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Author Topic: Earl Williams Trombone  (Read 355450 times)
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DaveAshley

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« Reply #20 on: Jan 26, 2009, 03:00PM »

I'm not sure but that MIGHT be a Williams I owned about 7 or 8 years ago.  It was in need of some repair, but sounded awesome. The slide was worn to death, and it had amado water keys on the top and bottom of the crook so you can flip the slide upside down to avoid wear. It had been refinished in a pretty poor lacquer job. I figured it'd take some work to make it a daily player, but I didn't even know where to start to get the parts. I do remember that someone from the L.A. area bought it, and it wasn't John Noxon. The serial number 814 sure sounds familiar, but I'm not sure.
Here's the only picture I have of the horn:


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JohnL
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« Reply #21 on: Jan 26, 2009, 03:12PM »

spit  key //// finish  ---hum  ---
I wouldn't put much stock in the water key, one way or the other. Some guys didn't like the Williams design and had it changed. I don't know for sure when he started using the design, but he didn't file for a patent until 1945. I'm pretty certain the Wallace-Williams and early Williams had conventional spit valves.
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« Reply #22 on: Jan 26, 2009, 03:58PM »

The Williams is a good horn. But it is not a Kanstul.  Evil

Earl used cartridge brass which contains very small amounts of tin and lead. Kanstul does not. Many believe that the cartridge brass has alot to do with the Williams characteristic sound. Maybe so. I suspect it's not only the cartridge brass but his excellent design and craftmanship as well.


Just for the record " cartridge brass " is just another name for 70/30 brass, there is so much bull talked about all this.

The following is lifted from a non ferrous suppliers catalouge.

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 Conveyer 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.
NATIONAL BRONZE


What made Earl Williams horns great was Earl Williams not some 'magic' metal

BellEnd


















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bachbone
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« Reply #23 on: Jan 26, 2009, 06:10PM »

This is what he said:

Quote
No the horn is not refurbished its been maintained, and I it is the original finish, It was made by Earl Williams a Trombone maker inthe 1920's in Los Angeles and Burbank CA. The engraving is on the horn and it says Manf by Earl Williams in Los Angeles CA, The Serial number 6-814 is on the nut.

Hard to believe that is hasn't been refurbished!  What does its been maintained mean?  Could have 2 different meanings.  Maintained as in took care of, or maintained by a repair shop with an easy coat of lacquer each month.
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BGuttman
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« Reply #24 on: Jan 26, 2009, 07:12PM »

...or maintained by a repair shop with an easy coat of lacquer each month.

Don't think that would be likely or possible, Koda.  If they put a new coat of lacquer on the old stuff, the horn would be encased in a thick layer of lacquer and would be dead as a doornail (sound-wise).  The cost and time delay of having the lacquer stripped and reapplied even twice a year would make the horn cost 6 times what it was new.  Plus, with all the buffing necessary to prepare for the relacquer you'd have no engraving left.

Well-maintained means he didn't abuse it, and kept it in the case most of the time.  Probably original lacquer.  Sounds minty to me.
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Bruce Guttman
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« Reply #25 on: Jan 26, 2009, 07:34PM »

I probably should have said every week to display more sarcasm.  It would be highly unethical either way of doing it every month.  Lacquer doesn't wear that fast, so that is where I thought of the sarcasm (I may need to work on that).  Way cool
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You can be in Tokyo or Alberta at four in the morning in your hotel and you can still practice if you feel like it. A trombone cannot do that at four in the morning.
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« Reply #26 on: Jan 26, 2009, 07:56PM »

I wouldn't say unethical; just stupid.  The value of any trombone (or any other musical instrument for that matter) is revealed when it is used to play music.  An Amati is just a bunch of firewood until somebody like Pinkhas Zuckerman puts a bow to it.  Putting a thick coat of lacquer on will take a wonderful instrument and make it into a wall-hanger.  Denis Wick actually relayed a story to this effect in his Trombone Technique.
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Bruce Guttman
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JohnL
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« Reply #27 on: Jan 26, 2009, 10:49PM »

I don't think Williams was making horns in this configuration in the 1920's, but the seller doesn't specifically claim the horn is of that vintage.

Some thoughts on materials...

I can't see a small operation like Earl Williams having a great deal of control over his raw stock. He just wouldn't be buying enough volume to be able to do more than call up Copper and Brass Sales or someone like them and order off-the-shelf sizes and alloys. He might have piggybacked on Olds' orders, but even they probably didn't do enough volume to deal directly with a mill.

As for leaded brass? Doubtful. Lead improves machinability and hot working properties, but impairs cold working properties. He might well have used leaded brass for machined parts, but not anything he had to cold form (i.e., tube drawing and bell spinning).
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« Reply #28 on: Jan 26, 2009, 11:23PM »

Bellend, I never said Earl used some kind of 'magic' metal.

Interesting that two very well known horn builders that I know have told me that cartridge brass is different than 70/30 brass.

And I think all of us are aware that what made his horns great was Earl himself.

I don't see brass instruments in your list of typical uses for cartridge brass.
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« Reply #29 on: Jan 27, 2009, 01:27AM »

Yes, cartridgebrass is nominally a 70/30 brass ,but because of the way it is made, it is impossible to make it as "clean" as more modern brass types... Some people means that this "unevenness" of the metal makes the "zen" of a horn. My `34 Conn has cartridge brass in the bellflare but not in the rest of the bell tubing! This horn is obviously a prime example of great workmanship!... Does the brass alloy in the bell contribute ? ; I have no idea, but the fact that he bell tubing is made from another alloy than the bell tubing should leave some clues, ..not?

tbarh
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DaveAshley

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« Reply #30 on: Jan 27, 2009, 07:31AM »

Earl bought a truckload of cartridge brass from the government after WWII.  It is actual cartridge brass, and he used the same load of brass for every instrument he made from that point on.

Many sax players think the Selmer Mark VI's from the 50's are the best.  Apparently those are made with cartridge brass as well. They say the ones after a certain serial number were made with regular brass, which softened the metal and made the sound more diffuse. 
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dj kennedy

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« Reply #31 on: Jan 27, 2009, 07:35AM »

yeah  the  flip  flop slide 
========
that  one  was on the  otj  ---




I'm not sure but that MIGHT be a Williams I owned about 7 or 8 years ago.  It was in need of some repair, but sounded awesome. The slide was worn to death, and it had amado water keys on the top and bottom of the crook so you can flip the slide upside down to avoid wear. It had been refinished in a pretty poor lacquer job. I figured it'd take some work to make it a daily player, but I didn't even know where to start to get the parts. I do remember that someone from the L.A. area bought it, and it wasn't John Noxon. The serial number 814 sure sounds familiar, but I'm not sure.
Here's the only picture I have of the horn:



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« Reply #32 on: Jan 28, 2009, 08:01AM »

I wouldn't say unethical; just stupid.  The value of any trombone (or any other musical instrument for that matter) is revealed when it is used to play music.  An Amati is just a bunch of firewood until somebody like Pinkhas Zuckerman puts a bow to it.  Putting a thick coat of lacquer on will take a wonderful instrument and make it into a wall-hanger.  Denis Wick actually relayed a story to this effect in his Trombone Technique.


A heavy coat of lacquer put paid to a great '58 8H. Mind you, he probably blew the instrument out, knowing how much volume he was able to generate on that instrument........
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« Reply #33 on: Jan 28, 2009, 09:09AM »

Bellend, I never said Earl used some kind of 'magic' metal.



I don't see brass instruments in your list of typical uses for cartridge brass.

It does actually say tubing for instruments and machines if you look again.

Here's another alloy list:

Brass types
Admiralty brass contains 30% zinc and 1% tin which inhibits dezincification in most environments.

Alpha brasses (Prince's metal), with less than 35% zinc, are malleable, can be worked cold, and are used in pressing, forging, or similar applications. They contain only one phase, with face-centered cubic crystal structure.

Alpha-beta brass (Muntz metal), also called duplex brass, is 35-45% zinc and is suited for hot working. It contains both α and β' phase; the β'-phase is body-centered cubic and is harder and stronger than α. Alpha-beta brasses are usually worked hot.

Aluminium brass contains aluminium, which improves its corrosion resistance. It is used in Euro coins (Nordic gold).

Arsenical brass contains an addition of arsenic and frequently aluminium and is used for boiler fireboxes.

Beta brasses, with 45-50% zinc content, can only be worked hot, and are harder, stronger, and suitable for casting.

Cartridge brass is a 30% zinc brass with good cold working properties.

Common brass, or rivet brass, is a 37% zinc brass, cheap and standard for cold working.

DZR brass is dezincification resistant brass with a small percentage of arsenic.

Gilding metal is the softest type of brass commonly available. An alloy of 95% copper and 5% zinc, gilding metal is typically used for ammunition components.

High brass contains 65% copper and 35% zinc, has a high tensile strength and is used for springs, screws, and rivets.

Leaded brass is an alpha-beta brass with an addition of lead. It has excellent machinability.

Low brass is a copper-zinc alloy containing 20% zinc with a light golden color and excellent ductility; it is used for flexible metal hoses and metal bellows.

Naval brass, similar to admiralty brass, is 40% zinc and 1% tin.

Red brass is an American term for the copper-zinc-tin alloy known as gunmetal, which is technically not brass,.

Rich low brass (Tombac) is 15% zinc. It is often used in jewelry applications.

White brass contains more than 50% zinc and is too brittle for general use.

Yellow brass is an American term for 33% zinc brass.



As you can see there are a myriad of brass alloys of which cartridge brass is just one.

Bellend,

Interesting that two very well known horn builders that I know have told me that cartridge brass is different than 70/30 brass.


Well, they are mistaken, and or just continuing the myth, or possibly just full of s**t  :D

I have  in the past worked in the manufacture of brass instruments and spent a considerable amount of time researching brass alloys.
 
I became friendly with the guy who owned the rolling mill that supplied us brass and gilding metal
( see above list ) and he was kind enough to analise various samples of vintage alloys in there quality control lab, and certainly post WW2 cartridge brass is just 70/30 copper zinc alloy.

FWIW

BellEnd


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tbarh
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« Reply #34 on: Jan 28, 2009, 10:34AM »

bellend , i have been told that the production  of the bellmaterial of my horn was terminated just fore the outbreak of WW2 because the government needed all of it to produce cartridges... The method of manufacturing this metal was later abandoned( maybe after WW2 ) because of the toxicity and environmental impact it had... It was replaced by a much cheaper method that made a more clean brass. I have heared from a lot of people that the generic sound of Conn instruments from pre-WW2, has a unique ,dark quality , even the small sizes... I can certainly vouch for this as mine has a very dark "formant" to the sound... Wether this is really "cartridge brass"or some other kind I am not sure of.. The only thing I am dead sure of is that the colur of the bellflare is different from the bell tubing(which is normal yellow brass).... I am not familiar with original Williams horns, but from the pictures i have seen ,it seems very similar in colour to my horn..


tbarh
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Bellend

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« Reply #35 on: Jan 28, 2009, 01:44PM »

tbahr, I can't comment on pre WW2 brass  because I didn't have any to get looked at so you may well be right.

I will make some inquiries to try and get a definitive answer to this question.


 I certainly agree with you that pre WW2 Conns have a tangable difference to post WW2 ones and I have seen the difference in colour between bell and tubing. The pre WW2 bells seems also to be harder than the later ones although this could down to something as simple as some of the workforce retiring and or a change in the manufacturing process. This might also account for the fact that to me the pre WW2 red brass bells seem different to the later ones. Don't know

To came back to the thread, we had a customer come in to the shop years ago who had two Williams trombones. The first he bought from the man himself way back when, and the second was I think Caliccihio and he far preferred the newer one, so go figure.

BellEnd
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« Reply #36 on: Jan 28, 2009, 02:21PM »

Scott good to see you again!

Yes Earl did use what was termed Cartridge Brass. Higher Zinc and Tin content than yellow brass. It is harder to work than yellow brass, because it is a bit stiffer. Tooling wears faster and the word Zig Kanstul uses to describe it is "brittle". It is more brittle to work with on a machine than yelow brass. That is why he wont use it. John Duda can tell you the same thing. The horn is from prior to 1964. The logo on the bell tells me it is from the Santa Monica Blvd shop prior to Burbank Ca. And Dave Ashley may be right sure looks like his old honr with the double spit valve. And it has obviou;sy been refinished. The earliest horn of this configuration, modern so to speak, I have found goes back to about 1946.
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« Reply #37 on: Jan 28, 2009, 02:32PM »

Hey John, what about the handslide grip?  Definitely not Burbank style.  Was the star-grip later, or has this been replaced too?
Also, the male piece on the slide looks awfully brown -- if this were original condition, the chrome plating would still cover that piece.  (or was that a Burbank thing only? I know the silver is different on the handgrips)
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« Reply #38 on: Jan 28, 2009, 05:12PM »

Lot of the grips were changed Dave. They wore holes in them over time, they were hollow to begin with, The receiver looks worn like one of mine. The hard Chrome wears off and the brass comes through. Sure lokos like your old horn to me! How have you been?
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« Reply #39 on: Jan 29, 2009, 06:56AM »

bellend , i have been told that the production  of the bellmaterial of my horn was terminated just fore the outbreak of WW2 because the government needed all of it to produce cartridges... The method of manufacturing this metal was later abandoned( maybe after WW2 ) because of the toxicity and environmental impact it had... It was replaced by a much cheaper method that made a more clean brass. I have heard from a lot of people that the generic sound of Conn instruments from pre-WW2, has a unique ,dark quality , even the small sizes... I can certainly vouch for this as mine has a very dark "formant" to the sound... Wether this is really "cartridge brass"or some other kind I am not sure of.. The only thing I am dead sure of is that the colour of the bellflare is different from the bell tubing(which is normal yellow brass).... I am not familiar with original Williams horns, but from the pictures i have seen ,it seems very similar in colour to my horn..


tbarh


Hi tbarh,

I submitted the following question to The Copper Development Agency to try and establish if there was any factual evidence for the various rumours and storeys  that we have both heard .



Below is the response to Case No. 167158

Your question was: Dear Sir / Madam, I am trombonist who has also been involved in the manufacture of brass instruments. Over the years have been told anecdotally on numerous occasions that the composition of Cartridge Brass changed around the period of the second world war and that instruments produced before this supposed change took place are Superior in tone to ones made after. I was wondering wether you could shed any light on this and tell me whether there actually was any change in the composition and or manufacturing process for this alloy at any point during the last century?

Yours faithfully,

A. Hutchinson

Response: Andy,

I have been involved in the US copper and brass industry for 48 years and am not aware of such a change ever being made. The deep drawing properties of Cartridge Brass is a function of the composition and the processing
in particular the penultimate anneal.

It is possible that the nominal composition 70/30 Cu/Zn was pushed to the high side for zinc in an attempt to conserve copper which was a critical metal during the war. The US penny in 1943 was minted as a zinc coated steel coin to conserve copper.

There are several histories on copper and brass, one by a note US metallurgist, Cyril Stanley Smith comes to mind. You could also check with the CDA affiliate in the UK at:

Copper Development Association
5 Grovelands Business Centre
Boundary Way
Hemel Hempstead
Herts HP2 7TE
UK
Phone: +44 (1442) 275 705
Fax +44 (1442) 275 716
E-mail: mail@copperdev.co.uk

Angela Vessey,
Director

I will continue to search for information and if I find anything I'll get back to you.

Regards,
Lou Lozano
Metallurgical Consultant, CDA



Interesting what Mr Louzano sais about the zinc content may be beeing pushed to the high side to preserve copper. However given that the tolerance range for the alloy is quite tight at:


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.

Having the zinc content at the top figure can't change the workability of the alloy too much otherwise it would have become unsuitable for it's primary purpose......making cartridges.


So then.......who's gonna cut a little bit off their Earl Williams bell so we can find out for sure  :D  :D  :D  :D  :D  :D  :D

BellEnd
 




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