88h bell thickness

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hyperbolica
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88h bell thickness

Post by hyperbolica » Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:06 pm

Elkhart bells are thin. Gen2 bells can be labeled 88hT for thin. When did the bells start getting thicker? I'm not stuck on Elkharts, but I don't want a thick bell. I had one and don't want another. Might have to buy a horn without playing it first.
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paulyg
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Re: 88h bell thickness

Post by paulyg » Wed Oct 13, 2021 6:43 pm

I think that the Elkhart bells were constructed out of two gauges (at least some of them), with a thicker gauge being used for the flare and a thinner one used for the throat. I think that the switch to thicker bells was pretty immediate with the UMI acquisition. The 1992 horn I had (not sure if that's a gen ii or not, it had an under-the-thumb string linkage) felt extremely thick and dead, but that could also be because of the thick lacquer.
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hyperbolica
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Re: 88h bell thickness

Post by hyperbolica » Wed Oct 13, 2021 7:34 pm

The UMI GenII I had was bought in ~2003 and had the 8hT designation, so by that time they were at least labelling the thinner bells.
Thrawn22
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Re: 88h bell thickness

Post by Thrawn22 » Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:41 pm

I've found that towards the end of the 60s the 8/88H bells got heavier/thicker.

At least what I've experienced thru purchases.
Elkhart Conn 6H(K), 6H, 48H/5H, 78H, 8Hw/ 2547 slide, '57 8H, 60H, 62H, 71H, 72H, Custom 88H bell
hornbuilder
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Re: 88h bell thickness

Post by hornbuilder » Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:48 pm

The first couple.of years of.producrion in Abilene featured similar thickness bells as those from Elkhart. It was during the "Artist Symphony" (as engraved on the bell) series that bells became slightly heavier, but the move to Eastlake really brought the heavy bells to become the norm. I believe it was in an attempt to try and keep up with, or at least try and recoup some of Bach's market share, that prompted the change.
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bellend
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Re: 88h bell thickness

Post by bellend » Thu Oct 14, 2021 4:12 am

During my time as bell maker for Rath trombones I looked into this as part of my research in to vintage instruments.

8H & 88H bells from the Elkhart period were the most consistent in gauge of all the models we had come through the shop. 6H's seemed to have the biggest variation although sadly, I didn't correlate that against any sort of time line ( far too busy).

My own personal conclusion was that the 8H /88H design was in part , like many early American instruments based on a European instrument , most likely German.
Many German instruments feature a very then bell ( quite often one piece) with a nickel silver Kranz covering the last section of the bell flare. My belief is that this design is used to give an easy responding instrument that is also able to handle higher volume levels with out breaking up.

The 8H/88H bells I believe try to replicate this idea in a two piece bell by using a very thin stem 0.3mm ish and a a flare that is approaching 0.8mm at the very edge / The flare gradually goes up in thickness from where it is brazed to the flare , although what process is used to achieve this with consistency at the volumes Conn were making these models I don't know.
I have made a few 'copies' of these bells during my time by hand thinning the flare with a sharpened blade, which did work but was quite time consuming and open to variation.

As to why the bells got thicker at the Artist Symphony stage? I would suspect because it was cheaper and could be more easily made by a less skilled workforce. Despite a lot of people on here's romantic notions about why things change usually it comes down to cost.........

As a last thought I and others observed that the very best playing 8H/88H bells seem to ring to either a G or F# and I found by partially annealing the bell where the flare was joined to the stem I could get most bells close to that pitch.

FWIW

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hyperbolica
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Re: 88h bell thickness

Post by hyperbolica » Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:07 am

BellEnd,
Wow, thank you very much for that! My 68 88h rings at F#, a really nice player. Maybe I should just look for Elkharts.
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Matt K
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Re: 88h bell thickness

Post by Matt K » Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:19 am

Have you ever tried one of the Shires 2RVET7 bells? Might be worth checking out. Possibly grafting the bell on to a Conn 88. I have one that plays great. It isn't an Elkhart, which makes sense given the rest of the horn is (essentially) Shires. But on a horn that is otherwise Conn it might be a good fit. My understanding is the "VE" stems emulate what Bellend was talking about and the T7 treatment is the thicker flare that has been made slightly thinner. 2 means it has an unsoldered bell bead.
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Re: 88h bell thickness

Post by GabrielRice » Thu Oct 14, 2021 7:21 am

T7 is actually a smaller gauge bead wire than standard.

And yes, the classic Elkhart 8/88H bell is two-piece, with thinner sheet used for the stem and thicker for the flare. The Shires 2RVE and 2RVET7 are patterned closely on it, specifically on measurements Steve took from a 1963 8H he used to own that he considered to be the best example he had found.
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hyperbolica
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Re: 88h bell thickness

Post by hyperbolica » Thu Oct 14, 2021 8:17 am

MattK, Gabe,

I'm just not interested in Shires stuff. I had an experience that kind of put me off of them. I'm sure they are fine instruments, but I get a better result from less perfect equipment, if that makes any sense at all.

It is kind of fascinating to hear how stuff is made, though. The two thicknesses thing is really interesting. I tend to think of sheet metal as a single thickness, but the technique of brazing dissimilar thicknesses gives it an entirely new dimension, so to speak.
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Re: 88h bell thickness

Post by ithinknot » Thu Oct 14, 2021 8:20 am

bellend wrote:
Thu Oct 14, 2021 4:12 am
During my time as bell maker for Rath trombones I looked into this as part of my research in to vintage instruments.
Great info - really interesting stuff. Just out of curiosity, which years were you at Rath? Just wondering if my 845R might be one of yours.
hyperbolica
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Re: 88h bell thickness

Post by hyperbolica » Thu Oct 14, 2021 8:27 am

bellend wrote:
Thu Oct 14, 2021 4:12 am
During my time as bell maker for Rath trombones ...
BellEnd
By the way, my favorite Rath bell is the nickel silver R3. Do you have any stories about that bell?
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Re: 88h bell thickness

Post by MrHCinDE » Thu Oct 14, 2021 8:27 am

bellend wrote:
Thu Oct 14, 2021 4:12 am
During my time as bell maker for Rath trombones I looked into this as part of my research in to vintage instruments.



As a last thought I and others observed that the very best playing 8H/88H bells seem to ring to either a G or F# and I found by partially annealing the bell where the flare was joined to the stem I could get most bells close to that pitch.
I have an N-series 8H which I bought used from Rath trombones in 2018, it was probably a trade-in from someone who bought a nice new Rath.

It rings a little in the way you describe and in my opinion plays great. The ringing is a small quirk, perhaps a minor inconvenience but I wouldn’t want to deaden the horn in any way to reduce it. Don’t suppose you were there at that time and remember looking at such a horn?
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bellend
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Re: 88h bell thickness

Post by bellend » Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:35 am

ithinknot wrote:
Thu Oct 14, 2021 8:20 am
bellend wrote:
Thu Oct 14, 2021 4:12 am
During my time as bell maker for Rath trombones I looked into this as part of my research in to vintage instruments.
Great info - really interesting stuff. Just out of curiosity, which years were you at Rath? Just wondering if my 845R might be one of yours.
Hi,
I left around 2005 which feels like a long time ago now.
The 845 was an attempt to replicate the best of the Elkhart 8H/88H bells, not sure if they make those anymore the metal at that thickness for the stem was a special order from the rolling mill .

BellEnd
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bellend
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Re: 88h bell thickness

Post by bellend » Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:46 am

hyperbolica wrote:
Thu Oct 14, 2021 8:27 am
bellend wrote:
Thu Oct 14, 2021 4:12 am
During my time as bell maker for Rath trombones ...
BellEnd
By the way, my favorite Rath bell is the nickel silver R3. Do you have any stories about that bell?
Not specifically, I pestered to start making Nickel bells having blown a few great Olds Operas in the past.
Nickel silver is a lot harder to work with than the other metals , it's not as pliable and work hardens much faster.

It's not for everyone but some people sound amazing on them like this guy 'Frosty' who was around the workshop a lot the time I was there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiENZNWVrbQ

BellEnd
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bellend
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Re: 88h bell thickness

Post by bellend » Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:46 am

MrHCinDE wrote:
Thu Oct 14, 2021 8:27 am
bellend wrote:
Thu Oct 14, 2021 4:12 am
During my time as bell maker for Rath trombones I looked into this as part of my research in to vintage instruments.



As a last thought I and others observed that the very best playing 8H/88H bells seem to ring to either a G or F# and I found by partially annealing the bell where the flare was joined to the stem I could get most bells close to that pitch.
I have an N-series 8H which I bought used from Rath trombones in 2018, it was probably a trade-in from someone who bought a nice new Rath.

It rings a little in the way you describe and in my opinion plays great. The ringing is a small quirk, perhaps a minor inconvenience but I wouldn’t want to deaden the horn in any way to reduce it. Don’t suppose you were there at that time and remember looking at such a horn?
Sorry, no I'd left many years before that.

BellEnd
hyperbolica
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Re: 88h bell thickness

Post by hyperbolica » Thu Oct 14, 2021 11:57 am

bellend wrote:
Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:46 am
Not specifically, I pestered to start making Nickel bells having blown a few great Olds Operas in the past.
Nickel silver is a lot harder to work with than the other metals , it's not as pliable and work hardens much faster.

It's not for everyone but some people sound amazing on them like this guy 'Frosty' who was around the workshop a lot the time I was there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiENZNWVrbQ

BellEnd
That's some playing. Who was it recently that was saying a bass bone can't play walking bass lines? The video was a little out of sync with the audio, so I just listened. Thanks for the link. It was followed by a couple of euph players last name of Childs - some pretty monster playing there too. Love these links.
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Re: 88h bell thickness

Post by MrHCinDE » Thu Oct 14, 2021 2:00 pm

hyperbolica wrote:
Thu Oct 14, 2021 11:57 am
That's some playing. Who was it recently that was saying a bass bone can't play walking bass lines? The video was a little out of sync with the audio, so I just listened. Thanks for the link. It was followed by a couple of euph players last name of Childs - some pretty monster playing there too. Love these links.
The reference to the Childs family made me laugh as a former British brass bander, it’s sort of equivalent to saying “I saw a video of a trombonist called Joe A, he’s pretty decent”

Equally I’m sure there are some top quality Polka/Böhmische tenorhornists who most brass musicians in the UK have not heard of or LA studio players whose names are completely foreign to those of us, myself included, outside of that world.

edit 15.10 - I'd missed the word not in the above
Last edited by MrHCinDE on Fri Oct 15, 2021 4:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Finetales
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Re: 88h bell thickness

Post by Finetales » Thu Oct 14, 2021 11:18 pm

MrHCinDE wrote:
Thu Oct 14, 2021 2:00 pm
The reference to the Childs family made me laugh as a former British brass bander, it’s sort of equivalent to saying “I saw a video of a trombonist called Joe A, he’s pretty decent”
Ha, same here. For my money David Childs is the best euphonium player on the planet, and who I try to emulate. I attended a recital he gave at ITEC one year and it was unbelievable.
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