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French Horn/double french horns w/o spit valves

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Question
Hi, I'm considering buying a used double french horn, and the two horns that I've been looking at (a nickel Reynolds Contempora FE-01 double french horn, and a King 2269 double).

Now the problem is this...neither horn has a spit-valve.

The contempora is selling for $1000, the King for $500. Is this a good deal seeing as they don't have spit-valves? They are in otherwise good condition, although the contempora may need some minor repairs.

Answer
Hi, for me a spit valve is an accessory rather than a necessity. If you don't have one, you just turn the horn over and take out the tuning slide, provided you own some slide grease you can get that operation into a fairly short space of time, pretty much the same time frame as using a spit valve. You probably get more water out that way too, and on the plus side there's no spring to break and no pad to fall off or crack and then get leaky. And if you find yourself in a state of desperate spit valve withdrawal, a good repairman will fit you one for $100 or so.

Both horns are pretty keenly priced. The Reynolds is a very big bore machine, they're good horns, very sturdy, but it wouldn't necessarily be my choice from a playing point of view. The King is an underrated instrument, at that price it's a steal.

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Alan Jones

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Can answer just about anything on playing the horn, repertoire, buying instruments, repairs, care and maintenance

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25 years of professional playing and teaching in the UK

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GRSM (Hons), LRAM, ARCM

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