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Fri, May. 22nd, 2009, 09:00 pm
praysforluna: First Time Horn Buyer!

So I'm shopping for a French Horn tommorrow. I've been renting a Yamaha double horn for about 2 years now and I want to buy a horn.  I'm not sure which is the best horn to brand to buy, I've seen lots of Holton and Yamaha but I'm not sure which brand to buy.

This is what I'm looking at buying right now.

-Price isn't a issue
- Hopefully made of nickle but not a big issue
-Double Horn

So what do you look for when buying a horn and what brands do like/dislike?

Sat, May. 23rd, 2009 04:49 am (UTC)

In school I played a Yamaha horn, a Holton horn, and a Hoyer horn. My favorite was definitely the Hoyer, and a lot of horn teachers and players I've talked to that have tried them absolutely LOVE them. You should definitely look into that brand! Especially if price is not an issue.

Sat, May. 23rd, 2009 05:04 am (UTC)

ALSO, since you've been playing a Yamaha horn, Yamaha would probably feel very familiar and comfortable for you since they build off of each model.

Sat, May. 23rd, 2009 05:20 am (UTC)

I'm definatley interested in the german brands like Hans Hoyer and Lawson. I just don't know anywhere that sells them in-store because I want to try it out before I buy. Then with Yamaha I'm finding the exact same horn as mine at every store! XD Thanks for the advice!

Sun, May. 24th, 2009 11:20 pm (UTC)

(Lawson is an American horn)

Sat, May. 23rd, 2009 05:11 am (UTC)

When I was looking for mine, the advice I got from most everyone was 'just play lots of different models.' Figure out what you're looking for, but don't be afraid to try things outside of your specifics as well. And take time on it. Go back a few times to play the same ones on different days, and compare them.

The one that feels right is the one that's right. That's just how it works with instruments.

Sat, May. 23rd, 2009 02:30 pm (UTC)

Also: I wound up with a Yamaha 667, and I have heard absolutely wonderful things about Alexander horns.

Sat, May. 23rd, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)

Agree completely with this post - try out all the models that are available in your area, compare how they each feel, and go from there. It might be a good idea to bring along your horn teacher, if you have one, as he/she can probably offer some great advice.

I have played on a Yamaha 668ND (nickel-silver) for just over a year now, and I'm quite pleased with it.

Keep in mind that since they're generally heavier, a nickel horn might take some adjusting to when you make the switch. I bought a new mouthpiece, identical to the one I'd been using when renting my first horn, in order to make the transition smoother.

Good luck & have fun!

Sat, May. 23rd, 2009 01:11 pm (UTC)

It depends on what you're intending to do with this horn. are you intending to play it professionally or semi-professionally eventually or are you just doing this for fun?

Overall, my best advice is just to play as many horns as possible.

I play a Yamaha 567, and while it's an intermediate model, it has served me well when i've played in a few symphony orchestras, chamber groups, my school ensembles, and many other gigs i've taken. I would highly recommend Yamaha horns--they're well made across the board. If you're even kind of considering french horn seriously, i would get a Yamaha 667LVS, if you want to go the Yamaha route. I'll probably be buyting a 667LVS soon. They're wonderful.

I don't really know much about other horns as i do Yamahas, so i'm sorry. But I will say that I would avoid Nickel as all costs. I personally hate everything about nickel horns, but i come from that school of thought. Keep in mind, many orchestras are steering away from the nickel horn (Conn8D) and are going for a unlaquered, geyer wrap horn like YHR667, Paxman, Lawson etc. But, to each his own.

hmm..i could go on and on and on and on,but i wont (:

happy hunting! horn searching is fun!!!

Sat, May. 23rd, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)

Really!? I guess I won't be getting nickle then! Thank you! :D

Sat, May. 23rd, 2009 01:28 pm (UTC)

I have a Holton as well, and I love mine! =]

Sat, May. 23rd, 2009 09:14 pm (UTC)

I second the Holton love.

I'm allergic to nickel so I haven't got any experience with horns made of said material...mine is rose brass.

Sun, May. 24th, 2009 05:50 am (UTC)

I love my Conn 8D... it's perfectly versatile, and they're relatively well made. I got mine new 4 (maybe 5?) years ago, and aside from a couple of dents from emphatic mute changes, it's still in great condition. I just recently got it worked on for the first time to fix some end-play from some poor caretaking (all my fault) but had I kept it up, it wouldn't have *needed* a shop at all. If you like nickle horns... they're perfect for your use.

I've also played on a couple of Yamaha models and a Holton for a while... they didn't match the versatility, but had their better and worse points otherwise. I'd have to echo the "play as many as possible" sentiments, and pipe in to say that if you DO go for the Conn 8D, try to get an older, used horn that's still in good condition. Dunno what it is, but the earlier ones are better than newer in my experience.

As always, YMMV.

Sun, May. 24th, 2009 06:08 am (UTC)

Isn't there a horn conference in Illinois like, next week? Just sayin... a conference is where I got my horn. I went two years in a row. The first year I fell in love with a Hans Hoyer. The second year I went back, tried out more, and couldn't keep myself away from the Hans Hoyer. Talked the price down a good chunk and took the horn home with me. It was beautiful, and still is. So. Conferences are a good place. There's also a conference somewhere else in the States this summer- Colorado, maybe?

Sun, May. 24th, 2009 07:38 pm (UTC)

IHS starts june 2nd. if you can go it's a great opportunity to check out new horns. beware gimmicks.

i started out on a conn8D and for the last 5 years i've played a paxman23. personally i really dislike holtons but to each his own. depending on how serious you are it may or may not be worth investing in a pricier horn. having a better and/or more expensive horn isn't going to make you a better player. if you're a good player you'll sound good on pretty much anything. that said different horns have different strengths. i switched to a paxman because they're lighter and i found that a lot of notes were easier to play than they were on the conn. the big orchestras are always going to have their horn of choice and most of the time it comes down to sponsorship and who's willing to give them a good deal so avoid going with what's 'trendy.' alexander and hoyer (also berg if you're really serious) are worth checking out but what it comes down to is what feels the best for you. it's worth taking a trip to go to a dealer with a variety of horns to try them out. everyone has their different strengths and weaknesses and the best advice i can give you is to decide for yourself. as far as the nickel thing goes i would talk to someone that repairs/manufactures horns and get their opinion. i know people always say the brass/lacquer makes a difference in sound but again, i think it's about the player not the instrument. good luck!

just some background on me: i've played horn for 12 years, attended boston university (eric ruske) and university of texas austin (pat hughes). i don't pretend to know anything about horns, but i've learned a lot from playing them and from being around other horn players.

Sun, May. 24th, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC)

oh, btw, check out Atkinson. they have a really good horn i played for, like, 5 minutes and it was really impressed. i can't think of the model number, but it's designed to play like the of Kruspe models. good stuff.

Fri, May. 29th, 2009 01:36 pm (UTC)

again, do try a lot of horns if you can. most holtons aren't that great for professional playing but the merker matic series is more of a professional grade. I have one and it's perfect for me. One thing you should try to figure out is how much resistance you like in a horn. Holton Merker Matics have a lot of resistance but for me, it's worth it because they produce a really great tone. I know people with Hans Hoyers, Yamahas, and Conns too. My professor played a Yamaha. Hope that helps. :)