or nickel silver. The "solid nickel" that gets talked about is actually nickel silver -- 60% copper, 20% nickel, 20% zinc (or thereabouts). Nickel silver is harder than brass, but still workable.

    If there's no color change where the bell meets the horn, there's no material change. Neither nickel plate nor nickel silver is the same color as silver plate.
    so silver has he edge
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    Fortissimo User Brekelefuw's Avatar
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    Re: How can you tell the difference between a nickel and silver bell

    Silver plate has a blueish tint to the shine, or whitish. Nickle has a black tint to the shine.
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    Utimate User Dale Proctor's Avatar
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    Re: How can you tell the difference between a nickel and silver bell

    To those familiar with instruments plated with (or made of) the two metals, it's pretty easy to tell by looking at them. Nickel has a darker look to it, where untarnished silver has a brighter, more whitish appearance. Usually, nickel plated horns are lacquered and silver plated ones are not, so that's another thing to look for.

    As for the ease of working nickel, many horns that are "nickel" are really just nickel plated brass (but some instruments do have nickel leadpipes). Now, when you get into really old horns, quite a few are made of solid nickel silver, or German silver. I have a circa 1870 cornet that is solid German silver.

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    Fortissimo User coolerdave's Avatar
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    Re: How can you tell the difference between a nickel and silver bell

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Proctor View Post
    To those familiar with instruments plated with (or made of) the two metals, it's pretty easy to tell by looking at them. Nickel has a darker look to it, where untarnished silver has a brighter, more whitish appearance. Usually, nickel plated horns are lacquered and silver plated ones are not, so that's another thing to look for.

    As for the ease of working nickel, many horns that are "nickel" are really just nickel plated brass (but some instruments do have nickel leadpipes). Now, when you get into really old horns, quite a few are made of solid nickel silver, or German silver. I have a circa 1870 cornet that is solid German silver.

    thanks Dale .. although I am sure this was just an excuse to post another one of your bad a$$#$ instruments.
    I have never had a problem telling the difference before.. this one is just tricky. I am thinking that it's a new silver bell which doesn't have the tarnish or swirl marks so it looks alot like nickel.
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    Fortissimo User MFfan's Avatar
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    Re: How can you tell the difference between a nickel and silver bell

    My 65 Holton Galaxy is nickel plated, they say. Fine playing horn.
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    Fortissimo User trickg's Avatar
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    Re: How can you tell the difference between a nickel and silver bell

    Easy - one looks like silver, the other looks like nickel.
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