Horn Search Complete…For Now

Lately I’ve chronicled my search for a new instrument – feel free to read my previous posts on the topic here, here, and here.  These posts have generated some terrific comments, and I want to thank everyone who commented for their honest, helpful advice.  I am glad to report, however, that my search is now over, and I decided to go with an Engelbert Schmid double horn.  So far I am very happy with the Schmid, and I look forward to many years of playing on it.  There are a number of reasons I decided on this particular instrument, and here are a few, in no particular order.

  • Evenness throughout the range on both sides of the horn:  This is something I was never completely satisfied with on my previous instrument (Yamaha 667v), and something that was missing on other horns I had tried before this one.  With this horn, the difference between F and B-flat sides is pretty minimal, and both sides center very easily in the low, middle, and high register.
  • Lightness and flexibility: Schmid horns are known for being light, but I was still surprised at just how light these horns really are.  Every bend and brace seems to resonate at both soft and loud dynamics, and I am slowly getting used to not working as hard for slurs, articulations, and lots of other things.
  • Bell Size/Alloy Combinations: Schmid markets three different flare sizes and four different alloys, so there are lots of options available should I want to experiment with some different tone colors.
  • Resale Value: As a frequent visitor to Hornplayer.net and other online retailers, I’ve noticed that Schmid horns tend to hold their value quite well.  I’m not planning on selling it anytime soon, but it’s still nice to know.

There are  a couple of other features on Schmid horns that are worth mentioning, and I’ll be discussing them in more detail in future posts.  If you’d like to hear the horn, check out the two latest Kopprasch videos on my YouTube channel. I’m still settling into things on this horn, but I can already hear some positive differences in my playing.  Finally, I’d like to thank Dennis and Katie Houghton of Houghton Custom Horns for making the trial and purchasing process straightforward and very convenient.

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Congratulations!! As you know, I started went through this process several years ago when I decided to switch from my 8D to “something else”. I had no idea what I what I was looking for at the time so I played everything I could get my hands on for a year and a half and before I finally deciding on the ES double with the stop valve. For me the whole process took over 2 and a half years from trials to ordering and finally receiving but it was well worth the wait. Every Schmid I was able to play essentially felt the same and was very consistent throughout not to mention that I really liked the B-flat side in comparison to my previous instrument. I have not looked back since its arrival back in the summer of 2003. Now we are definitely going to have to get together and do some playing!


Congratulations on the new horn! I’ve been playing a Schmid double for eight years now, and I’m very happy with it. I know there are other great horn makers out there, but I haven’t tried one yet that I prefer to mine.


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