French Horn/Purchasing a double french horn
Hi, I am looking to buy a double french horn for my son who is in 8th grade. I found a new Maestro double horn on ebay for $450 (either silver or brass). Is this a quality instrument that will get him through high school? I do not currently have the funds to purchase one of the better horns right now, but do not want to buy anything of inferior quality. Your opinion and expertise is much appreciated. Thank you.
Hi, I'm afraid $450 for a new horn isn't really a realistic budget, all you will get is one of these Chinese-made jobs which are really not worth buying - if you are lucky and get one that plays reasonably in tune, then probably either the stays or the mechanism will start to fall apart or the valves will seize up after a couple of years, and you'll be looking for another horn...
The only advice I can offer is to trawl the secondhand market, but realistically you probably have to have $700-800 to get a decent horn. Some of the lesser known US brands like King or Olds sell for less than that, there are plenty of old Conn 6Ds around but some are very well-used. But if you are patient something probably comes along. And far better an oldish quality horn which still blows ok than a new shiny Chinese one.
Have a good look on Ebay and other secondhand sources like craigslist abnd gumtree. And do send me links to any likely looking horns and I can offer an opinion as to whether they might be ok or not. If you like you can e-mail me direct at jonesthehorn "at" btinternet "dot" com (replace the bits in quotes with the usual symbols...)