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Thread: Metal Thickness

  1. #1

    Metal Thickness

    [From davewerden: The topic of metal thickness came up in another thread. That thread was about Adams, and Adams is very public about metal thickness. They offer .50, .55, .60, .70, and .80. But what about other brands? I created this thread to hold spkissane's post]

    Quasi-digression, but this is the most recent Adams-centric thread: We hear a lot about metal thickness options in Adams euphoniums, but I've always wondered how they compare to the other big brands. Is there info on what thickness metal other makers use? Seems like maybe Willson uses a heaver gauge than most others, but I also might be completely wrong on that.
    Last edited by davewerden; 07-20-2019 at 10:26 AM.
    Sean Kissane
    Development Director - International Tuba-Euphonium Association
    Geneva Oldroyd Cardinal Custom Euphonium
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  2. #2
    Yeah, good idea to make it it's own thread, Dave.
    Sean Kissane
    Development Director - International Tuba-Euphonium Association
    Geneva Oldroyd Cardinal Custom Euphonium
    Giddings DHWA-S Mouthpiece

  3. #3
    I have asked at a couple ITEC booths about thickness, but the sales folks did not know the answer. I have to guess Willson is around the .80 realm, though.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
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    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  4. #4
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    One issue related to thickness is that Adams horns claim to have a constant thickness of metal despite the bending, whereas all other euphoniums have thinner metal where tubing bends. I assume Adams is telling the truth, but am ignorant about the musical significance/advantage of the constant thickness in the Adams instruments.
    Perhaps constantly-thick Adams euphoniums won't ever need a LeFreque, whereas all other euphoniums will always need a LeFreque.
    Last edited by Snorlax; 07-20-2019 at 01:03 PM. Reason: bad grammar
    Yamaha 642-II Neo, Wedge 103A/Wick 4AL
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  5. #5
    Don't freque out, Jim!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Snorlax View Post
    One issue related to thickness is that Adams horns claim to have a constant thickness of metal despite the bending, whereas all other euphoniums have thinner metal where tubing bends. I assume Adams is telling the truth, but am ignorant about the musical significance/advantage of the constant thickness in the Adams instruments.
    Perhaps constantly-thick Adams euphoniums won't ever need a LeFreque, whereas all other euphoniums will always need a LeFreque.
    Part of Adams concept is that they are made from sheet metal, which enables the constant thickness. While it is true that most production horns today use hydraulic blowing to expand tubes into the taper, that was probably not the case for some of the legendary brass instruments of the past. (Just a guess.)

    The fact it, there is a lot of expense in tooling the hydraulic forms. Consequently, making a change to the tubing's taper at any point will also be very expensive. With a hand-made horn, it is easier to implement small improvements along the way.

    There are always limits that bump into cost. If Adams wanted to change the bore from .592 to .596, for example, that affects a lot of pieces, particularly within the pistons. If they thought a 14" bell would be better, it would not cost that much to make it, but it mean getting a new case supplied and would leave all of us in a tighter spot for gig bags and mutes.

    I do believe the unusually even response of Adams is helped by the consistency of thickness. And the hand-made technique allows easier incremental improvements, as I mentioned. But one surprise in talking to a few vendors is that consistent thickness can also help intonation. Who knew???
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  7. #7
    With 'consistent thickness' I assume the same metal thickness gauge throughout the entire instrument as opposed to, for example, a 0.80 bell on a 0.55 rest of the instrument (to give a very disproportionate example)?

    As for other brands, it also depends on the time period. The old Globe Stamp Sovereigns had MUCH thicker metal than current (or less old) Sovereigns and Prestiges, for example (a player I once met said he dented his Prestige's bell because a bottle of water fell cap-first on it... I could not even get ANY result like that on my Globe Stamp). I sometimes wonder what current instruments would sound like if they had that thick gauge of brass combined with their modern designs.

  8. Metal thickness is something talked about in the trombone world as well, though you rarely see published specs for it. Also, it's almost always the thickness used BEFORE they have bent, stretched, spun the bell, etc. Trombone maker Rath prefers 2 piece bell construction, because it gives them better control to achieve a uniform thickness. Vincent Bach on the other hand felt the "magic" came from stretching out a single piece bell and the inherent thickness variations, from what I have heard.

    I would also usually think that the part of the instrument with the thinnest metal is usually the bell. I know with a trombone, the bell is far more prone to denting than say valve or slide tubing.

    Pressure formed vs ice formed vs seamed is something you will hear a lot of comparisons made over. However, I think that the tubing itself is still bent after it is made, and not before. You're not going to get a really nice round tube unless it's either drawn or put on a mandrel. That's what I think anyway. I'd love to see the Adams factory to see the process used for turning sheet brass into the tubing, as I don't quite understand the steps required.
    Sterling / Perantucci 1065HGS - Hammond 11L , Bach 42T - Laskey 59MD, Kanstul 1588CR - Hammond 11ML, Yamaha YBL-612 RII - Faxx 1 1/2G

  9. #9
    Rath's standard thickness for bells is .70mm for the flare and .50mm for the stem. They call it a "750" bell for that reason. They do also make a lightweight bell and a heavy bell but I'm not sure what the exact measurements are.

    My Ewald Meinl sackbuts are made with .28mm sheet brass which is actually even thinned significantly from that in the bell!

    It's funny, some of the manufacturers that use hydroforming tout that as being more consistent than hand forming and that it leads to better response! I guess it's all in the marketing...

    Thickness isn't the only factor in how easy something is to dent. It's possible to have very thick but very soft metal, and very thin but very hard. It's all in how it is worked.
    --
    Barry

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbocaner View Post
    Thickness isn't the only factor in how easy something is to dent. It's possible to have very thick but very soft metal, and very thin but very hard. It's all in how it is worked.
    Yes. But in addition to how it's worked, it's also the specific alloy and the type and thickness of the plating. My 1924 Buescher (at least double thickness sliver plated) tuba and 1965 Amati oval euph (lacquered brass) are made of noticeably more rigid metal than either my Mack Brass euph or Wessex tuba. And my red brass Cerveny tuba was at least as soft as the Chinese yellow brass instruments.

    Thickness-based comparison of the performance of instruments likely makes objective sense if done for a given material of a given brand (so that thickness is the only -- or only major -- variable). But comparing performance across brands (where both metallurgy and how the metal is "worked" may differ, and in fact may not be fully known) has to be much less meaningful as a guide to anything.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
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    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

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