Acoustical reality of finishes

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Posted by Matt Walters on December 18, 1999 at 18:30:59:

1) If you knew how coarse the inside suraces of the brass body parts of even the finest and most expensive brass instrument is, you would realize "What sounds better, lacquer or silver plate finish?", is a stupid question.
2) The best imperical test I know of on the subject was conducted by Walter Lawson on a french horn. The results using the very same horn, mechanically generated sound input at the mpc, and recorded on an oscillascope: raw brass and today's standard thickness of silver plating had identical acoustical signatures.
Baked on epoxy lacquer resulted in a 20% reduction in the amount of upper OVERTONES, but only in the UPPER REGISTER of the,,, FRENCH HORN. Air dry lacquer did the same thing but only by 5%. Folks, we are talking about the upper register only, of a FRENCH HORN! Bring it down to the bass clef and it becomes a non issue to tubists. Again, for 99.99% of us tubists, it is a NON ISSUE. Side bar; I just listened to Chuck Daellenbach play (again) on a carbon fiber belled tuba, Thursday, December 16th. He played and sounded great!

3) No 2 tubas of the exact same make and model will have the same wall thickess at all points as there is sanding and buffing by a human being in the construction process. So any difference in finishes can again be offset by material thicknesses during the manufacturing process.
SO,,, If every silver tuba you played sounded brighter to you, you're right. But, if every lacquer tuba you played sounded brighter to you, you are still right! That is what you believe and you will play in a manner to make it so. You can't convince me, my car doesn't run better after I've just washed it!

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