Why No Silver Plate?

User avatar
BaritoneJack
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 3:41 pm

Why No Silver Plate?

Post by BaritoneJack » Thu Jul 26, 2018 4:20 pm

Question; is there a reason why most trombones are not silver plated? And why, in fact, many models aren't even offered with the option of silver plate? I'm puzzled by this, as every other brass instruument, from piccolo trumpet to Bb bass, can be had in silver plate - so why are trombones the exception?
User avatar
BGuttman
Posts: 663
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:19 am
Location: Cow Hampshire

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by BGuttman » Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:15 pm

You can get a trombone in silver plate if you want.

In fact, in some areas of the US silver plate is preferred. Especially for High School Marching Bands.

Trombones are generally quite brilliant and making it even more brilliant with a silver finish has proved to be a bad direction. Especially in Symphony Orchestras.

And since the conventional wisdom has gone to lacquer coating, silver just isn't bought much any more.

Back in the early part of the 20th Century silver plate was a very popular option for trombones. But the advent of a good lacquer spray gun in the early 1930s resulted in an exodus away from silver plated instruments.
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
User avatar
Matt K
Posts: 889
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:34 pm

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by Matt K » Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:35 pm

I think it's aesthetics to some degree. There was a time when I liked silver plate but I'm preferring the yellower/gold/red tints these days. Especially on bass bones. Not sure why that is but a piccolo or a trumpet looks quite nice, elegant even, in silver. Again, that's 200% subjective and probaly isn't universal but, there it is!
User avatar
JohnL
Posts: 200
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:01 am
Contact:

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by JohnL » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:02 pm

It's even rarer to find a French horn in silver plate. Nickel silver and yellow brass are the standards, with the occasional exotic material being used for bell flares.
User avatar
greenbean
Posts: 307
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 6:14 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by greenbean » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:18 pm

Let's face it: Silver trombones look goofy! :biggrin:
User avatar
BaritoneJack
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 3:41 pm

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by BaritoneJack » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:24 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:15 pm
You can get a trombone in silver plate if you want.
Yes, I know you can get them in silver plate; but what puzzles me is looking at British brass bands - typically, every instrument in the line-up is silver, except for trombones, which are almost invariably lacquered brass. And I can't think of any reason why that should be the case.
And since the conventional wisdom has gone to lacquer coating, silver just isn't bought much any more.
Sorry, Bruce - you've lost me, there; what conventional wisdom? It seems to me that the reason so few trombones are sold in silver is because most of them are not available in silver.
Back in the early part of the 20th Century silver plate was a very popular option for trombones. But the advent of a good lacquer spray gun in the early 1930s resulted in an exodus away from silver plated instruments.
Again, we come back to the same point; why did it cause that move away from silver-plated trombones, but not away from silver plated cornets, flugel horns, tenor horns, baritone horns, euphoniums and basses?
User avatar
BaritoneJack
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 3:41 pm

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by BaritoneJack » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:25 pm

greenbean wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:18 pm
Let's face it: Silver trombones look goofy! :biggrin:
Why? Why does another instrument - such as a cornet or euphonium - look fine in silver plate, but a silver plated trombone look 'goofy'? Or are you just trying to wind me up?
User avatar
BaritoneJack
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 3:41 pm

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by BaritoneJack » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:28 pm

JohnL wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:02 pm
It's even rarer to find a French horn in silver plate. Nickel silver and yellow brass are the standards, with the occasional exotic material being used for bell flares.
Yes, but according to what I've been told, french horns are only used in orchestral work - not in brass bands, so I can see that a silver-plated one might well be visually obtrusive in that setting.
User avatar
BGuttman
Posts: 663
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:19 am
Location: Cow Hampshire

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by BGuttman » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:52 pm

Sorry, Jack. You are sounding like my mother-in-law as she was beginning to settle into senility. She insisted that the world conform to what she wanted instead of being what it was.

If you really want a silver trombone, buy a silver trombone. But the rest of the world wants lacquer. And if you are competing, they probably want you to conform to the norm.

Why do brass bands use silver everything except trombones? Ask some adjudicator some time. They probably can give you a better answer than somebody who doesn't play in one. (And who has several silver plated trombones; all from the 1920s and earlier.)
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
User avatar
Zandit75
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:34 pm

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by Zandit75 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:32 pm

It probably comes down to the fundamentals of how troms are made. There is not another brass instrument that is built like it, and no other brass instrument operates the same way.

I may be wrong, but I would imagine that the standard trombone has the least resistance of any brass instrument, and this would be reflected in tone/sound.

The British style Brass Band that I play in originally had every single instrument in silver plate. Additionally, every Instrument was a Besson. This was more of a traditional thing, or maybe even based on the fact that we idolised the British bands, at at that time, they were all playing Bessons also(I'm talking late 80's, early 90's).

The original student troms I started playing on were gold lacquered Yammi's and I lusted after the silver Bb&F Bessons that the senior members of the band were playing on.
Put it this way, I would not trade in my Shires Bass for anything now. Everythig I have played since doesn't come anywhere near it for sound quality(to my ear at least)
mrdeacon
Posts: 180
Joined: Tue May 08, 2018 2:05 am
Location: Los Angeles, California

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by mrdeacon » Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:47 pm

Tradition is the only real reason. Silver plate fell out of vogue on the trombone around the 20s or 30s. That's about it.

I think a huge reason you don't see silver plate on trombones make a come back is because it costs extra!!! We trombone players are a rather cheap bunch :pant:

If you want to go crazy I recall there being a number of informative threads on this in the original tromboneforums which should be in the trombonechat archive.

If you want a silver plated bone though, go for it. But there really aren't any benefits to it over lacquer or raw brass these days.
Conn 88H 1980s, Elliott XT
Rath R1 2000s, Elliott XT
Minick Bass Trombone 1980s, Elliott MB
User avatar
ghmerrill
Posts: 248
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2018 4:41 pm
Location: Central North Carolina

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by ghmerrill » Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:51 pm

It is very close to universal in the euphonium world that if you are a professional player (or aspire to be one, or aspire to graduate school in euphonium), then you had better have a SILVER euphonium or risk being considered an uncultured and unskilled slug. (Full disclosure, my euphonia and primary tuba are lacquer -- since I detest caring for a silver finish. Also, I have no aspirations.)

Luckily, trombonists don't seem to have this attitude.
Gary Merrill
Wessex EEb Bass tuba
Mack Brass Compensating Euph
Amati Oval Euph
1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba
Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)
bimmerman
Posts: 53
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:15 pm
Location: Menlo Park

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by bimmerman » Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:54 pm

You can still buy silver plated horns-- Bach, among others, offer this. The lead player in the big band I play with has one.

Trombones also have a variety of sterling silver bell options (King, Conn, others) and elemental silver (Bach) that seem as common as silver plate itself. Why silver plate when you can get something cooler?

Another thing to think about is that a large fraction of slides are nickel silver in color, so why bother silver plating that if you're just going for aesthetic reasons?
User avatar
sirisobhakya
Posts: 70
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:04 pm
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Contact:

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by sirisobhakya » Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:11 pm

This is my wild guess, but I think maybe it has something to do with the point of contact. Come to think of it, trombone have an additional point of direct contact at the gooseneck-player’s neck, instead of only mostly at the valves. And to be honest, having a patch of tarnished bare brass exposed there looks awful.

Another reason, again a wild guess, is the trombone sound concept at least for orchestra leans toward “darker” tone, in contrary of other instruments of which the sound concept is more of personal preference. while tone of silver-plated horns is perceived as “brighter”, either because the lacquer really deadens the sound or only placebo from the visual effect of the silver.

The last, and maybe this is silly in my part, but I think trombones by its own looks quite bland, without all the valves and tubings of other horns. Having the two- (or three-) tone color helps make it looks more beautiful.
Chaichan Wiriyaswat
Alumni & Instructor - Kasetsart University Laboratory School Symphonic Band, Bangkok Thailand
mrdeacon
Posts: 180
Joined: Tue May 08, 2018 2:05 am
Location: Los Angeles, California

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by mrdeacon » Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:41 pm

sirisobhakya, I never though about the patch of wear on the gooseneck! That's a good point.

I totally agree that trombones in particular look better lacquered or raw brass. Why would you want to cover up a gold brass or red brass bell with silver plate?
Conn 88H 1980s, Elliott XT
Rath R1 2000s, Elliott XT
Minick Bass Trombone 1980s, Elliott MB
bimmerman
Posts: 53
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:15 pm
Location: Menlo Park

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by bimmerman » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:53 am

That's one reason I like how the Silversonics look-- I really dig the gold wash inside the bell with the silver bell. They have the gold lacquered crooks too...very visually interesting. The aesthetic touches don't do anything for the sound, but they do look cool.

Fun to play too! Been halfheartedly trying to find a place to do a similar bell gold wash on my sterling Bach.
shider
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:31 am
Location: Southern Germany

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by shider » Fri Jul 27, 2018 2:03 am

I would assume the general volume of instruments produced has gotten higher and most of that growth happened in the lower price category, i would believe thats the school-bought and "student"-lines of manufacturers. I don't believe a silver plating gets much cheaper with rising numbers. Galvanising (of large areas) is a relatively expensive process and can't be blown up as fast and cheaply as a "simple" laquering job. Because of that i think the manufacturing for a large amount of horns is simply better scaleable with laquer and the manufacturer profits from scale effects more. In addition the laquer today used might be completely different from the one used when most instruments where plated.

Also, someone mentioned they don't like taking care of the silver plate. Specifically for student-instruments i think the higher maintenance for the finish of the horn will be considered. Either by the school looking to buy or by parents looking for their kid. A laquered horn doesn't have to be maintained as much and one can "hide" spots where the laquer has worn of by polishing them (and they won't show as obviously from different colors), whereas with a silver plate over brass you see every worn off spot as a yellow brassy spot in the finish even from far away.
The fact that most horns today (even the expensive ones) are laquered in their standard configuration might aswell be due to the manufacturer being set up to do laquering but not for galvanising and have to outsource this step when someone orders it, therefore the hightened cost for the customer.

If anyone has information that i don't have i'm always eager to learn and get educated :biggrin:

Greetings,
shider
Pre59
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat May 12, 2018 2:51 am
Location: Devon UK

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by Pre59 » Fri Jul 27, 2018 2:17 am

Back in the day I worked in Europe with a couple of players who had Stomvi horns. I believe Silver plated tbn's are still used in parts of Spain.

https://stomvi.com/en/trombones

There's a couple of silver plates in here as well..

User avatar
JohnL
Posts: 200
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:01 am
Contact:

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by JohnL » Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:30 am

BaritoneJack wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:28 pm
Yes, but according to what I've been told, french horns are only used in orchestral work - not in brass bands, so I can see that a silver-plated one might well be visually obtrusive in that setting.
At a reasonable distance, a silver-plated brass horn would blend visually (maybe not acoustically) with nickel silver horns.
User avatar
LeTromboniste
Posts: 132
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:22 am
Location: Basel, Switzerland

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by LeTromboniste » Fri Jul 27, 2018 9:28 am

A few years back I was attending a one-month conducting workshop. The festival orchestra was all grad students and young professionals of very high level and sounded great on top of being a joy to work with. Somehow, they omitted inviting a second tenor trombone player and ended up asking me to step in last minute when they moved from a Beethoven 6 program to Dvorak and realized they were short one player, except I hadn't brought my horn with me.... They managed to borrow a horn from the college that was hosting the festival. I open the case and what is my surprise to find an entirely silver plated Bach 42. Convertible but it was in straight configuration. Got to play that horn for 2 weeks, and it was one of warmest sounding, most flexible and fun to play 42s I've ever tried. It was gorgeous looking, and it certainly was still very much 42-sounding and rather dark. It was definitely not too bright to blend with my colleagues. Were any of its qualities due only to the plating? I don't know and I doubt it, but the notion that a horn being sliver plated will make it sound so different you can't blend is kind of absurd and unique to the classical trombone world. How many times do we hear trumpet sections with a mix of different finishes, and that doesn't affect their ability to blend they all still sound like trumpets. Both a silver plated euphonium and a brass one still sound like a euphonium. Or how often do trombones have mixed finishes in a big band section? Can they still blend?.....

I think silver plate being out of fashion probably originally didn't have much to do with a preference in sound, and more to do with demand dropping for reasons that are outside the musical realm, and the option stopped being advertised (even though it always remains available) simply because there was no demand. But yeah, it's not coming back as long as people accept the ideas that a) silver plate will automatically make a horn much brighter and that b) any brightness in a trombone is bad and we need to dump any horn that doesn't give us a massive, fat wall of utter darkness.....
Maximilien Brisson
Bonearzt
Posts: 128
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:40 am
Location: My Dungeon of Hell....Actually Texas
Contact:

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by Bonearzt » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:44 am

Personally, I just don't like the look of silver plated large trombones! But funny that I dig the look of peashooter Kings & Conns! Especially satin finish with the gold burnished engraving!! And I LOVE the sterling bells.

Just not large tenors or basses. Don't know why & don't press for an explanation!


Eric
Eric Edwards
Professional Instrument Repair
972.795.5784

"If you must choose between two evils, choose the one you haven't tried yet."
"Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud." -Sophocles
Pre59
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat May 12, 2018 2:51 am
Location: Devon UK

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by Pre59 » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:10 am

There may have been quite a tonal difference between silver and lacquer finished horns in the days when the the lacquer was applied with a paint roller, like on my '80's 3B, but with modern application methods?
User avatar
BGuttman
Posts: 663
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:19 am
Location: Cow Hampshire

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by BGuttman » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:31 am

Pre59 wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:10 am
There may have been quite a tonal difference between silver and lacquer finished horns in the days when the the lacquer was applied with a paint roller, like on my '80's 3B, but with modern application methods?
Lacquer hasn't been applied with a paint roller for at least 80 years.
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
User avatar
BaritoneJack
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed May 30, 2018 3:41 pm

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by BaritoneJack » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:56 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:52 pm
Sorry, Jack. You are sounding like my mother-in-law as she was beginning to settle into senility. She insisted that the world conform to what she wanted instead of being what it was.
Well, Bruce, if your aim was to be downright offensive, you've succeeded.

I asked what I thought - and still think - was a perfectly polite and reasonable question. I wasn't "insisting that the world should conform to what I wanted"; just asking about something that puzzled me. And your response is to say that I reminded you of somebody sinking into senility.

You know what you sound like to me, Bruce? An arrogant, obnoxious idiot.
User avatar
FeelMyRath
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:55 am

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by FeelMyRath » Fri Jul 27, 2018 2:43 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:31 am
Pre59 wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:10 am
There may have been quite a tonal difference between silver and lacquer finished horns in the days when the the lacquer was applied with a paint roller, like on my '80's 3B, but with modern application methods?
Lacquer hasn't been applied with a paint roller for at least 80 years.
I think he was taking about a metaphorical paint roller, not an actual one.
Making the world better, one note at a time

Yorkshire, United Kingdom
mrpillow
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:19 am

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by mrpillow » Fri Jul 27, 2018 2:47 pm

Now now everybody, let's play nice or we won't get to play at all.

Silver-plated trombones went out of fashion far quicker in the US than in the UK. They were never really IN fashion in the Germanic regions that influenced symphonic trombone design in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The small US instruments and UK designs took much more of their influence from the French school of the mid-19th century, particularly the patterns of Courtois.

A pretty even split is seen in trombone finishes before 1930. Instruments coming from the narrow bore French school of design were finished in silver plating or nickel plating. Instruments from the Germanic and related schools were finished in raw brass with nickel-silver trim. Around 1930 is when American makers really split their instruments into two categories: large bore and small bore. The large bore and small bore respectively were amalgamations of the German and French traditions, and seemingly brought their preferences for finishes along with them.

What happened after that point I can't much say.
Organologique et plus!
Pre59
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat May 12, 2018 2:51 am
Location: Devon UK

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by Pre59 » Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:32 pm

FeelMyRath wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 2:43 pm
BGuttman wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:31 am
Pre59 wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:10 am
There may have been quite a tonal difference between silver and lacquer finished horns in the days when the the lacquer was applied with a paint roller, like on my '80's 3B, but with modern application methods?
Lacquer hasn't been applied with a paint roller for at least 80 years.
I think he was taking about a metaphorical paint roller, not an actual one.
This is true..
User avatar
BGuttman
Posts: 663
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:19 am
Location: Cow Hampshire

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by BGuttman » Fri Jul 27, 2018 5:23 pm

A 1980s King does not have thick lacquer. If you'd like to see thick lacquer, I have a turquoise trombone that looks pretty but plays lousy. That's thick lacquer.

Jack, the tone of your question struck me as insinuating that silver trombones should be the norm and why wasn't this so. I don't have an answer for this. Fact remains, trombones are more popular in lacquer over brass than in silver plate; at least since the advent of decent spray nozzles in the 1930s. If you took umbrage about my response please accept my apologies; I didn't intend to cast aspersions on you without proof.
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
User avatar
sirisobhakya
Posts: 70
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:04 pm
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Contact:

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by sirisobhakya » Fri Jul 27, 2018 6:14 pm

I think it more or less boils down to aesthetic and tradition at this point. Cornets and all other British brass band instrument have traditionally been silver-plated so they are still silver-plated. Trumpets is often silver-plated in orchestra to go with the cornet, maybe? And also the tradition of thinking silver-plated horns are brighter than lacquered horns.

Personally, I used to like silver-plated horn. My school has a silver-plated Bach 42C (other “high-level” horns are all lacquered) and I thought it was beautiful and unique. I eventually got to use it, but could not say it is brighter or not due to it having other contributing factors like leaky valve. Too bad my taste has changed a bit, and even if I had money for silver plating I would not order my first bass to be silver-plated. I still want a silver-plated tenorbass (I have seen some silver-plates 800-series Yamaha on Yahoo Auction Japan, but I don’t live there anymore and have no money right now :weep: ), solely because it looks unique.
Chaichan Wiriyaswat
Alumni & Instructor - Kasetsart University Laboratory School Symphonic Band, Bangkok Thailand
Pre59
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat May 12, 2018 2:51 am
Location: Devon UK

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by Pre59 » Sat Jul 28, 2018 2:43 am

BGuttman wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 5:23 pm
A 1980s King does not have thick lacquer. If you'd like to see thick lacquer, I have a turquoise trombone that looks pretty but plays lousy. That's thick lacquer.

Mine does, where the lacquer has worn away around the neck pipe, it's possible to see the thickness. As opposed to my Rath where the lacquer lasted about 2 months in the same area, and had a smooth transition.

Have any opinion by all means, but please don't deny my lived experience.
BflatBass
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:44 pm
Location: CA Central Valley

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by BflatBass » Sat Jul 28, 2018 12:46 pm

BaritoneJack wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 4:20 pm
Question; is there a reason why most trombones are not silver plated? And why, in fact, many models aren't even offered with the option of silver plate? I'm puzzled by this, as every other brass instruument, from piccolo trumpet to Bb bass, can be had in silver plate - so why are trombones the exception?
Thanks for asking this question Jack. I see the same thing. I play primarily in community bands so I'm not exposed to the more professional end of the spectrum of horn players but still, I don't see any all silver trombones. An occasional Silver Sonic but that's it. And lots of all silver trumpets, tubas and baritones.
Like some others have stated, it seems like it just boils down to popularity. Maybe in a few years that will change? Who knows.

Cheers,
Robert
King 3B (mid 70's version)
King Duo Gravis Silver Sonic
St. Petersburg 202L

...and now back to your normally scheduled programming.
User avatar
dukesboneman
Posts: 83
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2018 4:40 pm
Location: Sarasota, Florida
Contact:

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by dukesboneman » Sat Jul 28, 2018 8:23 pm

I`ve had several silver plated horns over the years. I just sold a silver Getzen Canadian Brass model.
My all time favorite and I`m so sorry that I Had to sell it, 1928 Satin Silver Conn 78H.
One of the Best playing .522 horns I ever played
mrdeacon
Posts: 180
Joined: Tue May 08, 2018 2:05 am
Location: Los Angeles, California

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by mrdeacon » Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:24 am

I would like to point out that the comment by OP about tubas being silver-plated which isn't always true.

Depends if the tuba is American, German or British. American and German tubas are almost never silver plated. While almost all Bessons are plated.

Around LA everyone is playing some sort of either Mirafone 185, 186, and a smattering of 5/4 CC stuff or York Style 6/4 something. The Mirafones are never silver-plated, and the larger 5/4 and 6/4 American York style stuff seems to be a 50 50 shot on whether it's played or not. Yamaha and Eastman seem to like to plate things while Kanstul and many German manufacturers aren't as keen on doing it.

Bessons on the other hand are all almost always plated but in the American and German orchestral scene you are almost never going to see a Besson.
Conn 88H 1980s, Elliott XT
Rath R1 2000s, Elliott XT
Minick Bass Trombone 1980s, Elliott MB
User avatar
greenbean
Posts: 307
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 6:14 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by greenbean » Sun Jul 29, 2018 2:36 pm

BaritoneJack wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:25 pm
Why? Why does another instrument - such as a cornet or euphonium - look fine in silver plate, but a silver plated trombone look 'goofy'? Or are you just trying to wind me up?
Why would I want to wind you up?...

Just my opinion.
Basbasun
Posts: 54
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:03 am

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by Basbasun » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:26 am

Pre59 wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 2:17 am
Back in the day I worked in Europe with a couple of players who had Stomvi horns. I believe Silver plated tbn's are still used in parts of Spain.

https://stomvi.com/en/trombones

There's a couple of silver plates in here as well..

Nice clip! Good band! The silver trombones look realy nice too.
My first trombone that I owned was a silver plated one. It belongs to one of my brothers now, or his dougthter.
Of some mysterious reason silverplated trombones went out of fashion, strange because that did not happend to all other brasses (except french horns). The sound? It has absolutely nothing to do with sound. Just fashion. I see that so far no one could explain why it is so.
User avatar
BGuttman
Posts: 663
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:19 am
Location: Cow Hampshire

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by BGuttman » Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:18 am

Of course we can't explain why silver plate isn't popular, which is what I tried to say (ineptly) to the original poster.

There are pockets where silver plated trombones are popular, but it seems that lacquered (or even unlacquered) predominates.
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
Chiptingle
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:28 pm

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by Chiptingle » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:40 pm

Luis Bonilla!!!
DutchGuy
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2018 2:32 pm
Location: Netherlands

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by DutchGuy » Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:18 am

You are right about nearly every trombone being lacquered. I feel that in the Netherlands, there are quite a few silver plated ones though. In all bands I play in, at least 1 person has a silver plated trombone. I see quite a few on the Dutch second hand market as well. I'd say that right now about 1 out of every 6 second-hand trombones in the Netherlands is silver plated.

It's really strange though. Saxophones, french Horns and trombones are mostly lacquered, whereas trumpets, euphoniums and tuba's are mostly silver plated. There is no specific difference between the two groups. Tubas are large, trumpets are small, but both are mostly silver plated. Saxophones also exist in many sizes yet nearly all are lacquer. Trombones are simple, french horns are complex, yet both are mostly laquered...

Some people suggest that they sound differently, but I don't think that anyone can really hear that difference. Whatever difference exists between two instruments is just the difference between those instruments. It would be there if they were the same finish as well.

I guess it's just whatever everyone is used to. As long manufactures keep offering lacquer as the standard option, and pro's and community bands keep purchasing the standard option, that's what everyone is playing.
User avatar
ghmerrill
Posts: 248
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2018 4:41 pm
Location: Central North Carolina

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by ghmerrill » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:27 am

DutchGuy wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:18 am
Some people suggest that they sound differently, but I don't think that anyone can really hear that difference. Whatever difference exists between two instruments is just the difference between those instruments. It would be there if they were the same finish as well.
You will get a HUGE argument about this view from the euphonium community, where I don't think you'll find anyone who believes there isn't a significant difference in sound across different bell materials and finishes. Several euphonium manufacturers allow you to pick your choice from an array of bell materials, and in general the silver or silver plate ones are favored -- for the sound. It seems to be partly a matter of the material and resulting sound itself, but also a matter of how thin the bell can be made with the different materials. There is a general belief (that I think cannot be dismissed as subjective) that the silver plating or silver alloys produce a more vibrant sound than lacquer does. Compare this to how trombonists feel about different materials for lead pipes. :shock:

I suspect that one reason there are so many silver-plated euphoniums is because of the desire to have a silver or silver-plated bell section (and then have the rest of the instrument match).

Regarding trumpets, one factor there is simply their size -- and the related economics. It just doesn't cost all that much to plate a trumpet!!

Concerning tubas, I don't know. There is a long history (particularly in the US and the UK) of silver-plated tubas going back well into the 19th century. My 1924 Buescher has an amazingly thick silver plating on it. Not so much a common feature of German horns, it seems to me. But tubas, like euphoniums are full conical bore (except through the valve section), and the bell material may simply make a bigger difference for those instruments.

Also, keep in mind that modern lacquers are an ENORMOUS improvement over those used in years past -- and some of this has been relatively recent. So for a long time, if you wanted a finish that would stand the test of time, it had to be silver. That's not true any longer.
Gary Merrill
Wessex EEb Bass tuba
Mack Brass Compensating Euph
Amati Oval Euph
1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba
Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)
2bobone
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by 2bobone » Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:26 am

Does anyone else remember when it was a simple matter to have a mouthpiece silver-plated ? It seemed that there were a number of choices within every town of any size where plating could be contracted for anything from a tea pot to a tuba. Even my instrument repairman had a few vats of caustic chemicals in the corner of his shop where he'd pop your mouthpiece for a quick refresh while he undid the latest damage to your "ax". Then, one day I asked for a re-plate job and was refused ---- the reason being that new environmental laws had been enacted and it was necessary to be licensed [i.e. -- expensive !] to maintain a plating business. The toxic fumes that had been emanating from these facilities were no longer going to be tolerated without proper care and handling. While the spraying of lacquer is almost akin to an automotive body shop where any overspray is handled with fans and filters, the product of plating requires more stringent control. I'm thinking that silver plating became such a nuisance to achieve that instrument manufacturers simply took the path of least resistance and used lacquer instead. I wonder if those manufacturers who still plate instruments do it "in house" or send the parts out to a specialty plater ? Anybody know ? Anyway ---- that is my theory and I am unanimous in it ! [ credit : Mrs. Slocum in "Are You Being Served" ?] Incidentally, I recently inquired about the difference in price of a Jinbao bass trombone in lacquer or plated with nickle. Only $45 !! That's the difference in the policies of a country with lousy environmental laws ! They are starting to wake up ----------- too late ?
User avatar
BGuttman
Posts: 663
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:19 am
Location: Cow Hampshire

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by BGuttman » Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:07 pm

Solver is plated from a cyanide solution. Nickel is plated from a different salt (several are used).

The gas from a plating operation is generally hydrogen and oxygen. Some of the baths have fumes that need to be controlled, although cyanide is a special case. Same goes for rinse waters.

Note that chrome plating is even worse. The chromium salt used in plating is severely regulated and any discharge can get a big fine.

There are a couple of large plating shops that will plate musical instruments. Many makers use Anderson Plating. For a mouthpiece you may be able to set up a small plater in a corner of the shop, but it's not really worth it.
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
User avatar
ghmerrill
Posts: 248
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2018 4:41 pm
Location: Central North Carolina

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by ghmerrill » Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:29 pm

I'm pretty sure that almost everyone sends stuff to Anderson. However, I also think (THINK) that mouthpieces I've had worked on by Kanstul were replated in their shop. It's easy to understand why it's not economically feasible to get all the equipment, set up the work environment, and get all the permits and approvals (fire department, etc.) unless you do a substantial volume of work. For similar reasons (though the resulting situation is actually worse in terms of availability), it's virtually impossible to buy black powder locally. The regulations (and insurance requirements) are just so severe that only someone running a pretty high volume operation to a large national demographic can make it work (and even then, a high hazmat fee is charged for each order, which in turn is limited to 50 lbs.).
Gary Merrill
Wessex EEb Bass tuba
Mack Brass Compensating Euph
Amati Oval Euph
1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba
Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)
User avatar
JohnL
Posts: 200
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:01 am
Contact:

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by JohnL » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:26 pm

ghmerrill wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:29 pm
However, I also think (THINK) that mouthpieces I've had worked on by Kanstul were replated in their shop.
When I went through the factory a few years ago, Kanstul had a silver plating facility on the premises. Makes sense for them, since a lot of the the marching bugles they build are ordered in silver plate and Elkhart (i.e., Anderson) is a long way off.
bellend
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:08 am

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by bellend » Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:24 am

I'm pretty sure it's just a fashion thing pure and simple.

The current horn I play is pretty had to find and I ended up with a silver plated one which would not have been my personal choice but over time I've come to really like it. I have since got hold of a lacquered example and I wouldn't say the silver one is any brighter, if anything it's a bit darker sounding.
Funny how T.D. played gold plated horns and knowbody questions that??? it's just a colour thing.

A fiend who worked at Besson said it may have been built for export to a country with a very hot and or humid climate as they did not export lacquered horn to these places as it tended to drop off.

FWIW

BellEnd
User avatar
JohnL
Posts: 200
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:01 am
Contact:

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by JohnL » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:04 am

bellend wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:24 am
A fiend who worked at Besson
I always thought Besson horns were a little fiendish.
whitbey
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:44 am
Location: Rochester Michigan North of Detroit.
Contact:

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by whitbey » Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:33 am

Many do listen with there eyes. I get a lot of odd comments from my sterling silver Edwards as if it was silver plate. I do not polish it very often so many times it does not appear to be silver.
My trumpet friends say silver plate, gold plate and no lacquer are more responsive. Some say that lets them get brighter. Others say more responsive gives them more color to the sound.
My brass Edwards is more responsive without lacquer. Christian at Edwards had a horn of his gold plated so he could not have lacquer and still have a nice look. Canadian Brass use gold plate for the look without lacquer.
So despite how nice silver looks, some really do look at silver as something wrong.
User avatar
BrassedOn
Posts: 56
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:06 am

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by BrassedOn » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:58 pm

mrdeacon wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:47 pm
If you want a silver plated bone though, go for it. But there really aren't any benefits to it over lacquer or raw brass these days.
That's it Mr Deacon.

If there were an aesthetic trend, it would ultimately reverse, such as the weird silver Bach 42 trend I saw in the 1990s. Uggh. Having grown up in the trombone culture, it just looks wrong. And could have helped Edward's on it's takeover of the market.

The marching band thing, is what it is. A row of silver sousa just looks cool. And the military connection for uniformity. Maybe someone could argue that the silver protects from sweat, but so does wiping down your horn often, cleaning it weekly during the marching season, washing your hands frequently, and not drinking gatorade or sprite during practice, but I don't see those happening. My silver horns played outdoors a lot, will pit.

I think military bands (which rule the world for euphs), silver is ubiquitous. That trend is not going anywhere. Just try selling a lacquer Willson 2900, if you could even find one. Adams euph is trying to stir the pot with brushed brass lacquer and such. Wessex is trying to get people on board for gold plated button and valve caps. I think if you won a military audition on a brushed brass lacquer Adams or a blinged out euph, you'd be buying a silver plate version for the job. Same as if you won the audition on a front action; you'd just have to switch to top action equipment regardless of how it sounded. Marching and military are in part visual media.

As far as euphs and tubas, I've owned silver and lacquer for both. My favorite euph was a lacquer Miraphone and my favorite tuba is King satin silver. When I play tested tubas, my pal preferred the sound of the lacquer on the same model (and all of his tubas were lacquer). I did not hear a difference in the playback, but the silver happened to be more open on notes I care about. I think manufacture, not finish. I have heard a difference in silver plate, silver, and lacquer 3Bs, and prefer a SilverSonic.

My orchestra tuba pals routinely rotate in horns of all finishes from heavily tarnished raw brass to highly polished silver plate. Granted, it is usually a "solo" player for the whole tuba section, but, I don't think any comment come the tubists way unless the lighting tech reflects light of the bell into the conductor's eyes.

Maybe because trombones can have as few as 1 moving part, as a group we trend toward utility. Not because we're dim or thrifty, but because it just works for most of us. Our first reaction as young learners was when we finally had a horn with a great slide. A mechanical advantage that made us play and sound better.

If more brilliant tones were in vogue, which I think we'd agree is not on the horizon, (insert your trombone hero) would buy a silver horn and the next generation of college students might make the plunge. But with the modular trombone options out their, and demonstrable effects of composition of brass in tuning slides, bells, leadpipes etc., any trend would be loudly overridden, as the current options have made a clear distinction for a lot of players.
"Do less, better."
1973 King 3B Silver Sonic
1987 Bach 42BO
1994ish Getzen Eterna 1062 Dave Taylor (stacked)
norbie2018
Posts: 89
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2018 6:10 am

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by norbie2018 » Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:22 pm

I was under the impression that silver does not cause a more brilliant sound, rather it was like having raw brass without the raw brass upkeep. And raw brass, according to Edwards, provided a wider sound.
mrdeacon
Posts: 180
Joined: Tue May 08, 2018 2:05 am
Location: Los Angeles, California

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by mrdeacon » Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:59 pm

norbie2018 wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:22 pm
I was under the impression that silver does not cause a more brilliant sound, rather it was like having raw brass without the raw brass upkeep. And raw brass, according to Edwards, provided a wider sound.
The irony is many players consider the upkeep for silver plate to be worse than that of raw brass. Raw brass is pretty easy to polish up and make look nice while silver plate is a pain in the %*& to polish up when you let it go for too long.

Raw brass looks pretty good when you let the patina get really dark while silver plate looks pretty nasty when it tarnishes a lot.

As you can tell from my tone I'm biased towards one side so maybe I'm not the best person to ask but that's my opinion on it!
Conn 88H 1980s, Elliott XT
Rath R1 2000s, Elliott XT
Minick Bass Trombone 1980s, Elliott MB
2bobone
Posts: 42
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:10 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Why No Silver Plate?

Post by 2bobone » Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:34 pm

Silver ? Brass ?? Gold ??? Everybody get ready ---- here comes Carbon Fibre !!
Post Reply

Return to “Maintenance”