Equipment News

Although I didn’t get around to trying any horns at the recent International Horn Symposium, I’ve been reading recently about some new horn designs that are or will be making their way into the market. Daniel Grabois, Assistant Professor of Horn at The University of Wisconsin-Madison, tried out a new prototype from Yamaha at IHS 45. Here’s a brief quote from his blog,

A high point for me, aside from eating barbecue, came when I was chatting with a guy from Boston who, in addition to playing the horn, sells and repairs instruments. He asked if I had tried the new Yamaha horn. I didn’t know what he was talking about, and he brought me into a back room where there were two horns and a bunch of spare parts on a table and three Japanese gents behind the table. It turns out that Yamaha, which has been making horns for quite a while, is developing a new professional level instrument and they were having people try out various permutations.

I haven’t heard anything about this, but Yamaha has produced some really fine custom horns (800 series, 600 series, etc.), and I’d be interested in trying out one of these new instruments.

German maker Meister Hans Hoyer also has a brand new instrument, the K10. Here’s a bit from their press release about this horn and its design (image at left linked from the Hans Hoyer website).

The new K10 F/Bb-Double horn is the newest innovation for the orchestra: It was designed in close cooperation with Markus Wittgens. A well-orchestrated middle range, a great low register and an unknown ease in the higher area is obtained with a light rotary valve set, a full flow switch valve and an individually adjustable mouthpiece receiver. A pleasant well-balanced set-up, supported by both a fully adjustable fingerhook and thumblever plus flipper guarantees perfect ergonomics.

I heard from a few people that tried the horn at IHS 45 that it plays very well, and while I’m not sure what the price point is, it looks to be geared towards the professional/advanced student market. At a glance, the design is reminiscent of an Alexander 103, although the similarity may just be superficial. Looking forward to finding out more about both of these new horns!

In other equipment news, this summer I discovered the website for Votaw Tool Company, which specializes in tools and supplies for musical instruments. As far as the horn goes, they carry everything from rotor string (a good buy!) all the way up through dent removal machines and other specialty equipment. Even if you don’t need any of these tools or supplies, it’s fun to browse through the website and see what’s available. Looking at the prices alone will give you a new appreciation for the investment in money and time it takes to run a top notch repair shop.

Check back soon for a fall semester preview!

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