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Question: If you want dark, with more overtones and colours possible, if everything else is equal (bore, tape, flare etc) what material for your bell would you choose?
phoshporous bronze - 0 (0%)
copper - 2 (7.4%)
red brass - 12 (44.4%)
rose brass - 2 (7.4%)
sterling silver - 4 (14.8%)
nickel silver - 0 (0%)
something else? - 7 (25.9%)
Total Voters: 27

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bonenick

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« on: Mar 18, 2017, 04:18PM »

Please explain your choice in a comment.
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Matt K

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« Reply #1 on: Mar 18, 2017, 06:17PM »

At what dynamic and or context? At louder volumes copper gets super bright for me. At least the copper bells I've played.

I've not played a bronze bell afaik. I played a rath bronze slide and it was pretty bright but it was paired with a nickel bell so that's probably not a good comparison.

Also doeends on the rest of the horn. I had enough parts for an all gold brass Shires at one point that when assembled thusly was really dull instrument at lower volumes and unbelievably edgy when it did manage to get past the redline.
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elmsandr

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« Reply #2 on: Mar 18, 2017, 06:52PM »

In reality, probably just yellow brass.  More copper, mo problems.  Coprion horns are the extreme and they are just crazy in extreme situations.

That said, I love my gold/rose horns, but I sound better on just the yellow brass.

Cheers,
Andy
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Andrew Elms
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« Reply #3 on: Mar 18, 2017, 07:54PM »

There is no "right" or "wrong". It depends on so many other factors, this question is not a simple "This will give you that" problem.

M
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« Reply #4 on: Mar 18, 2017, 08:22PM »

It's my opinion the player has the most effect.  Beyond that though, I think it's more the geometry of the instrument, including shapes of components, sizes and variations in weight at different points along the column, than it is the materials, that have a real effect on the way it sounds.  I'm sure the materials have some effect, but I personally don't think these effects are dominant.  Also, I believe that a lot of the player's insights to various configurations are not necessarily transmitted to the audience.

Example, I like red brass bells.  Most of my trombones have red brass bells.  However, in the case of my Shires, people tell me I sound the same whether I have a yellow brass bell or a red brass bell on it.  To me though, the yellow brass 'sounds/feels' brighter and less responsive than the red brass.
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« Reply #5 on: Mar 18, 2017, 08:48PM »

I really like the Bach Gold Brass bells, They give me the sound I want at all volumes.
My 42B has the classic Yellow brass bell and give me that classic Bach large horn sound.
My Large bore Holton has a light weight slide and a Red Brass bell. Nice dark rich sound . It`s heavy and lots os overtones.
My 2B+ has a sterling silver bell.  Dark at PP to MF / Bright from MF up
That`s my set-up
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« Reply #6 on: Mar 18, 2017, 10:12PM »

I venture that if you aren't already real close to a dark/rich sound, the bell material won't get you the rest of the way.
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« Reply #7 on: Mar 18, 2017, 10:28PM »

I find that, all things being equal, the bell material isn't that responsible for a "dark" sound. The line-up of overtones is far more effected by the approach to the instrument than the material of the bell.
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bonenick

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« Reply #8 on: Mar 19, 2017, 03:54AM »

Just to make things clear, I am not new to brass playing, relatively new to trombone playing. I know how much the mouthpiece and the aproach can change.

I am planning (as many here already know) to have myself build a superbone with 3 rotary valves with a dual bore .500-.508.

It will come with a Peppy bell, which I will use for jazz/funk/pop/latin.

I entertain the idea of having built a second bell for it with a bigger bell (8 or 8 1/5, I haven't decided yet) probably with a slower flare. I plan to use this for smallish classical ensembles and eventually solo when a more mellow sound is appropriate.

So, basically the question is whether is worthy to look for any...exotic materials, or just order a regular red brass bell (maybe Shires)? 

P.S. I don't mind if it brightens up in loud dynamics.
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bigbassbone1

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« Reply #9 on: Mar 19, 2017, 04:45AM »

I don't believe there is any equipment which will just give you a "dark or rich" sound. You can get those qualities on any material of any size. If you are building such an unusual instrument i would just worry about which materials I could get that were the most cost effective. I dont think its worth looking for "exotic materials"... at least not for the effect it sounds like you are wanting to get.
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Matt K

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« Reply #10 on: Mar 19, 2017, 04:48AM »

Depending on the rest of the setup I'd probably go with something heavier and something either gold or yellow in that case.  Maybe sterling if money was no object.  When I think of 'dark' I also usually try to go for 'dense' if words can adequately describe these things, and sterling may fit the bill. I love my sterling leadpipes but I definitely don't have the money for a bell!

For your peppy bell, copper may be appropriate but my sample size of copper is admittedly small. Just a few of the small bore conns. But boy, they were bright when they were pushed for me at all.  On the other hand, just about the only person I can think of off the top of my head who plays anything other than a yellow bell is the Elliott Mason. And not that he isn't a total bad @#$(), and also not that social proof is evidence of what you should do, but I'm inclined to think most people go with yellow brass for those applications for a reason.

FWIW, I'm not sure woyou've contacted, but it might be worth giving Mike Corrigan at BAC Horns a message. He does a lot of things I consider to be unusual projects. I actually don't like the aesthetics of the horns really at all... but he may be willing to take on your project and given that he has a fair amount of knowledge building unconventional horns that can be used in a conventional context (Elliott Mason!), may well be your best option for what hardware you ultimately go with.  Maybe you do find that his copper bell works well for you. Or not! But, as someone who has done my fair share of unusual projects, the only way to find out is to get it done!
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« Reply #11 on: Mar 19, 2017, 05:51AM »

Chocolate.
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Jim Theobald
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« Reply #12 on: Mar 19, 2017, 06:00AM »

These polls are stupid. Too many variables-players are all different.
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bonenick

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« Reply #13 on: Mar 19, 2017, 06:13AM »

For your peppy bell, copper may be appropriate but my sample size of copper is admittedly small.

Thanks Matt.

I cannot change anything in the peppy bell, I imagine that is either yellow or gold brass (one of those mounted ones on bach 6 and 12). The question is whether to get a second bell and what to look for in it.

For the moment I think of just getting a standard Shires .500-.508 hand slide
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« Reply #14 on: Mar 19, 2017, 07:45AM »

So... "Something else" will include a lot, won't it?...  Yellow brass, red brass, rose brass, gold brass, sterling silver, nickel silver, ...  All the most common bell materials.

And I don't know what phosphorous bronze in - guess I won't be checking that one off. 

The post above is correct: these polls are stupid.


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bonenick

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« Reply #15 on: Mar 19, 2017, 08:11AM »

I didn't include yellow and gold brass, because the my peppy bell is one of the two, not sure. Both are considered kind of middle of the road, easy to manipulate for the maker and quite flexible to play with.

Phosphorous bronze is something that is relatively new, as far as trombones are concerned I saw only B.A.C. to offer it, but never a video on youtube or something that one can see or hear online. Something of the kind is used by Dave Monette on some of his trumpets and more recently by Antonio Rapacciuolo, both on trumpets

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FM08UeiJm4I&feature=youtu.be
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAX6eH0NUNs

Copper and high content of copper alloys are not something new.

As for sterling silver...one is the price, the other is....I once played a sterling silver bell trumpet...didn't like it much. It was dark, but lifeless. It may be more than just the material, but didn't like it much at that time. It may work differently on trombone.

If I am missing something let me know  :/

I put all the basic alloys known to me and used in brass instruments, just in case someone wants to vote :-)
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« Reply #16 on: Mar 19, 2017, 08:40AM »

The variable you aren't looking at is the fact that this is a valve trombone. Going for "rich/dark" with a valve trombone is tough, because you'll more likely end up with "tubby." Lots of things work in weird ways with a valve trombone. My guess is that "dark" will be the least of your worries, and "bright" or "punchy" will be difficult to attain. The best valve trombone I ever had for the sound you're after was an Olds full-size valve trombone mated to an Olds Recording bell. It's not a sound I particularly sought after, but people in the audience would come up after gigs and ask me about that particular horn. The Recording uses a rose brass bell.
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« Reply #17 on: Mar 19, 2017, 09:38AM »

Aged Spruce.  Using a varnish with crushed gemstones.  Worked for Stradivarius, after all. ;-)
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« Reply #18 on: Mar 19, 2017, 09:53AM »

So... "Something else" will include a lot, won't it?...  Yellow brass, red brass, rose brass, gold brass, sterling silver, nickel silver, ...  All the most common bell materials.

And I don't know what phosphorous bronze in - guess I won't be checking that one off. 

The post above is correct: these polls are stupid.




I believe the bronze that Mick uses for some of his slides is phosphorous bronze........
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« Reply #19 on: Mar 19, 2017, 10:03AM »

With valves, the size/bore of the valves is going to make the biggest difference in the breadth of sound if I were to guess.

For bell material I would say "Gold brass" (is that "rose brass?) because that really works for me.

...maybe a bit too much, another horn I have with a gold brass bell has been described as "too dark" by one of Bret Steed's buddies. It also has brass slide tubes ( I prefer nickel actually) and a nickel W6 leadpipe in it. I play on a relative big piece, and having played 2Bs my whole life I guess I play towards the dark side of things anyway.

How that'll effect you? No telling. You're a trumpet player, so getting the right characteristic sound is probably more of a chop and oral cavity thing than a material thing. I'm a blasty-blasty kind of guy: the horn doesn't resonate for me, I shake the hell out of it. If I still played more "correctly", I would actually prefer a yellow bell for "dark" applications, because in my experience they tend to be in the right "color spectrum" if I'm relaxing, minding my Ps and Qs, and allowing the horn to do the work it was designed to do. But again, that's just me. I'm sure we have different teeth, different nose to lip distance, all that. I have some teeth in slightly weird places because of wrestling and a jaw that does funny things because of my big mouth getting me into trouble in my youth. All those things effect how I play and what equipment I dig.

But a few things I've noticed that I like: if I can get a horn to resonate, I can control the darks and lights really well at low and mid range dynamics. Lighter bells are good for this - jiggs styled bells, the copper or red brass bells seem to be like this as well. The problem is when pushed lighter bells get really bright. I think this bell thickness can make a much bigger difference than the material, although the material will of course effect the thickness, how the bell is constructed, etc., and most of those factors are just hard to predict with an individual because we all hear the horn differently. Sometimes a really heavy bell will sound dark, but that's because (I think, I don't build these things for a living) it's not resonating very well in the upper mid and higher overtones. Large heavy thick stuff can sound really airy. Not bad if that's the sound you want, but it can be a lot of work at all the dynamics.

For me, this is what I've noticed - again, we're all different and hear different things, I can only tell you what I perceive (and perceptions are truth only to the perceiver...)

At the end of the day, for most people the yellow bell with either a nickel slide or brass slide works for the majority of people, I think, because it offers a modicum of flexibility of tone, light or dark depending on how you want it, in a large dynamic range. Other materials (in my experience - again, yours may differ greatly) seem to "light up" or "darken up" in different places in the dynamic spectrum.

Sterling Silver tends to maintain its "darkness" at a higher volume than other materials, but can get too airy and woofy at the softs for some players, and is just too dark for other players. I love the fact I don't have to tame my approach on a SS bell. I don't generally dig the weight or the fact I can't hear myself as well on louder gigs.

Red Brass and Copper - I lump these together because of A) my lack of extensive experience on them and B) they seem very similar to me. Very dark in low and mid dynamics, very responsive, zings in the upper register (high stuff seems easier). Get's really bright, almost like a buzzsaw when pushed for some. This is why you gotta light up those bells before take them on the gig to see how they respond. Greg Solomon had some kind of red belled conn ( i think) when he led our section at UCO in the 90's - man when we hit the FFs, it was awesome. I miss that cat.

Gold Brass - I really dig Gold Brass. It's my go to bell material for "darkness" - I have a Shires .547 with 1G bell and LW Gold brass slide - I don't play it much anymore because I don't need a horn that big most of the time, but man It's sweet. I should've got a small bore version of that horn in .508. I also have a custom 2B+ (Truitt) with a gold brass bell - the "too dark" horn... but the reason it is "too dark" I'm pretty sure has much more to do with the brass slide tubes. Don't overlook the importance of the slide tubes on the sound, they might effect it more than the bell.

Nickel - nickel bells can be dark and brilliant, I want Bret Steed's Rath R2. So easy to play, so pingy so you hear yourself well, so nice and big and mellow on recordings. I think he's endorsing XO now so he never plays the R2 anymore. Wish he'd give me that horn. I think David Gibson and Mike Dease were doing nickel belled Raths for a bit - and those guys have nice big dark sounds. You can check out their recordings to see if that's what you're looking for (of course buying that bell isn't going to make anyone sound like that, but it may give you an idea.)

 Again these are just my own personal impressions - I recommend most people stick with yellow. My favorite horn in my stable? A 53 2B with yellow bell and nickel slide. Beat all to hell but it sounds great. Dark. And light. All the colors - I dig Caravaggio but sometimes I want to paint something happier, ya dig? Yellow gives you all the colors.
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