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Gold Brass vs Rose brass


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Jenny Lee
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Joined: 06 Jun 2021
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maarten van Weverwijk wrote:
Drastic simplification (don't take this too literal);
from hard to soft material, cold to warm sound, better to worse projection, quick to slow response:

1.Yellow brass.
2.Gold brass.
3.Rose/Red brass.
4.Copper.

MvW.


A few questions here:

1. Where do German-silver/nickel and sterling silver sit along this continuum?

2. What's the difference between "rose brass" and "red brass"? I've seen them used interchangeably by some while others have said they're 2 different alloys.

3. Is "copper" generally pure copper, or is it an alloy like the others?
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Divitt Trumpets
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Joined: 11 Aug 2015
Posts: 228
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 5:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jenny Lee wrote:
Maarten van Weverwijk wrote:
Drastic simplification (don't take this too literal);
from hard to soft material, cold to warm sound, better to worse projection, quick to slow response:

1.Yellow brass.
2.Gold brass.
3.Rose/Red brass.
4.Copper.

MvW.


A few questions here:

1. Where do German-silver/nickel and sterling silver sit along this continuum?

2. What's the difference between "rose brass" and "red brass"? I've seen them used interchangeably by some while others have said they're 2 different alloys.

3. Is "copper" generally pure copper, or is it an alloy like the others?


Nickel silver and sterling silver aren't in that continuum since they are totally different alloys. Nickel silver being an alloy of ~60Cu 20Ni 20Zn and sterling silver being 92.5% Si 7.5%Cu.

Rose brass is not a real alloy name, but in the metals industry brass alloys with over 70% copper are known as red brasses. Actual Red Brass is 85%Cu 15%Zn

Copper is basically pure, at ~99%Cu.
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Jenny Lee
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Joined: 06 Jun 2021
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Divitt Trumpets wrote:

Nickel silver and sterling silver aren't in that continuum since they are totally different alloys. Nickel silver being an alloy of ~60Cu 20Ni 20Zn and sterling silver being 92.5% Si 7.5%Cu.

Rose brass is not a real alloy name, but in the metals industry brass alloys with over 70% copper are known as red brasses. Actual Red Brass is 85%Cu 15%Zn

Copper is basically pure, at ~99%Cu.


Thanks for clarifying these.

As far as nickel silver and sterling silver, how do these rank against these copper alloys in terms of relative hardness, warmth of sound, projection, and response? Or is it impractical to make such a comparison with regard to bells?
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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I once had the chance to play a Bach 37 Sterling Plus against a few other horns. I did like the sound at low volumes very much. Warm and still with a strong presence. Once you go loud and high, however, this horn is brutal. Very strong presence still, not overly bright but LOUD. I presume for someone in a rock environment or with a lot of unmiked outdoor playing this could be a great horn. People say, silver is very soft. Being a chemist I can confirm this but as I am pretty careful with my horns this would not be a concern to me. I don’t typically bang horns around

Now nickel silver is mighty interesting as well. Much harder than silver (so if you’re the more robust type …) and I have read that nickel silver horns have an unpleasant and harsh sound. I do, however, think this is not the problem of the material, rather the trumpet design. Why would Pfreimbter, Baumann, AR Resonance, and earlier Olds build horns almost entirely from nickel silver if the sound was bad?

Plus, I actually own a horn with a nickel silver bell that is not harsh at all. Much rather it has a very dark sound at low volumes and quite a presence at high volumes. Parts of this may also be attributed to its rather large and wide bell with a diameter well over 130 mm. It’s a Hüttl Silver Colibri from the 1960s or early 1970s.
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Subtropical and Subpar
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brassnose wrote:
Why would Pfreimbter, Baumann, AR Resonance, and earlier Olds build horns almost entirely from nickel silver if the sound was bad?


How early were those early Olds horns? If it was during WWII, the use of nickel may have been driven by the shortages of copper in the US due to wartime production of... war stuff that used copper. Think of how the US penny switched to an all-steel manufacture in 1943 or so.
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Divitt Trumpets
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jenny Lee wrote:
Divitt Trumpets wrote:

Nickel silver and sterling silver aren't in that continuum since they are totally different alloys. Nickel silver being an alloy of ~60Cu 20Ni 20Zn and sterling silver being 92.5% Si 7.5%Cu.

Rose brass is not a real alloy name, but in the metals industry brass alloys with over 70% copper are known as red brasses. Actual Red Brass is 85%Cu 15%Zn

Copper is basically pure, at ~99%Cu.


Thanks for clarifying these.

As far as nickel silver and sterling silver, how do these rank against these copper alloys in terms of relative hardness, warmth of sound, projection, and response? Or is it impractical to make such a comparison with regard to bells?


I can't speak for those in terms of bells because I haven't built any horns with them. Sterling would be prohibitively expensive unless I had a customer request for it.

Nickel silver work hardens very quickly and doesn't soften like brass does. It tends to add some edge and brightness to the sound. I do make tuning slides in nickel silver.
Sterling is very soft compared to brass, and it does work harden but if you overdo it it will crack. It's also susceptible to cracking if you overheat it.
One of my models uses a sterling leadpipe to add some warmth and colour to the instrument, as it is designed to be more bright and edgy and I didn't want it to be uncontrollably bright.

All of these options are player and builder preference, so it's hard to say that one is better or worse than the other.
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Brassnose
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ subtropical: I think you are on the wrong path but I may be mistaken. I understand the Olds Opera and the Reynolds Argenta were horns from the 1950s (?) and were made with mainly nickel silver parts, including tubing and bell.
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2018 Prisma Bb bass trumpet - B&S 6 1/2 AL
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