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French Horn/Mechanical Linkage Creating a different sound?


We purchased an older Getzen Elkhorn for our daughter. It has been taken to a music shop for a complete cleaning & tune up. It has a mechanical linkage but she has been playing a horn with a string linkage. When she is playing, she feels that the sound is closed. That her notes are going "in & out" when she is pressing the keys. Wondering if it is just that she is not used the the difference in the linkage?

Hi, the answer is no, it would be nothing to do with the linkage, unless there's something wrong with the alignment of the rotors. If you check under the valve caps there should be two lines at right angles on the top of the spindle, which line up with a notch or another line when the valve is up or down. The alignment is partly governed by the corks or rubber bumpers on the bottom of the valves. Depending how much the music shop knows about horns (often not much, although they're happy to pretend they do) they would have checked all of that when they cleaned and tuned it up, whatever that means...

Anyway, I suspect there may be a different cause to your daughter's dissatisfaction.. This is probably a different type of horn to what she played before, and it's a compensating double, a type more common here in Europe than in the US. The response of the horn is quite different on the F horn (thumb lever not depressed) and the Bb horn (thumb lever depressed). Because the compensating double is basically a Bb horn with extra tubes to lengthen it and make it into an F horn, the F side has twice as many bends as the Bb side and blows much more stuffily. This design also has a very awkward thumb valve position and maybe she's not always keeping the thumb lever depressed fully.

Anyway, I would unscrew the valve caps and have a look at the alignment, check the corks/stoppers, and let me know firstly what sort of horn she was playing before, and secondly whether she uses any Bb horn fingerings...

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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