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Thread: Red brass vs yellow brass

  1. Red brass vs yellow brass

    Hi, I'm new to this forum.
    I'm humbly asking for some opinion on red brass bell.
    I read from the forum that red brass bell produce a warmer tone compared with yellow brass.

    I wish to know would you describe red brass bell as an upgrade? How much more would a red brass bell cost over a yellow brass on a Adams or Sterling? in USD

  2. #2
    Lots of people prefer yellow brass. Euphonium is dark enough as it is, it's nice to get that clarity of tone and articulation that a yellow brass bell brings to the table. But I suppose it may depend on your natural tendencies as a player.

    I don't believe adams offers red brass as standard on euphonium, but they have gold brass. It's something like a $200 upcharge. They do offer red brass on some of the other instruments, so maybe they'd do it as custom.

  3. #3
    Adams used to offer red brass for euphonium, but I don't see it on the website now. As Barry says, they would probably do it as a custom option. You would lose some attack clarity, and I suspect would not be happy with red brass in the normal setup. All I can add is that in 2012 I played a red brass E1 in .50 thickness that was really nice. The darker red brass made up for the lightness of the metal and the sound was nice. I don't recall having a chance to test it long enough to notice attack clarity. In any case, it's probably not a horn that would work well in a band setting; might do OK in chamber music, depending on the player.

    But your question is about the bell. When I was a Sterling artist I liked the red brass bell, and it might be OK on the Adams to just have the bell in red brass - I have not tried this myself. Keep in mind that my own attacks are too pointed for my tastes, so I have to work to not let them get out of hand. For me, maybe red brass would help tame that tendency. Guessing here.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  4. Thank you Barry and Dave.
    I am checking the Sterling website recently, and i saw a pretty huge price cut on the Virtuoso. I know it's really nice horn. I may get a yellow brass one since i'm not strong in tonguing.

    But i saw come comments on the valve being a problem on the Sterling, sometimes cannot bounce back smoothly. Is it because the valve block is now constructed in China? Or it is generally the case for all brands.


  5. #5
    The Adams website does a pretty good job explaining the differences between the four bell materials they offer on the custom E1 here:

    The description of red brass definitely echoes was Dave was saying about attacks and the balancing act between material and gauge. Alternatively, gold brass seems to be something of a middle ground between red and yellow, and doesn't cost any extra, iirc.
    Sean Kissane
    Low Brass Specialist, Paige's Music
    Principal Euphonium, Indianapolis Brass Choir
    Principal Euphonium, Crossroads Brass Band

    S.E. Shires EUSOLO
    Warburton Gail Robertson mpc

  6. Hi, my Sterling is a "heavy red brass" bell but in 300mm (11.8") rather than 305mm (12") or 310mm (12.2"). The smaller bell gives a more compact sound and slightly better response, but the bell material gave me a bit darker sound. My Adams E3 is .70 thickness yellow brass and is about 12". This is the thickest brass bell that Adams normally does with the exception of the E2 which is .80. On balance, those that listen to me seem to like my sound slightly better on the Adams. From behind the bell, I generally prefer the Sterling sound. Go figure.

    As regards valves, I cannot help much. My vintage Sterling is 2009 and he was still using Bauerfeind valves (same as current Adams). After 11+ years of ownership, the valves are like silk, though manufacturing crud (polish compound, etc.) inside the horn made them somewhat sluggish at first. After about a year of "break in" and several really thorough cleanings, they became markedly better. I consider them the equal of Besson or Adams now.

    I know that Sterling has worked very hard with their current valveset manufacturer over the last few years to improve the quality. I would consider them to be pretty good these days. Probably the equal of any of the new premier Chinese brands. Also, the last time I spoke with Paul Riggett, he indicated that overall, the new horns are probably just a bit more responsive than horns of my vintage. The trigger mechanism has been improved, and there have been a few minor tweaks along the way.
    Adams E3 0.60 Sterling bell - Prototype top sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1065HGS - 300mm red brass bell
    Concord Band
    Winchendon Winds
    Townsend Military Band

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