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Difference in finish

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I have a small start up corps here in Plymouth. Being a drummer for almost 40 years I know minimal about brass instruments. As we are gathering funds for purchasing horns, is there a difference in the sound if the finish is sivler plate, nickel, chrome or brass lacquer? Have any corps fielded brass lacquer finish? thanks,

Dennis

Standish Guards

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This was being discussed in Drum Corps World magazine - in the late 50s - and undoubtedly decades before that.

People listen with their eyes.

You are a drummer. Does the color of a drum wrap make a diff?

For a startup corps, get what's available, a mixture of finishes makes no diff.

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I have a small start up corps here in Plymouth. Being a drummer for almost 40 years I know minimal about brass instruments. As we are gathering funds for purchasing horns, is there a difference in the sound if the finish is sivler plate, nickel, chrome or brass lacquer? Have any corps fielded brass lacquer finish? thanks,

Dennis

Standish Guards

Four corps did that I know of - Archer-Epler, Amboy Dukes, my own junior corps, the T-birds and the Bridgemen - all fielded brass lacquered horns for many years.

Edited by Ray Priester

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Four corps did that I know of fielded brass lacquered horns for many years.

Also the 2-time AL champion Skokie Indians. And the Pittsburgh Rockets. And the Norwood Park Imperials, Toledo Demons, St. Paul Scouts, Colts, Memphis Blues, Lakewood Ambassadors, Little Chute Dutch Girls, Milwaukee Royal Emperors, and the Blue Devils of Lima Ohio. On a budget, I mixed finishes in the Kenosha Kingsmen and nobody ever commented.

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in 2010 carolina crown used brass lacquered horns. People usually say that silver is slightly edgier not alot but a little. Also the finishes on silver horns are going to last longer and even longer with chrome.

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There is no scientific proof that "finish" effects sound. Although, I do believe that the Chromed horns "feel" different. There is a good amount of feedback a horn player receives thru the holding of the instrument. Chrome in my opinion (depending on thickness) could dampen some of that feed back to the player giving the impression of a "darker" or even a "stuffier" sound quality. Quality construction and design play a major roll in overall brass instrument sound. Much like a drum, you get what you pay for. If budget allows, spend the money !

I personally like the look of sliver plate.

If I had unlimited funds (I know that you don't) I'd opt for something new and different. I used to have a "Rose Brass" and Nickel finished Trumpet that looked absolutely beautiful. These day's, I'm partial to the "Brushed Gold" finishes. They look really cool !

Of course if you "believe" it makes a difference, then it does.

Good luck with the start up... It's a fun ride !

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Thanks everyone for all your help. Very informative!

Dennis

Standish Guards

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The copper vs. zinc content of the horn can make a difference because it affects how the metal vibrates. Brass with a higher copper content (rose brass, gold brass, red brass) tends to have a darker, warmer tone to it. Most horns are typically made with yellow brass, which usually is around 70% copper/30% zinc. Silver plating adds weight to the horn, and it will add a little darkness to the sound, but I think arguably the reason most corps use silver horns is because silver plating has a longer lifespan where it still looks good if properly maintained, and can be recovered from tarnishing more easily. Lacquer will wear off relatively quickly especially in the harsh environments of outdoors in the summer, so a lacquer hornline will deteriorate more quickly, and you can't polish up a lacquer horn the same way you can polish a plated horn.

Now if you're talking about something like matte finish vs. dark lacquer finish...no, I don't think that affects the sound, at least not significantly. That's just a question of cosmetics.

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The alloy science is for the high-end horns, the differences will get lost outdoors and in the constant company of percussion and electronics.

Silverplate is relatively thin, typically less than .001". A bell is about .016 thick. A coat of lacquer will double the bell thickness.

Chromeplate is chrome over nickel over copper, thus thicker and harder than silver.

Finally, autographs with a Sharpie pen do not adversely affect the tone color.

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The alloy science is for the high-end horns, the differences will get lost outdoors and in the constant company of percussion and electronics.

Silverplate is relatively thin, typically less than .001". A bell is about .016 thick. A coat of lacquer will double the bell thickness.

Chromeplate is chrome over nickel over copper, thus thicker and harder than silver.

Finally, autographs with a Sharpie pen do not adversely affect the tone color.

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