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Author Topic: Yellow Brass vs Red Brass  (Read 9585 times)
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BlueTrombonist
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« on: Mar 03, 2008, 12:29PM »

What are the differences?  Confused
Typo. I meant yellow vs red/rose.
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« Reply #1 on: Mar 03, 2008, 12:40PM »

between?  :/
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« Reply #2 on: Mar 03, 2008, 12:53PM »

To put it succinctly:  There is yellow brass, and then there is yellow brass.

In short, however, I think it is safe to say that the one is more yellow than the other, although the converse is not true.
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« Reply #3 on: Mar 03, 2008, 01:30PM »

Paul,

I think you'll find that  most manufacturers use a 70% copper 30% zinc yellow brass alloy commonly known as cartridge brass . There are industry standards laid down for this alloy and although there may tiny variations from batch to batch it would be too small to affect response.

You have to remember that these alloys are produced in huge quantities for general manufacturing purposes. Below is a list of uses from a U.S. supplier and you will note that musical instruments are a very small slice of the pie.


Typical Uses for C26000 Cartridge Brass "70%"
Architecture: Grillwork

Automotive: Electrical Connectors, Radiator Cores, Tanks, Heater Cores, Radiator Tanks, Odometer Contacts, Thermostats, Radiator Tube

Builders Hardware: Decorative Hardware, Door Knobs, Finish Hardware, Hinges, Kick Plates, Locks, Push Plates

Consumer: Bird Cages, Costume Jewelry, Syringe Parts, Chain Links, Watch Parts, Coinage, Etched Articles, Pen/Pencil Inserts and Clips, Lamps, Shells - Electrical Sockets, Buttons, Snaps, Planters, Fireplace Screens

Electrical: Reflectors, Lamp Fixtures, Flashlight Shells, Screw Shells, Terminal Connectors

Fasteners: Eyelets, Screws, Grommets, Rivets, Pins, Fasteners

Industrial: Sound Proofing Equipment, Heat Exchangers, Wire Screens, Pump Cylinders, Tubing for Instruments and Machines, Air Pressure Conveyor Systems, Liners, Springs, Power Cylinders, Pumps, Bead Chain, Chain

Ordnance: Ammunition Cartridge Cases, Ammunition, Mechanical Housings for Lighters, Shells - Mechanical Housings for Ammunition

Other: Washers, Stencils

Plumbing: Faucet Escutcheons, Plumbing Accessories, Fittings, Bathroom Fixtures, Traps, Plumbing Brass Goods

Chemical Composition for C26000
(%max., unless shown as range or min.)

  Cu Fe Pb Zn
Min./Max. 68.5-71.5 .05 .07 Rem.
Nominal 70.0 - - 30.0

Note: Cu + Sum of Named Elements, 99.7% min.



At the end of the day any company has to look at the bottom line and they will buy their raw materials from the cheapest source.

I think  what is more important is the processes the material goes through to become the finished article. This will vary significantly from make to make and is by far the biggest variable.

BellEnd
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2olbones
« Reply #4 on: Mar 03, 2008, 02:26PM »

I'm certainly no metallurgist but speaking speculatively, there may be variances in the alloys depending on the country from which is comes.
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BGuttman
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« Reply #5 on: Mar 03, 2008, 02:37PM »

To expand this a little further.

There was an alloy that Conn used between the wars (i.e. from 1920 to 1940) that had a slightly different composition than true yellow brass.

Also, there is a hardness specification for brass: half-hard and full-hard.  Don't ask what hard is, but the softer stuff will be easier to machine and may not reflect sound as much.

Now if Blue was actually asking about Yellow vs. Gold vs. Rose vs. Red, they all have different amounts of copper in them.  Gold and rose are actually the same stuff, but red has 90% copper and gold/rose is 85% copper.  Again, available in half-hard and full-hard.

All this stuff is quite interesting, but it won't come near to specifying a perfect trombone.

Incidentally, the uses Bellend listed are not quite what you think.  Tubing for instruments includes an awful lot of tubes used for things like measuring devices, pneumatics, etc.  It isn't musical instrument tubing!

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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #6 on: Mar 03, 2008, 05:22PM »

Also, there is a hardness specification for brass: half-hard and full-hard.  Don't ask what hard is, but the softer stuff will be easier to machine and may not reflect sound as much.

Here's some data for 70-30 brass strip, ASTM CA260 - tube would be similar.

Soft Temper: cold rolled to its finished thickness and annealed - approximate tensile strength of 48,000 PSI. No hardness quoted.

Quarter Hard: cold reduced (By one B & S gage number) 10.9% from its annealed condition to a tensile strength of approximately 54,000 PSI and elongation in 2" at 43%. Rockwell Hardness 30T43-60.

Half Hard: cold reduced (By two B & S gage numbers) 20.7% from its annealed condition to a tensile strength of approximately 62,000 PSI and elongation in 2" at 23%. Rockwell Hardness 30T56-68.

Hard Temper: cold reduced (By four B & S gage numbers) 37.1% from its annealed condition to a tensile strength of approximately 76,000 PSI and elongation in 2 at 8%. Rockewell Hardness 30T70-74.

Spring Temper Brass Strip: cold reduced (by eight B & S gage numbers) 60.5% from its annealed condition to a tensile strength of 94,000 PSI and elongation in 2 at 3%. Rockwell Hardness 30T76-78.
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« Reply #7 on: Mar 03, 2008, 06:51PM »

Typo. I meant yellow vs red/rose.

Ah!  That makes a difference!
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« Reply #8 on: Mar 03, 2008, 06:54PM »

I'm not sure BlueTrombonist was gathering ideas for his PhD in Metullurgy, guys.

In my experience - yellow bells sound clear, both in sound and articulation. Very easy to tune to/with. Red bells  are "warmer", meaning the color in the sound is not as clear, but more complex (ie: colorful). Attacks are less defined and the sound in general is harder to tune to/with.

The gold bells seem to be a nice compromise, but I find myself leaning to either a red bell or yellow, and not the in-between gold. Although, some of my two favorite horns were the Yamaha YBL 622 and a Bach 36BGO - both with gold bells.

An easy comparision is when I play my Bach bass (yellow bell), I feel I am easy to tune to and blend with the yellow belled tenors. When I play my Conn (red bell), I feel the timbre blends better with the strings and woodwinds and everyone except the two yellow bell tenors next to me. With this, I vote for all red or all yellow bell sections.
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Michael Lawson
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« Reply #9 on: Mar 03, 2008, 08:05PM »

I'm not sure BlueTrombonist was gathering ideas for his PhD in Metullurgy, guys.

...

An easy comparision is when I play my Bach bass (yellow bell), I feel I am easy to tune to and blend with the yellow belled tenors. When I play my Conn (red bell), I feel the timbre blends better with the strings and woodwinds and everyone except the two yellow bell tenors next to me. With this, I vote for all red or all yellow bell sections.

Well, what started this was Blue asking about the difference between Yellow and Yellow, which sorta implied that he wasn't looking for anything common.

With his change of topic, it's obvious that he didn't bother to search earlier threads because there have been lots of discussions about the effects of different bell metals.  As well as excellent descriptions on the Shires, Edwards, and Rath Web Sites.

So, Blue, please do a little searching before you put out the question.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #10 on: Mar 03, 2008, 10:57PM »


Spring Temper Brass Strip: cold reduced (by eight B & S gage numbers) 60.5% from its annealed condition to a tensile strength of 94,000 PSI and elongation in 2 at 3%. Rockwell Hardness 30T76-78.

Let me point out something here, in case you missed the fine print.

Brass does not precipitation harden nor undergo phase changes, unlike steel.  So the way you harden it (increase tensile strength) is by work hardening.  Cold reduced means work hardened, it is a measure of how much work you did.  Now, stiffness depends on E (Young's modulus, ratio of stress to strain).  Stiffness will be unaffected by work hardening.  So the stronger brass will break at a higher stress, but bend elastically the same amount.  In general, stiffness determines vibration characteristics, not strength. 

Also maybe not obvious:  metal forming such as spinning requires you to exceed the tensile strength.  Different tensile strength, different forming conditions, very possibly different shape at the end. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #11 on: Mar 03, 2008, 11:03PM »


An easy comparision is when I play my Bach bass (yellow bell), I feel I am easy to tune to and blend with the yellow belled tenors. When I play my Conn (red bell), I feel the timbre blends better with the strings and woodwinds and everyone except the two yellow bell tenors next to me. With this, I vote for all red or all yellow bell sections.

Yes, this is a good example.

In fact, it is classic, and until very recently it was the only possible type of example.

All of our musicians folklore about what different materials sound like come from experiences like this:  comparing a Bach to a Conn. 

Do we really think our ears can separate differences caused by completely different model trombones made by completely different manufacturers, from the (subtle if any) effects of yellow vs red brass? 

Of course we do.  It has become part of our culture, and we believe it with religious fervor.  Only in recent years have there been some modular horns that even come close to making it possible to do A-B tests - Shires, Edwards, Rath maybe.  But our conclusions date back centuries. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #12 on: Mar 04, 2008, 12:01AM »

Please Tim, let's not go there (yet again)

Chris Stearn.
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« Reply #13 on: Mar 04, 2008, 06:32AM »


Hard Temper: cold reduced (By four B & S gage numbers) 37.1% from its annealed condition to a tensile strength of approximately 76,000 PSI and elongation in 2 at 8%. Rockwell Hardness 30T70-74.

Spring Temper Brass Strip: cold reduced (by eight B & S gage numbers) 60.5% from its annealed condition to a tensile strength of 94,000 PSI and elongation in 2 at 3%. Rockwell Hardness 30T76-78.

John,
Those seem very hard for brass.  My understanding is that good tool steel is typically Rockwell Hardness of ~58-62.  Does this mean these varieties of brass are harder than steel (maybe just more brittle) or is it a different scale?  (Or, perhaps I'm just misreading it.  I admit I'm no metallurgist like some on this board!)  I wonder why we don't use brass more for applications such as knives tools, etc.  Isn't brass cheaper than steel?
Just curious
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« Reply #14 on: Mar 04, 2008, 07:10AM »

I couldn't find it quickly, but I believe Brass and Steel are measured on different Rockwell scales.

Also, for what it's worth, steel is much cheaper than brass, which is one reason for its use in so many applications.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #15 on: Mar 04, 2008, 07:15AM »

I couldn't find it quickly, but I believe Brass and Steel are measured on different Rockwell scales.

Also, for what it's worth, steel is much cheaper than brass, which is one reason for its use in so many applications.


Quoting: For soft materials such as copper alloys, soft steel, and aluminum alloys a 1/16" diameter steel ball is used with a 100-kilogram load and the hardness is read on the "B" scale. In testing harder materials, hard cast iron and many steel alloys, a 120 degrees diamond cone is used with up to a 150 kilogram load and the hardness is read on the "C" scale.
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #16 on: Mar 04, 2008, 08:02AM »

Just throwing this in for fun.  Might not be all that easy to tell the color of the brass.  Years ago I took the lacquer off the bell of my King 3B.  # 771285 The lacquer was over what seemed to be a slightly gold colored brass.  When rubbing the brass with a fine steel wool pad it took a thin layer of coloring off to reveal a more yellow brass.  You experts out there may know if that is or was typical of King brass trombones.
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« Reply #17 on: Mar 04, 2008, 09:05AM »

Hans ,

For a period King used a gold tint in their lacqer that after a number of years even makes nickel silver look yellow. YUK !!!!


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« Reply #18 on: Mar 05, 2008, 08:39AM »

Warning - the following post contains material of a technical nature, and may cause certain undesirable side effects, such as glazed eyes, extreme boredom, uncontrollable yawning, and/or flashbacks to college years. Reader discretion is advised...

You don't have to exceed the tensile strength to form the material - just the yield strength. Further - just to clarify the idea of stiffness: As long as you don't bend the brass too far, it snaps back to its original shape when you let go. The amount of force necessary to bend the brass a certain amount is constant (direcly related to Young's modulus), regardless of temper, until you exceed the yield strength. Harder tempers have higher hardness, higher tensile strength, and a higher yield strength - so they will bend farther without being permanently deformed.

Quote
For soft materials such as copper alloys, soft steel, and aluminum alloys a 1/16" diameter steel ball is used with a 100-kilogram load and the hardness is read on the "B" scale. In testing harder materials, hard cast iron and many steel alloys, a 120 degrees diamond cone is used with up to a 150 kilogram load and the hardness is read on the "C" scale.
Except that a 1/16" ball with 100 kg behind it will crush thin brass, so we use a lower load (30 kg).

30T81 is (very) roughly equivalent to C20.
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