I have not tried brass, though I have tried copper. Given my own
experiences, I would say that if you have a serious goal of
soldering silver, then you should practice on silver, not something
Regarding price, it’s not as expensive as you think it is. Every
piece of scrap has a use: the backplate of a small setting, a fancy
bale, a prong, a bead for decoration, a potential flush setting base.
Even the scrap of scrap can be used in soldering practice. And hey,
it’s still silver! If you screw up, it can become parts for something
else or go to the refiner.
There’s really no such thing as “waste” silver. Whether or not your
practice results in a blob or something wearable, you still have a
precious metal. The experience you gain by working in your chosen
metal can’t be matched by another metal, early on.
If I make something wearable, I’m proud to show it off, and it won’t
make my skin turn green. If I make a mistake, I gain valuable
insight into working with silver, and maybe even the experience of
learning how to fix my mistake.
If you do all your work in copper and brass, then when you go to
silver, you won’t have the ‘feel’ of how the metal handles heat, how
it bends (or resists bending), or how fast it oxidizes.
I suggest that while you are a novice, work in your target metal.
Once you become more experienced, you may want to expand to other
metals - you wiill be able to adapt quickly. But when you start out,
it’s a big chore just learning all the nuances of one metal. Don’t
dilute your experience. That’s what’s expensive, not the metal