French Horn/help with choosing a double horn
QUESTION: We would like to purchase a double horn for our high schooler. Didn't realize how hard it would be to find one any where near us and how expensive it would be in comparison to the trumpet we purchased a few fears ago (plays both). I keep coming across either cheap new horns (China I assume) or expensive used. Don't know what is good and what to look for. Can you point me in the right direction to get a decent horn that will carry her through HS and maybe to play in a community band? Thanks.
ANSWER: Hello, you're not alone, as you'll see if you read my recent correspondence. Horns unfortunately are a lot more complex to manufacture than trumpets and sell less, so are more expensive. But luckily The US is big and there are good ones out there... on Ebay or other sources like Craigslist, either from sellers who used to play long ago (in which case the horn is likely to need a service but is probably otherwise ok to buy unseen) or from sellers who refurbish them and then sell them on.
Firstly my hit list of models would be (in descending order of preference) Holton H378/H379 (or H177/H178 which are pro models, if you happen to find one cheaply), Yamaha 561/661/662/664/567, King (various model numbers like 1159), Olds, Conn 6D.
Secondly, budget would need to be $1000 at least unless you're really very lucky. For a newer, shinier instrument $1500-1800. But not more.
It's also worth looking here: http://www.hornsociety.org/hornplayer-dot-net
Here are a few random examples from Ebay:
There are more... trawl the french horn category thoroughly.
Do feel free to ask more questions, send me links to comment on.
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QUESTION: What do you think about this one...
She currently has a silver Yamaha trumpet and seems to like the silver. Thanks.
ANSWER: It's a very unusual model, from about 1987, called the Opus 1, a redesign of the usual Farkas layout. I can't find any more details about it, but by the look of the bell throat it is probably a large bore, not ideal for your purposes. Otherwise I'm sure it's a good instrument.
I suspect it will probably finish up at quite a high price as it's a very unusual horn and a pro model. I'd be surprised if it goes for under $2000.
By the way, "silver" in the case of horns normally means lacquered nickel-silver rather than silver-plated brass like your daughter's trumpet. So it's not quite the same kind of thing. From my hit list the H379 and H177 are nickel-silver, most of the rest are yellow brass which is the standard metal for horns. Silver plated models do exist but are quite unusual.
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QUESTION: Thanks so much for being so helpful. This just showed up on Craigs list near us. Is it worth looking at? We were thinking it might be the right price for a horn that will be used and left at the high school (don't want to worry too much). Thanks.
Well, you may have just got very lucky. It's ridiculously cheap! I would buy it straight away before someone else spots it.
The 8D is a large bore horn so not on my ideal list of preferred instruments for students. But then again, hundreds (or thousands) of high school students have grown up playing on one. And it's nickel silver ;-)