Looking for a New Horn…

I think I’ve implied at least of couple of times in this blog that I was in the market for a new horn, and the time has finally come to start looking.  On one hand it’s quite exciting to consider the possibilities, but on the other it will be difficult to let go of my trusty Yamaha 667v.  The options available are in my opinion better now than they have ever been, with numerous makers producing very high quality products.  With all of these options, there are a number of questions I will need to consider before making such a sizable investment.

  1. Current/Future Performing Obligations: In my current position I get to do a wide variety of playing, from solo and chamber music to orchestral (mostly 1st and 3rd horn).  I want to continue to perform at the highest level I possibly can in all of these situations (and others that may come up), so I want a horn that is very versatile.  I’m not looking to make any radical changes in my tonal concept, so that also helps narrow the field a bit.
  2. Budget: An important question!  I don’t mind spending the money necessary to get a great instrument, but I also don’t want to spend more than necessary to get it.  I don’t plan on going into debt to purchase a new instrument, so that is another budget factor to consider.
  3. Double Horn/Triple Horn:  For the last several years I’ve primarily played on a double horn, with a descant horn in reserve for those situations that require it, but I’m also considering trading up this time-tested combination for a triple horn.  My main concern with any triple horn would be versatility and the ease of transitioning between it and the double – I certainly don’t expect it to perform as well as a regular double horn in all situations, but I want the low F side to be at least passable.

At this point you’re probably asking “Well, what horns are you going to try?”  I’ve heard very good things about the new Hans Hoyer Geyer copy, the G-10, so I am interested in a trying one of those.  These horns are very reasonably priced, and if they live up to the hype, make for an incredible bargain on a top notch instrument.  Another horn I’ve been interested in trying for some time is Yamaha’s custom triple, the 891.   These horns have a good reputation, with a number of well known players using them as their primary instruments.  They are a good bit more expensive than the Hoyers, but if it’s the right horn for me I’ll definitely consider it.  I’ll post some more updates in the future as I begin the trial process, maybe even with some short audio/video clips for a back-to-back comparison of the trial horn with my current one.  I might also add that one great resource for anyone looking for a new horn is an article by Eldon Matlick, Professor of Horn at the University of Oklahoma. Titled “So you Want to Buy a New Horn,” the article is a detailed description of every step in the horn purchasing process.  It is linked here from the website of the Italian Horn Club.

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