Buying French Horns

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When buying a French horn, consider the experience of the musician, as beginners should look for a simple single F or single B-flat horn that only has one rank of tubing. Pick out the right French horn, which can range from less than $1,000 up to $15,000, with help from an experienced musician and music instructor in this free video on brass instruments.

Part of the Video Series: The French Horn
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Video Transcript

Hi, Doctor Steven Gross. I'm a professor at the University of California Santa Barbara and the director of the Wind Brass Percussion Program. I'm talking in this segment about buying a French horn. Buying a French horn is a process that is depending upon your level of development. With beginners, you would look for a simple instrument called either a single F or single B flat horn. This simply means a horn which only has one rank of tubing rather than two. If you look closely at my modern instrument there are two ranks of tubing one for a B flat horn and one for a F horn. To digress historically, the horn around nineteen hundred was discovered to be challenging enough instrument so that the B horn key in B flat was combined with a hornet F. So the two of them was put together and this is indicating by the two ranks of slides that you can see here in my modern instrument and by changing my front valve here I can switch using F flat. Usually the beginner does not have any need for a quote on quote double horn in both keys of F and B flat but a single horn is suffice. A F horn is often recommended for those looking for a mellow rich sound. A B flat horn is desirable for those looking for a clear ringing sound. After the first year or two, the horn player next looks at a double horn. Those of you are beginners, if you are a parent or an obvious student whose in fifth or six grade, you can often find these instruments as a part of your school band or orchestra collection. You can rent or just simply use these instruments rather than buy them but once you get into seventh, eighth, ninth grade, it's desirable to have a double horn. The longest tube for the lowest pitch instrument are on top and then the bottom rank is for the higher pitch of the two instruments with a standard horn, the F slides will be in the outside facing audience and the B flat will be in the inside facing the player. The cost for a high quality professional instrument as of 2009 can be in the vicinity fifteen thousand dollars or so and the student level instruments go down to a thousand dollars or less. So, happy hunting and make sure of what you do you do so with experienced guide.


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