What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

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TromboneForTwo
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What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by TromboneForTwo » Thu Dec 17, 2020 8:41 pm

Hello! Forgive me if this has been asked, the search function is not too optimal... but what are the general characteristics of a silver plated instrument? I have a silver plated bass but I do not have a normal brass bass to compare it to and vice versa for tenor. Is there supposed to be a huge difference in playing characteristics?
hyperbolica
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by hyperbolica » Thu Dec 17, 2020 8:56 pm

Tonally, very little difference from the underlying horn. Sometimes there is lacquer over the plate, and sometimes not. Lacquer can have a bigger effect than plating, but it's still minimal.
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Burgerbob
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by Burgerbob » Thu Dec 17, 2020 9:03 pm

IMO, nothing different than how it was in raw brass. Silver plate is very thin.

Many people like to listen with their eyes and say silver plate is "brighter."
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by BGuttman » Thu Dec 17, 2020 9:10 pm

Burgerbob wrote:
Thu Dec 17, 2020 9:03 pm
IMO, nothing different than how it was in raw brass. Silver plate is very thin.

Many people like to listen with their eyes and say silver plate is "brighter."
Unlacquered silver plate is brighter than lacquered brass, and sounds pretty close to raw brass.
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by harrisonreed » Thu Dec 17, 2020 9:32 pm

Works great for alto
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Burgerbob
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by Burgerbob » Thu Dec 17, 2020 9:57 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Thu Dec 17, 2020 9:10 pm
Burgerbob wrote:
Thu Dec 17, 2020 9:03 pm
IMO, nothing different than how it was in raw brass. Silver plate is very thin.

Many people like to listen with their eyes and say silver plate is "brighter."
Unlacquered silver plate is brighter than lacquered brass, and sounds pretty close to raw brass.
I wouldn't even agree to that. "bright" and "dark" are silly ways to characterize the TINY changes in response and sound we get with raw brass, micron-thick layers of silver plate (or gold plate), or slightly thicker lacquer.
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by BurckhardtS » Thu Dec 17, 2020 10:04 pm

I've always thought they've sounded fairly dull except for when you push it really loud, then it can break up and get out of control real quick.

Unrelated note, I love silver plate for marching band
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by harrisonreed » Thu Dec 17, 2020 10:22 pm

In trumpet world it is a huge deal
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by greenbean » Thu Dec 17, 2020 10:40 pm

"Covered with tarnish" is one of their characteristics... :good:
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by Vegasbound » Fri Dec 18, 2020 2:27 am

Shiny when polished
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by PhilE » Fri Dec 18, 2020 2:56 am

I have a silver plated Corp era 42 which isn't bright sounding.
It's a solid warm sound for which I've had a few compliments.
Just not bright.
Looks great when polished.
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by harrisonreed » Fri Dec 18, 2020 6:41 am

No but silver is brighter than yellow brass, which is brighter than gold and red.

Is it not based on the color?
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by Bach42t » Fri Dec 18, 2020 6:42 am

Perhaps career suicide to dawn a silver-plated trombone in certain performance settings, especially orchestras and most indoor performance in the US. It also sends off signals of a rebellious spirit. May not be good for one’s social life, and may cause psychological damage to young players who aren’t aware, but who cares. There may be nothing as beautiful and stunning as a polished pristine silver-plated trombone, especially a Bach 42BO. It just looks good.
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by spencercarran » Fri Dec 18, 2020 9:50 am

They're shiny.

Otherwise, not sure I believe there's much (audible) difference based on finish of any sort.

Kinda curious why silver plate is such a rarity in the trombone world but quite common for trumpets and euphs. Purely fashion?
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by marccromme » Fri Dec 18, 2020 10:29 am

Very bright and shiny when polished. The look ... And easier to make solder repairs, if not laquered on top. Does not get rotten by acid spill from cleaning the interior tubing. All together nice things ...
modelerdc
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by modelerdc » Fri Dec 18, 2020 12:04 pm

This is just completely subjective, but I've always like the way silver plated Conns and Holton's play, but have never found it to improve Bachs or Kings! Perhaps the added mass of the silver (and gold plating if present) makes the tone of the Conns and Kings more substantial, and isn't needed on the Bachs and Kings. Would this observation hold up under blind testing? I dunno?
TromboneForTwo
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by TromboneForTwo » Fri Dec 18, 2020 12:54 pm

Bach42t wrote:
Fri Dec 18, 2020 6:42 am
Perhaps career suicide to dawn a silver-plated trombone in certain performance settings, especially orchestras and most indoor performance in the US. It also sends off signals of a rebellious spirit. May not be good for one’s social life, and may cause psychological damage to young players who aren’t aware, but who cares. There may be nothing as beautiful and stunning as a polished pristine silver-plated trombone, especially a Bach 42BO. It just looks good.
Thankfully I don't play in orchestras or in concert halls :twisted: :twisted:
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by Doubler » Fri Dec 18, 2020 6:40 pm

I'd like to see a waveform representation capable of showing a comparison of the effect of various finishes on brass instruments. Such a study would have to exclude the human factor so that activating the standing wave would be unwaveringly reproducible while replicating/duplicating actual human input. I'm not aware of the existence of such a study.

Here are some sources of information on the subject of sound as it relates to musical instruments:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLQnrnhMBE4

http://forums.chisham.com/viewtopic.php?t=75318

https://www.trumpetherald.com/forum/vie ... %20lacquer.

http://kellerphysics.com/acoustics/Lapp.pdf

https://www.compadre.org/osp/EJSS/4487/272.htm
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Posaunus
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by Posaunus » Fri Dec 18, 2020 7:08 pm

My guess is that the influence of a thin coating of lacquer or silver plate has a secondary audible effect, magnified greatly by the appearance. Who doesn't like the look of a shiny silver bell, or a polished or artistically buffed raw brass bell? A feast for the eyes! :idk:
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by walldaja » Sat Dec 19, 2020 5:19 am

When I played in Salvation Army bands in the 60s all instruments were expected to be silver. That made my horn an exception in high school. Never noticed any tonal difference, it was simply a visual thing. It is interesting how the trumpet section gravitated to silver horns.

During COVID I put my silver trumpet away because when I left it on the stand it got dingy quickly. I polished it up a retired it to its case and played my lacquered cornet. Recently I got a 59 year old lacquered trumpet to leave on the stand.

Wish my main trumpet and flug were not silver because they take a lot more work to stay nice.

I've grown to appreciate lacquer over brass simply for ease of maintenance. I can hear no difference in my trumpets.
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by whitbey » Sat Dec 19, 2020 5:49 am

I have a sterling silver bell 547 Edwards. I tend to only polish it once or twice a year after a season. Fewer people notice it with a light tarnish going on.
I use the sterling bell in the orchestra for softer pieces that do not need an edge to the hits. At one of the rehearsals, a trumpet player sitting in front of me asked about the horn because he liked the sound. He did not see the silver before he asked.
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by hornbuilder » Sat Dec 19, 2020 9:34 am

The combination of individual components that make the underlying instrument have MUCH more of an influence on how the horn plays than the finish applied, or lack there-of. A great horn will still be great if it is bare, lacquered or silver played, and a dud will still be a dud.

Whitbey we're talking silver plate here, not solid silver. That is a whole 'nother thing altogether!!
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by Posaunus » Sat Dec 19, 2020 9:37 am

hornbuilder wrote:
Sat Dec 19, 2020 9:34 am
The combination of individual components that make the underlying instrument have MUCH more of an influence on how the horn plays than the finish applied, or lack there-of. A great horn will still be great if it is bare, lacquered or silver played, and a dud will still be a dud.

:good:

Whitbey we're talking silver plate here, not solid silver. That is a whole 'nother thing altogether!!

:good:
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by modelerdc » Sat Dec 19, 2020 11:27 pm

It occurred to me that that in comparing silver or gold plated horns with others, was that most plated horns are not lacquered, and the lacquer may make more difference than the plating. And i believe that lacquer has been demonstrated to have some audible effect, though the degree may be often exaggerated.
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by modelerdc » Sat Dec 19, 2020 11:30 pm

While we are on this subject, what about the Conn 48H, so similar to the 6H and yet so different. The 48H is both plated, in nickel plate, and lacquered. has anyone ever stripped the lacquer on one and noticed any effect? anyone ever stripped the Nickel plate? Asking becuase I have an Elkhart 6H and and Elkhart 48H, and theirs a lot I like about the 48H, but the sound seems less warm than the the 6H.
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by Posaunus » Sat Dec 19, 2020 11:40 pm

modelerdc wrote:
Sat Dec 19, 2020 11:30 pm
While we are on this subject, what about the Conn 48H, so similar to the 6H and yet so different. The 48H is both plated, in nickel plate, and lacquered. has anyone ever stripped the lacquer on one and noticed any effect? anyone ever stripped the Nickel plate? Asking becuase I have an Elkhart 6H and and Elkhart 48H, and theirs a lot I like about the 48H, but the sound seems less warm than the the 6H.
I believe that the 48H bell (yellow brass, perhaps copper plated, certainly nickel-plated, then lacquered) is thicker and heavier than the 6H (yellow brass, lacquered) bell. I expect that the double (or triple) plating is more responsible for the difference than lacquer.
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by BGuttman » Sun Dec 20, 2020 1:00 am

Jus to put a little science to this:

1. The effect of lacquer is quite subtle, Many can't tell the difference. You have to be pretty attuned to the sound to hear its effect.

2. Lacquer coatings are on the order of 1 mil (0.001", 25 microns). A thicker coating will certainly dull the sound. Silver plating is typically 50 to 100 microinches, about 1/20 to 1/10 the thickness. Gold plate usually goes over silver as a barrier layer and is often 5 to 10 microinches (less than a micron).
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by Basbasun » Sun Dec 20, 2020 3:18 am

Well there are differences that you can hear, right? But if play and listen in a dark room there is no difference at all. Go figure.
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Re: What are the characteristics of a silver plated horn?

Post by GabrielRice » Sun Dec 20, 2020 6:48 am

Bach42t wrote:
Fri Dec 18, 2020 6:42 am
Perhaps career suicide to dawn a silver-plated trombone in certain performance settings, especially orchestras and most indoor performance in the US.
I'm not sure whether or not you're joking.

I've been a professional trombone player in the US for almost 30 years, and I have never for a minute cared what a colleague's instrument looks like; only if they make sounds that I like and can blend with. That means in time, in tune, in balance, and with a tone color/dynamic curve that is appropriate to the ensemble and repertoire.
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