Sterling Silver Bells

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StevenHolloway
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Sterling Silver Bells

Post by StevenHolloway » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:37 pm

Any thoughts on how sterling silver bells play? Sound/response/feel, ect... I have been thinking about ordering one for my horn. Thanks.
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Burgerbob
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by Burgerbob » Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:07 pm

Sterling bells aren't all the same... They're made vastly differently depending on the manufacture. What's yours?
harrisonreed
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by harrisonreed » Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:34 am

I like my 3BF that has one!
StevenHolloway
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by StevenHolloway » Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:49 am

I was thinking about special ordering one for my Shires. I have never tried one, but based on what I've heard people say about them and people I've heard play them it seems like something I'd like. Not sure if it's worth the $1,000 upcharge though.
LIBrassCo
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by LIBrassCo » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:13 am

I've been on a sterling bell kick myself lately. From what I gather, theres a big difference between different brands. Bach sterling bells for example, are made in an entirely different process, and as a result play different than say king sterling bells.

Down the road im curious to try some sort of hybrid bell, maybe a sterling stem with a gold brass flair.
timothy42b
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by timothy42b » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:37 am

I love the way they look.

Don't love how much effort goes into polish.

I do not believe there is a difference in sound.
JohntheTheologian
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by JohntheTheologian » Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:00 am

Most of the King SS bells my friends have had have a coat of lacquer over the SS bell. I'm not sure if other brands do.
LIBrassCo
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by LIBrassCo » Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:12 am

Usually they are lacquered, yes
mrdeacon
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by mrdeacon » Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:21 am

There sure is a difference in weight!

If you've ever picked up one of the sterling silver Conn 88h horns they weigh a flipping ton. I think the King horns seem to be better designed with the sterling bells, the Conns and Bach are less so, much more of an afterthought with the later.
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JohnL
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by JohnL » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:02 am

LIBrassCo wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:13 am
Bach sterling bells for example, are made in an entirely different process, and as a result play different than say king sterling bells.
Not only are they a different process, they're a different material. Sterling Plus bells aren't sterling - they're 99.9% pure silver.
castrubone
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by castrubone » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:50 am

I only have experience with sterling silver bells on Conn's, but I can say I don't find them to be significantly heavier than regular bells. I haven't weighed it on a scale, but I feel almost no difference in my hands. Unless you have the Lindberg valve, it will still be lighter than almost any Shires or Bach setup. Although the weight difference is negligible, the difference in response and tone is very substantial.

Personally I think silver is less common on Shires/Edwards horns because they're so expensive to begin with. A brand new Conn or King in silver will still be at least a thousand dollars less than a non-silver Edwards/Shires.
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Burgerbob
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by Burgerbob » Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:44 am

There is a pretty massive sound difference, both behind and in front of the bell.
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ExZacLee
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by ExZacLee » Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:02 pm

For a while I did all of my playing on a 2B and 3BF with sterling bells. They were definitely heavier than their yellow belled counterparts. At the time my playing was mostly big band, small group, funk, salsa and cabarets/musicals. The amount of playing done in these genres is a big reason why lighter equipment is often preferred. On an orchestral gig I would use a heavier horn - not only for sound and stylistic requirements but also because the amount of face time is much less, so muscle fatigue would be less of a factor. No ridiculous 4 hour salsa face.

I replaced the sterling belled horns with yellow bells and bought shires setups as well - which were lighter, you can't pigeonhole a custom setup as being heavy or light - it is going to be the way you set it up. The small bore I had was very light. The large bore was a little heavier because of what I needed it for, but the slide was still LW.

Sound wise, the king sterling bells have a pretty thick, even sound that doesn't color up as much in the higher dynamic range, doesn't break up - which definitely has it's uses, but I missed the the sizzle from pushing the lighter horn.

The weight difference may not be noticeable just picking up the horn. You will notice on that 3rd or 4th set.

Other makers (like Bach, for example) created different bells - Bachs "Sterling Plus" bell is pretty much pure silver, so not technically "sterling." It's electroformed, which means that silver is deposited on a spinning mandrel (I think) - which results in a much thinner, lighter and therefor "brighter" sounding bell. These horns are not heavy like the thicker king sterling bell horns, which are made the traditional way.

I played a conn sterling 88h that was remarkably well balanced and didn't feel heavy - but I'm not sure if that was due to the balance or due to the bell being a sterling plus vs. sterling - I assume it was regular sterling. This was in a wind ensemble (no 4 set face smasher) so I didn't really get to see what kind of effect it would have had on my shoulder.
Last edited by ExZacLee on Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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FEWeathers
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by FEWeathers » Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:02 pm

This might be a helpful graphic...

https://images.app.goo.gl/68WBnDmTnax1JqRe9
bigbandbone
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by bigbandbone » Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:07 pm

I had a 3B Silver Sonic in the early 70's. I found when playing in a heavily air conditioned venue the bell would get really cold in just an 8 bar rest and the horn would go sharp. Then after playing a little the bell would start to warm up again and the horn would come back down in pitch. I got tired of always having to adjust and had it taken off and replaced with a yellow brass bell.
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by whitbey » Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:50 am

I have an Edwards sterling silver bell. I love it. Rich complex sound.
Seems you cannot overblow the horn. Never gets an edge.
Downside. Directors want to hear the edge in the articulations so a brass bell is needed for orchestra and band.
I use my sterling bell for practice, solo, quintet, and mellow syph stuff.
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ssking2b
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by ssking2b » Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:42 am

Just to disabuse you of one notion: Bach, Selmer, and Conn NEVER made sterling silver bells until King became a part of the equation at Conn-Selmer. The Sterling bells made for all those brands are created using the methods developed by King. They may vary the weight of the bells, but you're playing King bells on the 88H, etc.
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BGuttman
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by BGuttman » Sat Jun 15, 2019 10:19 am

Conn and Bach still don't make Sterling bells (which must be made from sheet metal). Conn and Bach use electroformed (plated hick) silver, probably using the mandrels from the Coprion (electroformed copper) process.
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ExZacLee
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by ExZacLee » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:16 am

ssking2b wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:42 am
Just to disabuse you of one notion: Bach, Selmer, and Conn NEVER made sterling silver bells until King became a part of the equation at Conn-Selmer. The Sterling bells made for all those brands are created using the methods developed by King. They may vary the weight of the bells, but you're playing King bells on the 88H, etc.
I don't know who's notion you are disabusing. No one suggested Conn and Bach were making sterling bells in 40's, however to suggest King was the only one making sterling bells is a bit misinformed - plenty of other horn makers experimented at one time or another with sterling bells - spend some time in the second hand market for vintage horns and you'll see more than a few.

But I should disabuse you of one particular notion: Bach made a sterling plus bell, which I mentioned in my post - that had nothing to do with King. I first played on one in high school in the early 90's - long before the Conn Selmer merger and King being brought into the fold. Pretty sure they came out with that option if '92.

Bruce, I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure the Conn sterling bell is made the same way as the king bell, but probably on a different mandrel - pretty sure the profile on a sterling 88h bell and a King 4B silver sonic are very different (again, I could be wrong about the different mandrel). The Conn sterling package is the same as the King package, was started after the merger, and has the same model modifier in the name - SGX - that King was using with later productions of solid sterling belles done on mandrels like traditional bells, i.e., not electroformed.
castrubone
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by castrubone » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:05 pm

The Conn bells are sterling silver. They stamp a special "Sterling Silver" engraving on every bell. King and Conn merged under UMI in the 90's before being overtaken by Selmer. The similarities in SGX treatments between the two probably resulted from that.
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by mrdeacon » Sun Jun 16, 2019 1:50 am

ssking2b wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:42 am
Just to disabuse you of one notion: Bach, Selmer, and Conn NEVER made sterling silver bells until King became a part of the equation at Conn-Selmer. The Sterling bells made for all those brands are created using the methods developed by King. They may vary the weight of the bells, but you're playing King bells on the 88H, etc.
Yeah man sorry, you're wrong on like every point there.

As others have mentioned Bach made bells before the merger and via a different method.

While Conn didn't make them till C.L designed the 88HSGX.... there isn't really any direct correlation to C.L designing the horn and the King merger.

The 88H sterling bells are also NOT made on a King mandrel... King no longer makes large bore horns. I mean... there are the 88HK bells which are made on the 5B mandrel but I don't know if that counts.
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ExZacLee
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by ExZacLee » Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:10 am

mrdeacon wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 1:50 am
The 88H sterling bells are also NOT made on a King mandrel... King no longer makes large bore horns. I mean... there are the 88HK bells which are made on the 5B mandrel but I don't know if that counts.
I'd assumed as much, if memory serves correctly, the 88H bells seemed to have a more gradual flairing than the 4B bells. The 88H in general, and the newer sterling model in specific, seemed so much more focused than the 4B design (not slagging the 4B, they are still an old favorite of mine). The sterling conn bells seemed to be the same shape as the classic 88H bell, but I didn't have one at the time to compare the two so I'm not 100% sure.

I thought King was continuing their 4B production, but I think you're right - everywhere has it listed as "out of stock" - I'd say that's a shame, but there are plenty of vintage 4Bs around to be picked up. Not so many sterling belled 4Bs - not many players who could handle that beast I reckon.
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HawaiiTromboneGuy
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by HawaiiTromboneGuy » Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:33 am

I love the way sterling bells play ever since I played my first sterling plus Bach 42 shortly after high school. Sadly though I ended up selling that horn and now have a nice collection of King’s with sterling silver bells.

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salsabone
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by salsabone » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:40 pm

Just to support those others that have experienced other makes of sterling bells....I own a Reynold Professional(7.5" bell .500 bore)model 73 sterling silver bone with gold filigree in the bell engraving!
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by harrisonreed » Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:11 pm

CL blew it up on his silver 88H and 36H a couple weeks ago in Colorado springs. You probably will sound like him if you just buy a Sterling SGX Bell. Guaranteed
LIBrassCo
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by LIBrassCo » Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:20 am

I managed to get ahold of an Edwards 8.5" SS bell, real eager to try it out. I've heard virtually nothing about their sterling bells, should be interesting.
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by bbocaner » Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:08 am

To me, sterling silver feels and sounds a lot like gold brass, but it tends to require more energy to add some brightness to it. But there are a lot of other variables besides the material it's made out of, so it's hard to make this kind of generalization.
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by timbone » Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:02 am

Steven-

I have quite a bit of experience with solid sheet silver bells, which are different than electroformed or plated bells. First off they are not for everyone. And, the business of not being able to blend in a section is subjective as well, lets put that to rest right now- there are plenty of musicians playing trombone that can blend and plenty of sections that do where everyone plays a different horn. Yes they are heavier but have a ring when struck reminiscent of older Conn 8H bells- low Gb pitch and long sustain- plenty of vibration..... WONDERFUL if you like that sort of thing. I would test cymbals the same way. The silver is kind of chameleon for me, everybody sounds different, some bright, some dark. They do take more inertia to get to sound and from behind the bell as they do not give as much feedback as a yellow or gold bell. Because of the nature of silver, they have a three dimensional quality to the sound. What I mean is you can be thirty yards away and you sound like you are standing right next to me. They are capable of extreme volume dynamics without breaking up. I do know Joe Alessi became infatuated with Michel Becquet because of his use of a sheet silver bell. When the French trombone quartet came over some time ago in the 80's they kind of put everyone on notice in the trombone world, but I am sure that is before most of us here's time, and that is when folks first heard about Becquet. Of course sterling silver Kings have their place too. I wish I still had my sterling 3B!
LIBrassCo
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by LIBrassCo » Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:37 pm

Out of curiousity, anyone screw bell one of these?
timbone
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by timbone » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:01 am

No screw bells. Personally I would rather not take away from the bell's ability to vibrate. Plus adding a ring adds more weight to an already heavy bell. You don't have to worry about being more compact with this type of arrangement sound wise which is another attribute of a screw bell. Just my opinion.
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by JohnL » Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:37 am

LIBrassCo wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:37 pm
Out of curiousity, anyone screw bell one of these?
OOOH! A sterling bell with a ring set made out of sterling. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
LIBrassCo
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by LIBrassCo » Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:45 am

JohnL wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:37 am
LIBrassCo wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:37 pm
Out of curiousity, anyone screw bell one of these?
OOOH! A sterling bell with a ring set made out of sterling. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
That was one of my thoughts, yes. I'd have to source the sterliing billet but i could machine one. That being said, I'm having a hard time talking myself into cutting up a sterling bell. With my luck I'd screw up and make trash in an epic fail on a pricey bell, or it'll sound like trash and still be an epic fail. Im going to be doing a tremendous amount of flying and will need at least one horn on me, which is why I'm entertaining it in the first place.

The idea of a nice and tiny flat case i know i can place overhead on any plane is just super appealing.
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Re: Sterling Silver Bells

Post by whitbey » Sat Jun 22, 2019 7:40 am

I love my sterling bell Edwards!!!
Edwards Sterling bell 525/547
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