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Stainless steel

Postby Steginkt » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:07 am

Would it technically by possible to make a stainless steel tuba? How would this affect sound?
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Re: Stainless steel

Postby the elephant » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:31 am

You can make a tuba out of many things. The feasibility of making a stainless steel tuba is not good. First, to the best of my understanding as a bush league welder, it would have to be welded together rather than soldered. (Perhaps you could braze/silver solder it? I don't know.) Welding is not something that lends itself to beautiful, artful, subtle or even HIDDEN joints lines. Also, it takes some specialized gear and training to weld stainless steel. It does not react like mild steel at all.

Further, I do not know how one would draw slide tubing or spin bells or shape large bows. Can steel be annealed like brass to make it more malleable? I think so. (Look at blacksmithing.) But the processes are not the same, so bending leadpipes and crooks might not work out using super-thin-walled steel tubing.

It would have to be a surgical grade to make it something that does not rust much, and the inside would stay wet for long periods, so even surgical grades of stainless would probably have some pinhole rust issues if the walls were .25mm thick. Frankly, I cannot imagine such a horn at all.

As far as sound, it would be a very hard metal, and harder metals enhance the presence or lack of certain overtones just like softer ones. I imagine it would be a harsh, edgy sound lacking warmth when played loudly; played softly I cannot really imagine what stainless would sound like. But I have no real idea, here.

The shape of the inside of the tubes is far more important to the sound than the materials that tubing is made from, in the end, so long as it is not porous or otherwise non-reflective to sound waves.

I used to play a brass Alexander 163. My friend owns one of the very rare all-nickel silver 163s. His horn had a darker but "harder" sound than mine. It was better for some composers and worse for others, in my opinion. I really liked his horn, but am not sure I would want it as my only CC. If I could have kept my brass 163 and had a NS one like his then *that* would have made me very happy. His horn was a lot more punchy than mine in the low register. It was very clear and clean, but not quite as warm and friendly. Hard to say.

This has been discussed here a few times. Try searching for it to see what others have said. I am an idiot, so do not listen to what I have to say on this. I am just speculating based on my limited personal experience with various metals and sound production...
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Re: Stainless steel

Postby Ltrain » Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:17 am

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Re: Stainless steel

Postby imperialbari » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:02 am

If stainless steel is so hard to construct brass-type instruments from, how are the inner knucles/passage-tubing then mounted in stainless steel pistons as known from amongst other samples my British made (1999) Besson 981 Eb tuba?

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Re: Stainless steel

Postby MikeW » Wed Aug 16, 2017 1:27 pm

According to this link, Schilke compared trumpets made from various materials. The two extremes were lead (soft - no overtones, so it produced pure sine waves) and steel (hard - lots of overtones, rang when you tapped it, but "dead' when you tried to play it).
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