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French Horn/Reynolds Contempora FE-01


QUESTION: Hi so I am an amateur player looking to buy a french horn, but I don't want to spend too too much. I found this one on kijiji:

and they say its the reynolds contempora FE-01 model. I've been told not to buy something unless I can try it out, and the seller is very willing to let me try it. Is it a good buy? Is it worth $1200?

Thanks in advance

ANSWER: Well, firstly you should be aware it's at least 35 years old, it can't have been made later than 1979 because that's when the company ceased production.

These horns have their fans, they are very solidly built (and quite heavy) and are very free-blowing due to the extremely large bell throat. Personally I find them rather too big and rather un-centred to play, but they have been used by quite a few professionals, almost exclusively in large symphony orchestras. It's certainly not a horn suited for chamber work or solo playing.

I don't know how much in demand they are in the US, but here in the UK I don't think it would sell for more than the equivalent of $800-900, although the market for older horns is a very difficult one to predict. It's a bit like antiques, the market price is whatever value the buyer puts on the item.

By all means try it and see whether you like playing a huge bore horn. Of its type, it's probably a good instrument.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi again,

when you say $800-$900 is that american dollars?

also, it doens't come with a case, so on a student budget, I found this case:

does this case fit?

the seller of the horn is actually offering me a case:

at $225 CAD... I don't know if that is worth buying, or if I should look in to finding another cheaper case.

thanks for all the help!

Yes, I was translating the 650-750 (pounds) I would pay maximum into US Dollars, very approximately - and also in my experience (mostly gained via this website) second-hand horn prices for less sought-after models are a bit lower in the US than the UK.

The Pro-tec case is a very good one but expensive. The other one would probably fit, it looks like a normal size case.

There are nice lightweight fixed-bell cases available here from the importers of Chinese-made horns, the brands I have come across here are Rosetti (very good), Gear 4 Music (ok) and John Packer (haven't actually tried these). They retail at around 60 which is $80 or so.

Detachable bell cases tend to be more expensive as they are mainly aimed at the pro market, but I have one from Thomann, a German company, which isn't the smallest but only cost me 30 on Ebay...

Generally I would expect any normal full-size horn case to fit this horn.

Hope this helps


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Alan Jones


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


25 years of professional playing and teaching in the UK


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