French Horn/Buying a Holton H180

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Question
Hi,

My husband used to play French Horn and was really good, but had to stop. I wanted to get him one as a surprise so he could keep it up, but I'm a woodwind player and I don't know much about French Horns. I found a Holton H180 on ebay for $650. I'm just looking for a double that I can afford, it doesn't have to be really nice, just decent enough for him to play and not have to cost a ton. That seems like a good deal to me but I've read a lot about fake horns from China that just fall apart. This is the link: http://www.ebay.com/itm/HOLTON-MODEL-H180-DOUBLE-FRENCH-HORN-/181736479529?pt=LH. I was just wondering if its possible to tell if this looks legit or if its a fake.

Thanks

Answer
Hi, you've got slightly the wrong end of the stick about Chinese horns - there are no fakes of existing reputable brands such as Holton, Conn, Yamaha, King, Olds etc. There are just a lot of cheap and nasty horns with brand names that sound good - such as Odyssey, Premiere, Concerto, foreign sounding names like Mendini or J Michael, or simply the name of the importer, as the Chinese factories will put anything you like on a batch of instruments. There's nothing new there either, US and European manufacturers did the same in the 20th century, sometimes referred to as "stencilling".

But what nobody does is to fake instruments, there's not the market volume to make crime worthwhile. They stick to Rolexes, designer handbags and so on....

So if you look for one of the brands I mention, oldish but working, you shouldn't have a problem. The Holton you sent the link to seems to have sold though. Generally I'm a fan of Holtons and they're often undervalued compared to other makes. The H180 isn't the best though, it has a huge bell throat and a rather industrial feel. H177 or 178 are much nicer. But often pricier.

Anyway, send me a link to anything that interests you and I'll give you an opinion!

AJ

French Horn

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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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