Aluminum and SWE
It isn't a secret that I offer Aluminum SWE Trim Kits, though it seems very few people know this is an option. Aluminum top caps, bottom caps and finger buttons have been in production for all HT instruments for at least 6 months now with the option of black anodizing available and other colors by special order.
So why aluminum? It is considerably lighter than brass, yet more difficult to machine. Aluminum is more efficient in terms of SWE in tube, leadpipe and bell applications and less efficient in trim parts. However, sometimes less efficient trim is exactly what balances projection in front of the bell and behind the horn. Lead and commercial applications commonly require higher efficiency to make the high notes easier while maintaining audible feedback to the player behind the bell. Here, an aluminum trim kit is advantageous over brass. And sometimes the player simply wants the comfort of less weight. Either way, aluminum may be the solution. Black anodized aluminum trim and finger rings not only reduce weight, but the look is striking and surprisingly classy.
The next logical question is what else can be made from aluminum? Well, I intend to produce every piece of the trumpet from aluminum over time. I don't see this as the ultimate solution material, simply another option in my vast list of what may be offered. Would a completely aluminum trumpet sound and play as well as one made of brass? Absolutely! Would it play better pound for pound? The answer is a resounding YES. In fact, a Gravity trumpet that weighs 7 pounds in brass would weigh around the same as a Bach Strad if made in aluminum and the efficiency would be greater. Imagine a 2 pound horn that makes the best Bach sound and feel like a toy...that's an aluminum Gravity.
Without giving too much away...I am experimenting with many non-traditional materials in prototype and production scenarios. Don't be surprised if you soon see trumpets and trumpet parts on my website made from new wood composites, kevlar, carbon fiber and of course anodized aluminum.
5/22/2011 03:17:41 am
How do you plan to work around the issue of aluminum being difficult at best to solder?
5/22/2011 06:00:31 am
Aluminum cannot be soldered so fasteners and epoxy are the alternative. However, many parts I make have fasteners designed into them like the slide lock mechanism on the SWE bell and finger rings.
12/15/2015 12:08:34 pm
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Inventor, Musician, Educator and Founder of Harrelson Trumpets, Trumpet Momentum and Harrelson Momentum.