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Thread: Adams bell option questions

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    On either a Sterling or Adams, red brass adds a little more zing to the sound at the expense of a little smoothness in sound. When I played Sterling I liked both bell choices, but I always chose to buy the red bell. That got me the more lively character I wanted.
    I just finished a trial of an E1, 0.55 yellow brass, antique finish and an E2 Selected from Baltimore Brass. I really like the E1, but the sound has a little fuzz to it and it's not as focused or full as I would like it to be. I like the E2 - it's just too heavy and and the sound too rigid for me. I'm planning on ordering an E1, 0.60 clear lacquer, soon, and I'm on the fence as far as bell material - red or yellow?
    What I've read from other sources is that red brass will give a darker, smoother, more covered sound than yellow - yet you say, Dave, that it gives some "zing" and a "more lively character," "at the expense of a little smoothness."
    Any recommendation here? I guess I'm looking for a little more brightness and focus to the sound.
    David Young
    Andreas Eastman EEP526S '08
    Denis Wick SM5
    Utah State University Wind Orchestra

  2. #12
    Join Date
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    I got mine in gold brass and I found it to be the perfect middle ground between the deep rich red brass and the brighter yellow brass. My horn is in brushed lacquer, and I find the tone to be right where I want it. It has the depth and the zing to the sound. In my testing it sounds like you might be fit for an E3 so I would hold off on ordering if you haven't tried out the E3.

  3. #13
    For me, gold brass combines the worst characteristics of yellow with the worst characteristics of red. It's my least favorite. Everyone's different, though. I know lots of people who sound fantastic with gold brass bells and who like them. David, it sounds to me like you're describing yellow brass. But, everyone's different.
    --
    Barry

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by David Young View Post
    What I've read from other sources is that red brass will give a darker, smoother, more covered sound than yellow - yet you say, Dave, that it gives some "zing" and a "more lively character," "at the expense of a little smoothness.
    It's hard to use English to describe sounds, because each word brings with it different meanings for different people. Focus more on the word "lively" than "zing." For me the red (or gold, Sterling was not always clear which was which) bell was more lively. I could get more "edge," but not in the way we would think of edge with a trombone or trumpet. I also thought red/gold was more flexible and yellow was more consistent.
    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

  5. #15
    Caveat: everything I'm saying about materials is related to trombone, but I think the qualities of different materials carry over in a similar way to euphonium.

    Yellow brass has a reputation for being middle of the road... has a solid core, not too dark, not too bright, but with some effort a player can move the needle in either of those directions as desired.

    Gold brass and red brass vary the amount of zinc, and in general terms allow for a darker sound at low volumes, but when pushed become more brilliant than yellow brass at higher volumes. Sometimes, these qualities are described by players as being able to 'color' the sound, meaning to vary between dark and brilliant. Players who prefer red or gold brass say that yellow brass can be hard to color.

    Notice that I use the word brilliant instead of bright. Here's where English can be a funny thing... I think brilliance is a desired quality, but bright almost never is. A brilliant sound has shimmer, zing, a lot of high overtones, and a multitude of other euphonious (pun intended) qualities that have been described in this thread. Bright, on the other hand, is an unpleasant sound that cuts, harsh, snarly, etc. I think the difference comes down to how well a player can control these qualities. There is a fine line between brilliant and bright.

    Color aside, players also grade how well a sound holds together, and material, as well as weight, affects this quality. Again, yellow brass is middle of the road, it can handle lots of power without breaking up or becoming too edgy... this is what players describe as 'having a lot of core'. Sterling Silver also has a reputation for really holding up at high volumes, but on the color side is either described as 'very dense' by those who like it, or dull by those who don't. Nickel silver, on the other hand, has more zing and is more brilliant than sterling silver, but in the wrong hands (or lips) can also become edgy and bright very easily.

    Finally, tastes change over time.... 25 years ago we were in an arms race in the trombone world. Everything needed to be bigger and heavier, with soldered rims and even extra weights attached. For me this meant a heavy gauge yellow brass bell with a soldered rim. Lots of core and you couldn't break up that sound at high volume, even with a stick of dynamite. But, I couldn't easily produce a light, clear, buoyant sound with that setup. Now, these heavy setups are not as popular in the trombone world. I've transitioned to a setup that is almost as opposite as can be, with a lightweight red brass bell with an unsoldered rim. I now get the light, buoyant, and brilliant sound I want without all the hard work of making the metal vibrate.

    So, ultimately to each their own. I was lucky enough to get a fitting at Shires for my current trombone, and would have never thought I would have walked out with a medium-bore lightweight horn with a red brass bell with an unsoldered rim, but I couldn't be happier with it. Were I to get a fitting for an Adams Euphonium, I wonder if I would walk away with similar specs, or if I would yet again be surprised by a unexpected configuration.

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by howrdhodge View Post
    ...zing...
    Yes! Someone else uses the word I often use!

    Quote Originally Posted by howrdhodge View Post
    25 years ago we were in an arms race in the trombone world. Everything needed to be bigger and heavier, with soldered rims and even extra weights attached. For me this meant a heavy gauge yellow brass bell with a soldered rim. Lots of core and you couldn't break up that sound at high volume, even with a stick of dynamite. But, I couldn't easily produce a light, clear, buoyant sound with that setup. Now, these heavy setups are not as popular in the trombone world. I've transitioned to a setup that is almost as opposite as can be, with a lightweight red brass bell with an unsoldered rim. I now get the light, buoyant, and brilliant sound I want without all the hard work of making the metal vibrate.
    Indeed. In my earlier CG Band days (about 40 years ago, let's say) the trend was exactly opposite. Players were shaving down mouthpieces, taking lacquer off horns (mostly trombone, tuba, and some French horn players) and polishing them down to make the brass thinner. That got them better response, but I thought the projection suffered. Also, around 1989, the Sterling euphoniums were influenced by Steve Mead, and he wanted a horn with no bow caps/beads to make it lighter and more responsive. He also used a non-plated, non-lacquered bell on his horn. it was very responsive, but again I thought projection suffered. (Steve was using a Wick 3AL, or maybe a 2AL, which helped him get a lot of sound out of the horn despite its lighter weight.) Soon after that Sterling went to normal capping and a heavier metal for the bell.
    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

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