practical considerations Bookmark and Share

The bulk of the musical talk

practical considerations

Postby bloke » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:32 am

"silver plated trumpets" - rare - after the development of epoxy lacquers - until band leader and soloist, Carl H. "Doc" Severinsen appeared with one on NBC's universally-watched "Tonight Show" in the 1970's.

"silver plated tubas" - rare - after the development of epoxy lacquers - until the late 1970's, when a Michigan importer began importing "the RR of tubas" which sported a sort-of-shiny silver plated finish.

"silver plated French horns" - from the bottom to the top of the price range, rare, even today

"silver plated trombones" - perhaps not "rare", but certainly not common, and big-box sellers tend to not stock silver plated versions of popular models

...so trombone players and horn players, seemingly, haven't bought into the four-decades-so-far silver plating craze/hype.

At least with horn players, it's apparent (at least, to me) why they haven't bought into it.
(Aside from all of that flinging of water droplets and constant all-over-the-instrument handling that they do, who needs all that meticulous maintenance grunt work?)

Image
User avatar
bloke
musician/technician/innovator
musician/technician/innovator
 
Posts: 38325
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 6:04 pm
Location: western Tennessee

Re: practical considerations

Postby hup_d_dup » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:58 am

However, there are lots of nickel silver french horns, and I never see that on trumpets, trombones, or tubas. One exception was the Conn Constellation trumpet, although I don't know if that was nickel silver or nickel plate.

But the question is, if nickel silver is so good for french horns, why don't you see it on other instruments?

Hup
hup_d_dup
4 valves
4 valves
 
Posts: 543
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2011 10:10 am
Location: Tewksbury, NJ

Re: practical considerations

Postby bone-a-phone » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:02 am

As a trombone player, I've never liked silver plate. I've owned a couple plated horns, and avoided playing them for two reasons: 1) my hands always turned black (especially older plated horns did not have lacquer over the plate) 2) It just looked excessively flashy - leave that to the trumpet players.

Within the trombonists that I'm familiar with, the type of silver that is actually sought after is the sterling silver bells, available only on a few models. They have a different sound/feel to play, and a more obvious difference from plating. And they are definitely heavier and more expensive than brass bells. Some trombonists also like nickel plate. The 48h Connstellation in particular a very popular trombone with a nickel plated bell.

Nickel silver is used in trombones a lot. I owned an Olds P24g which had a red brass bell, and the rest of the horn was nickel silver. I think Rath offers a nickel silver bell. Nickel silver really brightens the tone because it is so hard.

Silver plate was a finishing solution prior to "good" lacquer, although I personally prefer unlacquered brass over other finishes. Using plating for aesthetics, ego prop, or perceived tonal qualities is something I think the brass world has mainly left to the flashy high-brass or vain marching brass.
bone-a-phone
lurker
lurker
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:02 am

Re: practical considerations

Postby Three Valves » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:17 am

bloke wrote:

...so trombone players and horn players, seemingly, haven't bought into the four-decades-so-far silver plating craze/hype.



Not even among Her Majesty's Subjects?? :shock:
Who needs four valves??

Mack Brass Artiste
MackBrunner 210L
Bach 12
Kelly 18
User avatar
Three Valves
6 valves
6 valves
 
Posts: 2405
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:44 am
Location: The Land of Pleasant Living

Re: practical considerations

Postby Stryk » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:54 am

I think if I bought a pricey high end horn today, it would be silver plated - just because I like how it looks. However, the best playing horns I have experienced are unlacquered. I am not practical.
Terry Stryker

6/4 Lyon & Healy C (1904)
5/4 Alexander Emperor BBb (1917)
4/4 Amati Kraslice C
3/4 Mirafone 184 C
1/2 Yamaha YBB 103
User avatar
Stryk
Retired Educator
Retired Educator
 
Posts: 1906
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:55 pm
Location: Panama City, Florida

Re: practical considerations

Postby the elephant » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:59 am

I have not worked with a single hornist in 30+ years who plays a lacquered horn.
In the multiverse there is a TubeNet where we talk about how we greased our cat with toothpaste and hot sauce so it would fly better in the rain. Even then someone would ask whether the cat was lacquered or silver plated.
User avatar
the elephant
Papa Legba
Papa Legba
 
Posts: 12852
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2004 8:38 pm
Location: 404 Not Found

Re: practical considerations

Postby bloke » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:12 pm

the elephant wrote:I have not worked with a single hornist in 30+ years who plays a lacquered horn.


Have you coached any high school or college-level brass ensembles?
If "yes"...
In schools, how many silver plated French horns have you encountered vs. lacquered ones?

(Yes, the "brown high-end French horn" (along with "Geyer wrap") has become a long-lived fad. Possibly (??), mostly because the boutique shops that assemble them from the parts that they buy (from those who actually "make" those horns) aren't set up to properly/legally do any lacquering...more so than "effects-the-sound" issues - whether real or perceived.)

=======================================================================

When (rarely) I purchase a used tuba for myself, I'm delighted when they happen to sport a lacquer (NOT silver) finish.

That having been said, when I restore silver plated instruments, I'm pretty much "stuck" into silver plating them again, as chemically stripping silver plating from instruments is epically injurious. With your own Holton, you carefully/meticulously HAND-stripped it because you knew better than to have it chemically stripped.

As so few tubas are sold new "un-lacquered", I'm always suspicious of used "un-lacquered" tubas (for reasons I've expressed here more than once). As might have been noticed, very few tubas that I offer here for sale are un-lacquered as (again) I'm suspicious of their histories, and tend to not consider them for purchases.

Your own Holton: no suspicion there...Its history is well-documented (here!) :D
Last edited by bloke on Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
bloke
musician/technician/innovator
musician/technician/innovator
 
Posts: 38325
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 6:04 pm
Location: western Tennessee

Re: practical considerations

Postby the elephant » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:20 pm

I have not seen any lacquered or silver plated horns - AT WORK, as I said. Only raw nickel silver, brass and (ahem) Ambronze on gigs. <snickering at Ambronze> I don't give a crap about horn students. They play what they can afford, rather than finding a way to afford what they need for a job. Not the same at all. But the fact remains: I have not worked with a pro in the past three decades who used a lacquered horn. They buy them that way on purpose. Or they strip them. They still do this very commonly. They have their wonky beliefs, too, you know. I bet many of them sneak pockets rockets on stage, heh, heh...
In the multiverse there is a TubeNet where we talk about how we greased our cat with toothpaste and hot sauce so it would fly better in the rain. Even then someone would ask whether the cat was lacquered or silver plated.
User avatar
the elephant
Papa Legba
Papa Legba
 
Posts: 12852
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2004 8:38 pm
Location: 404 Not Found

Re: practical considerations

Postby the elephant » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:20 pm

And what sort of paranoia drives your obsession over a horn's history? Who the F cares?

Seriously, Joe: Who cares?

DOES IT PLAY? That is the *only* consideration to be made. Does it play in a manner that pleases you? I never care if a bell has been rolled out if that bell plays well. Has it been in a traumatic car accident? WHO CARES?
In the multiverse there is a TubeNet where we talk about how we greased our cat with toothpaste and hot sauce so it would fly better in the rain. Even then someone would ask whether the cat was lacquered or silver plated.
User avatar
the elephant
Papa Legba
Papa Legba
 
Posts: 12852
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2004 8:38 pm
Location: 404 Not Found

Re: practical considerations

Postby bloke » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:37 pm

the elephant wrote:And what sort of paranoia drives your obsession over a horn's history? Who the F cares?

Seriously, Joe: Who cares?

DOES IT PLAY? That is the *only* consideration to be made. Does it play in a manner that pleases you? I never care if a bell has been rolled out if that bell plays well. Has it been in a traumatic car accident? WHO CARES?


paranoid...?? :shock: :lol:
I avoid buying stripped tubas, simply because the vast majority of them were stripped AFTER having been involved in bad (typically involving their bells) accidents. A large percentage of post-manufacturing un-lacquered tuba bells have been annealed, burnished, belt-sanded (to hide remnants of creases), and buffed (until the sandpaper scratches finally disappear). These operations define a thin-and-easy-to-re-crease bell. Further (when/if many of these damaged/repaired bells are subsequently polished) some very poor (faceted/out-of-round/etc.) dent removal work is exposed. Neither do I care to own a tuba with such a bell, and nor do I care to sell a tuba with such a bell. A prominent (rarely posts here, anymore) tuba player now owns a 188 that I bought, was carelessly-packed, and was damaged in shipment to me, but I sold it to them repaired with the factory lacquer intact. An Alabaman (with whom you've done a bit of trading as well) purchased another tuba from me that had some creases removed, but also sported the factory lacquer.

Most who will read this would look differently at a wrecked/repaired car than they would at a never-wrecked car.
Curiously, quite a few dependable never-wrecked name-brand cars are priced similarly to a really dependable never-wrecked tuba.

Just as a reminder, the main topic is "trending factory silver plating on brass instruments".

bloke "With 'F' and 'WHO CARES' appearing in all caps, it seems as though ~someone~ seems to, at least, care about other people caring. :D "
User avatar
bloke
musician/technician/innovator
musician/technician/innovator
 
Posts: 38325
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 6:04 pm
Location: western Tennessee

Re: practical considerations

Postby windshieldbug » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:44 pm

the elephant wrote:DOES IT PLAY? That is the *only* consideration to be made. Does it play in a manner that pleases you? I never care if a bell has been rolled out if that bell plays well. Has it been in a traumatic car accident? WHO CARES?


The pre- and post- concert inspection committee, which can drop your musical score by up to 50 points, thus ruining a perfectly performed concert... :shock:
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
User avatar
windshieldbug
Once got the "hand" as a cue
Once got the "hand" as a cue
 
Posts: 10779
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2005 5:41 pm
Location: 8vb

Re: practical considerations

Postby Three Valves » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:53 pm

I care because the more I know about the horn section the more fun it is to point and chortle at them!!
Who needs four valves??

Mack Brass Artiste
MackBrunner 210L
Bach 12
Kelly 18
User avatar
Three Valves
6 valves
6 valves
 
Posts: 2405
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:44 am
Location: The Land of Pleasant Living

Re: practical considerations

Postby bloke » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:40 pm

...but I wonder if the beginning of the Swiss-fueled "bright silver plated tubas" craze was due to them (or their US importers) wishing to separate themselves from others in appearance (in order to be able to charge prices way above what everyone else was charging), or because of (who knows...?? I don't) some heavy restrictions/requirements for spraying paints and solvents in Switzerland, yet working with cyanide formulations not (??) so restrictive and/or less costly to them.

My Swiss-made compensating euphonium is one of the few lacquer-finish ones I've ever seen. It seems as those so few were finished that way that (perhaps?) there wasn't much experience doing it. Of the few lacquer-finish Swiss-made instruments that I've seen, an inordinate percentage (and yes, these instruments are "old") of those lacquer finishes checked...again, hinting at a lack of a lot of experience applying lacquer.

Some may (??) not be familiar with the term, "checked"...so here's a (not a musical instrument, but...) example:
Image
User avatar
bloke
musician/technician/innovator
musician/technician/innovator
 
Posts: 38325
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 6:04 pm
Location: western Tennessee

Re: practical considerations

Postby Micah Everett » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:31 pm

I own two silverplated instruments, both purchased for the same reasons: I liked them and got good deals on them. Had the same instruments been offered in lacquer, I would have been even happier.
User avatar
Micah Everett
bugler
bugler
 
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 4:15 pm
Location: Oxford, MS, USA

Re: practical considerations

Postby pwhitaker » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:28 am

I now prefer raw brass - the green stains it puts on my hands helps cover up the liver spots.
MISERICORDE, n.
A dagger which in mediaeval warfare was used by the foot soldier to remind an unhorsed knight that he was mortal.
- Devil's Dictionary - Ambrose Bierce
User avatar
pwhitaker
3 valves
3 valves
 
Posts: 401
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 1:58 pm
Location: Springvale, Maine

Re: practical considerations

Postby toobagrowl » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:21 pm

Lacquer :!:
It looks good, you can use it to 'touch up' spots after repairs, and it seals all the little nooks and crannies of any brass instrument. I sometimes like to use shellac as an under or over coat to lacquer, too.
toobagrowl
5 valves
5 valves
 
Posts: 1085
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:12 pm
Location: USA

Re: practical considerations

Postby pjv » Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:52 am

It seems to me that the finishes are often "traditionally" b(i)ased. We tuba players have a massive variety of tubas to choose from. Being a large instrument it also stands-out, no matter what you do. Manufacturers use this to their advantage of coarse. In the beginning of the 20th Century US manufacturers of produced those lovely silver instruments with a gold wash bell. Visually breathtaking in bell-front basses.

In general silver is a standard in brass bands and many marching bands.

The 98% of the horn players I've seen play a lacquered Alex 103. Players prefer lacq in order to protect the horn a bit and delay metal thinning from hand contact.

The majority of the euphonium players (not USeuph, baritone or tenor horn) play a silver Besson Prestige or Sovereign compensating euph. Mainly used in brass bands, silver is what they want to see.
In other words, these two disciplines are very traditionally oriented in all aspects, not just finishes. (of coarse, there are exceptions).

Trumpet players seem to be into either vintage or boutique, but are rather experimental with brass, silver or whatever. When I was growing up almost every Bach or Schilke was in silver. Now? It seems to me that the boutique players often go for one of the "whatever" finishes; brown, black, gold, grey. metallic, shiny, etc etc.
Is this because trumpets are relatively cheaper????

The vast majority of tbn's are in one of 4 bore sizes (more or less). Bone players are also either "vintage" or "boutique" players. The most popular silver tbn I've seen are in the small dixi vintage straight bone department. Exceptions were mentioned above. The rest of the straight bones all seem to be 90% lacquer (unless it's showing off the a red bell). Trombones are very inexpensive compared to the other brass instruments, so why do we see so little experimentation in lacq? Who knows. It, like the horn, it is an old model with comparatively little change in design since the sackbut. One long tube with a bell and a slide.
No nonsense finish for a no nonsense design?

Tuba: we know about this.

I think if anyone is spending a large chunk of money for a music instrument that they will be looking at almost every day for hours on end it stands to reason that, given the choice and the funds, they'll put out the extra money to have it look the way they like. And seeing as it won't change the sound, why not?
User avatar
pjv
4 valves
4 valves
 
Posts: 697
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2004 4:39 am

Re: practical considerations

Postby the elephant » Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:13 pm

pwhitaker wrote:I now prefer raw brass - the green stains it puts on my hands helps cover up the liver spots.


CONGRATULATIONS! YOU WIN THE INTERNET!
In the multiverse there is a TubeNet where we talk about how we greased our cat with toothpaste and hot sauce so it would fly better in the rain. Even then someone would ask whether the cat was lacquered or silver plated.
User avatar
the elephant
Papa Legba
Papa Legba
 
Posts: 12852
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2004 8:38 pm
Location: 404 Not Found

Re: practical considerations

Postby bloke » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:36 pm

The verbal spanking (troll...?? not...??) that I received aside, please note that I pointed out that you removed the silver from your own instrument CORRECTLY (by hand).

Chemically stripping silver is risky, usually leaves serious pits, eats away brass in the areas of an instrument that end up stripping first, and damages valve casings and threading.
User avatar
bloke
musician/technician/innovator
musician/technician/innovator
 
Posts: 38325
Joined: Sat May 08, 2004 6:04 pm
Location: western Tennessee


Return to TubeNet

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot], Kirley, tubare and 41 guests