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Copper vs Brass Bells


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Michael Drapp
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:15 pm    Post subject: Copper vs Brass Bells Reply with quote

Christmas has been a great time to spend here on the forum...just relax and enjoy your company! In reading over some old threads there are many references to copper bells being delicate and not suitable for use with mutes and trumpet stands. While this is clearly true for some lightweight copper and "beryllium" copper bells, this same caveat is also true for lightweight brass bells. So what has been your experience, brass vs. copper? Personally, I have not had any of my brass or standard weight copper bells show any real tendency to warp or dent with mute usage. Since I don't bang my bells into music stands or clip mics to them, I have not noticed any other hazard related problems; brass vs. copper. What has been your experience, thanks?
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gbdeamer
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:53 am    Post subject: Re: Copper vs Brass Bells Reply with quote

Michael Drapp wrote:
Since I don't bang my bells into music stands or clip mics to them, I have not noticed any other hazard related problems; brass vs. copper. What has been your experience, thanks?


I think that's the most important point. If you're careful about the interaction of the bell and mutes/stands, then it's not a big problem.

That said, I tend to be REALLY careful when I'm playing my horn with a rimless copper bell. It seems like it could be very prone to dings.
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MichaelM2
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't find a copper bell any more fragile than brass, I think the copper bells are more difficult to work with and repair.

Mike
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Scott42486
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm told copper can ding/dent a bit more easily if you aren't careful. I've also been told that it's a bit harder for repair people to work with, but a good tech can still take care of them without too much issue.

Now those Bach sterling plus bells, I've heard those are the hardest things to work on. I've seen what they look like post-repair by the average tech. Eeep.
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shofarguy
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In a number of those previous threads, it comes out that there are some differences between hand-worked-from-sheet copper bells (such as Kanstul's) and electroplated copper bells. I imagine we'll read different comments and experiences relative to each type of copper bell.

Comparing brass and copper made from sheet stock, it is clear that copper is harder to work into a bell, is substantially more subject to collapse during the process than brass and generally must be made from a heavier range of gauges.

Work hardening does make the copper bell acceptably durable, but it is also evident that the zinc/copper brass alloy is stronger and more damage resistant.

Brian
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Bill Blackwell
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:07 am    Post subject: Re: Copper vs Brass Bells Reply with quote

Michael Drapp wrote:
... Personally, I have not had any of my brass or standard weight copper bells show any real tendency to warp or dent with mute usage. Since I don't bang my bells into music stands or clip mics to them, I have not noticed any other hazard related problems; brass vs. copper. ...


It is a matter of physics - copper is a softer metal compared to brass.

However, I own and use both copper-belled and brass-belled horns. I have used wireless mics, tuner clips, and bell stands on both without issue, but I believe most of us would agree we don't go out of our way to 'bang our bells into music stands' ...

In any case I don't change the care I take from one to the other and I've never had any problems specific to either.
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oliver king
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:16 am    Post subject: Re: Copper vs Brass Bells Reply with quote

Bill Blackwell wrote:


It is a matter of physics - copper is a softer metal compared to brass.

However, I own and use both copper-belled and brass-belled horns. ..... I believe most of us would agree we don't go out of our way to 'bang our bells into music stands' ...

In any case I don't change the care I take from one to the other and I've never had any problems specific to either.



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p-nut
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have played on a Schilke B3Lb (beryllium tunable bell) for 20+ years, have taken it all over the world for gigs, (usually in a gig bag I can keep with me), always use a trumpet stand, and banged mutes in and out of it, and it looks good. The silver is wearing off inside the throat of the bell, from mute corks and stands, but no dents. I treat my horns with care, but they are meant to be used. They are not "Holy Relics"...
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doclev
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the same experience with the same horn, as p-nut. Gig bag, mutes, trumpet stands--nothing affected my beryllium bell horn very much.
However, don't leave your gig bag on the ground so a trombone player can back over it with your new Calicchio inside!! That'll stop your heart for awhile.
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76strad
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have my Kanstul C Trumpet with it's copper bell, I really like the sound of the horn and it's feel. however, I do agree from personal experience that since the copper is softer, it dents a heck of a lot easier. That being said my horn is hardly ever hit. If it is, then it gets...
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Capt.Kirk
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The end thickness of the material after spinning and it's hardness is what matter's. I could take any thin bell anneal it and they stink a mute in it and damage the bell. Like wise if the material is left hard or is thick no worries.

It is not just the material but how thick or thin and how hard or soft it is at the end of the working. A thin bell should never be annealed because it is almost a guaranty that mute damage will happen. OEM that make such things do not tell people that because it would scare away sales.

Electroformed bells do not get any real working other then opening the bore and some minor cosmetics. This means they are soft raw copper dead soft more then likely and if they are thin this will be an issue. If they are heavy not so much an issue.
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p-nut
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, so if its soft and thin, it may dent; but if its hard and thick, it won't. Its for insights like this I always look to the Cap'n. Thanks again.
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brassjunkie
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find it interesting that when experiments where done with blindfolded professional trombone players (bell closer to ear than trumpet), they could not detect differences in the type of material or thickness of the bell. This is from an article in brass herald May 2009, by Dr Richard Smith.
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Michael Drapp
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read that article a while back on the Smith-Watkins website. I thought how interesting because I can hear differences in my Schilke bells. The spread or compactness of tone, projection and other sound nuances are heard (and felt) when I play or change mouthpieces. My wife can easily tell the difference when I change horns and/or mouthpieces and she is a piano player!
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Crazy Finn
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael Drapp wrote:
I read that article a while back on the Smith-Watkins website. I thought how interesting because I can hear differences in my Schilke bells. The spread or compactness of tone, projection and other sound nuances are heard (and felt) when I play or change mouthpieces. My wife can easily tell the difference when I change horns and/or mouthpieces and she is a piano player!


Do you actually have the same bell in copper and brass?
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Michael Drapp
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would appear that Dr. Smith and I have the same problem...a lack of perfect reference bells in different materials without any variances in their construction

Still, the differences are quite dramatic when I go from a lightweight beryllium copper bell on my B6Lb and my copper B6, etc. Also, there are quite a few tonal variations between the exact same model in my collection. I can hear the difference and I can feel the difference; my audience can too. Perhaps I should ask a couple of my recording engineers if they see any differences when I'm in the studio? These guys can break your performance down note-by-note, look at the frequencies and let you know what really came through the mic!
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nieuwguyski
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Electroformed copper has very small grain size -- a characteristic of hardened metals. Here's a paper:

http://morganicmetalsolutions.com/pdf/mechanical_properties_of_electroformed_copper.pdf

Here's a quote (section 4.1):

"The electroformed copper appears to have very fine grain size, with grain sizes observed to have a range of 100-600nm. This appears to be the source of the unusually high strength for pure copper."
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Michael Drapp
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A very interesting report on electroformed copper, thanks! Always fun to mix music with science
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chapahi
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My pocket trumpet is copper and I get mysterious pin sized pings on the bell and every so often there's a new dent somewhere that I can't recall from what, but my old Conn 12B (coprion), on the other hand, is like a tank.
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uglylips
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nieuwguyski wrote:
Electroformed copper has very small grain size -- a characteristic of hardened metals. Here's a paper:

http://morganicmetalsolutions.com/pdf/mechanical_properties_of_electroformed_copper.pdf

Here's a quote (section 4.1):

"The electroformed copper appears to have very fine grain size, with grain sizes observed to have a range of 100-600nm. This appears to be the source of the unusually high strength for pure copper."


My experience with my B5L is that the electroplated copper bell is very durable. Not one ping or dent after two+ years of use. I jam mutes in and out without much concern. It seems to be stronger then some of the brass bells I have.
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