Need French Horn Suggestions...

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Forum topic by knotscott posted 04-22-2010 12:52 PM 4412 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8055 posts in 3398 days

04-22-2010 12:52 PM

Hi all – Definitely an off topic question here, but I could really use some help from those who’ve been through it before.

We have a budding French horn player who’s ending her 2nd year, is doing very well, practices regularly, enjoys playing, was selected for the all county band, and appears as though she’s going to stick with this. We think it may be time to purchase a horn as opposed to renting one. Preferably something suitable through HS, but even an intermediate step would be acceptable. I think she’s currently using a single horn by Conn.

We need brand/model suggestions that won’t break the bank. I understand that a double horn is the way to go, and that the Yamaha and Holton horns are desirable (among others)...they’re also fairly expensive. What we’re looking for are suggestions for those brands and models that represent the most bang for the buck that might be picked up used in the $350-$600 range, that are still good functioning horns and that are a worthwhile purchases…basically hoping to avoid the pitfalls of buying junk. Used is likely where the better values are. I see all kinds of brands and no name horns…what’s good and what’s not?

Your comments would be greatly appreciated! TIA!

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

8 replies so far

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8055 posts in 3398 days

#1 posted 04-22-2010 09:47 PM

Thanks for trying! Your’s is the best response yet!

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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#2 posted 04-22-2010 09:48 PM

try boosey and hawkes they make excellent instruments.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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#3 posted 04-24-2010 09:58 AM

Is HS High School? You use the word “Band” but I’m going to assume it’s not a Marching Band, therefore we aren’t talking about a “Marching French Horn” which is quite different than an “Orchestra French Horn”.

I’ve played Trumpet and Fluglehorn since I was 8 years old. They MADE me play French Horn in the High School Orchestra for 2 years. I played “1st. Horn” which is usually a Single Horn, Key of “F”. Second Horn was usually “B Flat”. Primarily because a Single Horn was a lot easier to learn and Play. I think now they are mostly all “Key of F”.

Unless She’s going to continue playing French Horn “cor de chasse” after High School and She’s presently playing a Single Horn, why even consider a Double Horn? They are usually a LOT more expensive than a Single Horn because they have twice the tubing, play in BOTH keys F & B Flat. (Left Thumb “ReRoutes” the Tubing to play in either Key.) and are more complex to play than a Single Horn.

Price wise we’re talking (NEW) as a basis of comparison, a Good Quality Single Horn $800 to $1500. A Double Horn bumps that up to $1200 to $3000+.

You “Think” or know her present horn is a Conn? Conn is a very good make, so is Yamaha, Ravel & Holton. What about whoever Teaches Her Music? No help from them?

I’ve never heard of a “No Name” horn? What is that? A name nobody has ever heard of before, or it just doesn’t have ANY name on it?

Most Music Store usually have a selection of Used Instruments. eBay has them, Local Classified Ads etc. etc.

MANY years ago, I got rid of Three Trumpets I had, including a “Rotary Valve” one (Same as a French Horn) my Father “Picked Up” when they Raided a German Officers Mess during the Second World War. Used the money to buy a Hammer or something ….LOL…


-- LIFE is what happens when you're planning on doing Other Things!

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407 posts in 3260 days

#4 posted 04-24-2010 04:17 PM

I wish i cold help you on finding a horn. Just throwing in my best wishes for your daughter. Way back in the dark ages I played French horn in HS when I was a freshman then at the University of Idaho when i was a sophomore or so, played in a “fun” band the dean of the Music Collage put together. I couldn’t play worth beans but it was mostly for fun and 1 credit of humanities. Ever since I have held French horn players in high regard.


-- That was not wormy wood when I started working on it.

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 3268 days

#5 posted 04-24-2010 10:27 PM

My two cents from a former all state horn player. Bite the bullet and get a decent double horn. Holton, Conn and Yahama are great, consistent brands that sound good. I don’t know about the quality of the no names. The quality also affects the tone/sound quality. If she keeps playing, she’ll need a double. A some point not having a double will slow down her learning. Is she taking lessons from a decent horn teacher? Teach can help tell you when she needs a double. They can help find a used horn and recommend one that fits her playing style. It’s kind of like buying tools- just buy decent ones or keep buying and buying… Hope this helps, feel free to ask anymore.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

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1287 posts in 3081 days

#6 posted 04-24-2010 11:03 PM

I have to agree with KayBee. There is an old saying, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig. I am a musician and have taught music lessons for many years (not horn, but strings, but the principal still applies). In my opinion,one of the best ways to discourage a budding musician is to purchase a cheap/low quality instrument. A poor instrument will never sound very good, even if a virtuoso were to play on it. They usually will not play in tune and will just prove to cause a poor experience all around. Just like buying cheap tools often results in frustration rather than satisfaction. In addition, I have two sons playing in the high school band (Trombone and Trumpet). One of them (my oldest who plays trombone) just made AllState Honor band for the second year in a row. We were able to find good quality instruments for both of them used. My suggestion for you is to call the music departments at any colleges in your area and also, call the band directors at the schools in your area. Also, have the band director of your child’s school make some calls for you. Aslo, check with the music stores that supply band instruments to the schools in your area. The advantage of the music store is that they can provide financing to help with purchase, but be careful with them because, obviously, their main objective is to sell you an instrument. If they are a good store, they will also try to help you to get her an instrument that will give her a good chance for success. For my oldest son, we purchased one from a college student that was upgrading his instrument. For my youngest, we purchased a used horn from a local music store. We have been very satisfied with both and they both are thriving musicians. One last thought, that up front cost on that horn may be pretty steep (believe me I know), but the college scholarships later will more than make up for that investment. A lot of people do not realize that college band scholarships are not only for music majors. They are to help attract good players. Good french horn players don’t just grow on trees. If she does well, she will be able to earn some good scholarship money to play because bands often need horn players.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

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8055 posts in 3398 days

#7 posted 04-25-2010 01:21 PM

Thanks for resurrecting this thread, and thanks for the excellent suggestions. We’re still biding our time and pondering several options. Eventually the right deal will come along.

Yes, “HS” is high school, and she’s currently playing in the concern band. The info on a double horn was news to me, but was suggested by her current band director who consulted with her future band director for next year. They still start the kids on the single horns, but I’m told that most middle school and high school bands now prefer the double horn because some of the fingerings are slightly different and it’s easier to learn now. I’d still consider a single horn for the next year or so if the right deal comes along, but it’s basically just buying us a little more time to find an upgrade.

The “no name” horns are the Chinese imports sold by Ebay stores, or a house brand at a local store…they may actually even have a brand name, but some don’t and it’s not as recognizable as the major names. Some of these horns may even be good quality but it’s hard to know.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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8055 posts in 3398 days

#8 posted 04-30-2010 10:50 PM

Update: We ended up with an older Conn 6D double horn made in 1950. It belonged to a music teacher and is in great shape for it’s age, and plays very nicely. Most importantly is that our budding French horn player is happy. :)

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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