Horn Opinions

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by EIBB_Ray, Dec 3, 2003.

  1. EIBB_Ray

    EIBB_Ray Member

    I'm in a bit of a quandry about horns. Currently I'm playing an older Yamaha 202 that belongs to the band. I'm trying to buy a horn of my own and even thoughI'm not the best horn player in the world I think I might as well buy a quality horn. So, initially I thought I'd find a good used professional quality horn, but am having a horrible time trying to find one. I've limited my search to Sovs and Maestros and it would seem that once someone buys one they don't often sell it.

    So, my question is are there other horns I should be looking at that I'm overlooking now (either new or used) I'm trying to save up for a new Maestro, but if I could find a quality horn for less, I'd buy sooner.

    Anyone one care to chime in on makes and models that they are fond (or not fond) of, I'm newer (3 years) to the tenor horn world so I don't have that inate sense of which have reputations either way.
  2. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Absolutely not! Stick to a Maestro or Sov. There's been a few threads about diff makes of horn (but I haven't got a clue where they are now!) and the consensus allways seems to be Sov/Maestro good, Courtois bad, no other make worth talking about. It seems to me that most people on here stick with Sovs, but I personally prefer the Maestro - horses for courses I suppose.
  3. Di

    Di Active Member

    When we bought a horn a couple of years ago, we were in the same quandry, do we have a sov or a yamaha? I sought the opinions from independent retailers on which they thought would best suit my daughter. The one solid bit of advice we were given was to look at which sort is used in the band. At the time, her band (a youth band) had 9 horn players and they all used sovereigns, so the answer was, you should buy a sovereign simply because it would "blend" with the other instruments. Each instrument from each manufacturer has its own foibles, for example a sov may have a sharp first valve, so playing another sov would fit in whereas a yamaha would stick out and vice versa.

    Hope this helps. :)
  4. EIBB_Ray

    EIBB_Ray Member

    Yes, I'm very much leaning toward the Maestro, that's what our solo horn plays and the 2nd plays a 203, so Yam is an obvious choice from that respect (also a bit cheaper to buy) and the very reason I'm not going out of my way to investigate a Courtois.

    The thing I wanted to be sure of was that I wasn't missing out on an overlooked, under appreciated make, but it seems they are all student to intermediate horns at best.

    On another forum (forgive me) there was a question about whether Besson was going to release a Prestige Tenor. Anyone know any news about this rumour, any speculation that such a release would cause a ripple of available second hand sovs?
  5. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    they are definately.. but not anytime soon.. could be a year plus..
  6. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    yamaha are also developing a new line of horns too.. but even with the improvements i still dont think they will be close to the current range of sovs
  7. Lothianh

    Lothianh Member

    Hi Ray-

    Another option, which I'm sure nobody here will mention since they will have never heard of such a thing, is a Kanstul.

    [Insert lots of British voices saying "Wots a Kanstul, then??" here....]

    For those of you who've never heard of them, Kanstul is a brass instrument manufacturer here in the USA. Their instruments are used by a number of professionals, as well as marching bands, drum corps, etc. Their website is at www.kanstulmusic.com.

    Personally, I know nothing about the Eb horns except that they just introduced them recently, but Kanstul had a couple on display at their booth at the U.S. Open. You might check out their website for more info. There is also a dealer in southern Wisconsin, Hi Horns, you might contact, as I think he actually had the booth and would have the horns in his possession.

    All the best. And if you contact them, please be sure to mention that you heard about them through the U.S. Open - we'd love to have them back as an exhibitor next year! :)

  8. EIBB_Ray

    EIBB_Ray Member

    Good note about Kanstul. Actually, they also exhibited at NABBA last year and I tried a couple of their horns (they were in a prototyping process, or had just finished anyway.) My immediate reaction when I played it was that the valves were horrible. They felt like they were coated with sandpaper, so subsequently I didn't go on and play any more to check the sound and intonation. They are quite pricey horns, and I would have thought they'd have been sure to have a horn with nice valve feel on exhibit, but perhaps there were reasons.

    Not meaning to attempt to damn them at all, just one experience, one day. I probably should have checked it out at the open as well, but my day was pretty rushed that day as I drove to and back from Chicago that day.

    Other interesting thing about the Kanstul, is that they make a 4 valve horn, that they advertise as an Eb/Bb horn, so from my understanding this is not compensating, but an extra valve to fill in the missing low partials and give some alternative harmonics to use elsewhere in the range as well I presume.

    In my searching I found that Willson makes a tenor as well. Again, very pricey, I know they have a great tuba reputation, but haven't heard anybody talk about their horns.
  9. Lothianh

    Lothianh Member

    Yes, the fourth valve is equivalent to the fourth valve on a tuba and is an alternative to 1+3. I suppose that if you always had it down, it would make the horn a Bb, which would be why they bill it as "Eb/Bb". The main advantage of a 4th valve of course is to help in the low range, as it is better in tune and less stuffy than the 1+3 combination, but on a tenor horn it may not be strictly necessary.

    FWIW, our solo horn player (recently ex-Rogerstone Band in Wales) played both Kanstuls briefly at the U.S. Open. Her general opinion, if I recall correctly, was that the four-valve horn was better than the the three-valve, but she had no real idea what she'd do with the fourth valve ("I've never used one of these before!") and so the added expense didn't strike her as being worth it.

    I believe she also said that they sounded different than what she was used to, but not in a strictly negative way - just different. Not too surprising, I suppose, since she's played Bessons and Yamahas most of her life...

    She said nothing about poor valves or anything like that, so presumably they've fixed that little issue. Of course, Besson has had their share of issues with valves and "spotty" laquer the last few years as well, although I hear less complaints than I did about three or four years ago.

  10. EIBB_Ray

    EIBB_Ray Member

    Thanks for the info Lothian, I really probably should have tried it again.

    I can't see much use for the fourth valve either, other than the "stuffiness" and there are so few notes written down there it doesn't seem worthwhile to invest in a valve for it, I suppose it opens up a few interesting fingering options in other ranges.

    I suppose it would mean that we could now play the Don Juan horn part on a tenor horn (or a few other symphony licks) :wink:
  11. Lauradoll

    Lauradoll Active Member

    Sov prestige horns will be available from late next year (according to my very reliable source) along with prestige barking irons. The horn's being developed and tested by Owen Farr so should be a good un!!
  12. EIBB_Ray

    EIBB_Ray Member

    okay humour me, I can't figure out what a barking iron is.

    (I just know I'm going to hate myself for asking)
  13. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    (for some reason)
  14. EIBB_Ray

    EIBB_Ray Member

    thanks, kind of wondered after posting the question if that wasn't it given the author. Just another "self" depricating term eh? Like "Blat Weasle."
  15. asteria

    asteria Member

    Wonder who told you that then, who's developing the baritones?

    Can't wait until the prestige horns come out, probably won't be able to afford one for a couple of years, but let's just hope that they return to the quality of the old sovereigns and aren't just the new ones with gadgets & gold bits attached!!
  16. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    We had a session in horn class at rncm where we listed all the things wrong with the current sov and what we wanted on the new one...
    So all you horn players can thank me now we finally have our own "La Cucaracha" car horns fitted as standard. ;)
  17. Did we also say we wanted a large bore option Aidan lad?! get some right good blartin goin on!! smashin!
  18. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    ave it
    [arutunian]ne-ar naa nerrr ner ner neeeeerrrr,,, ne-ar ner neeeerrrr[/arutunian]
  19. Lauradoll

    Lauradoll Active Member

  20. jimothy

    jimothy Member

    Our horn section (of which I am part) play on Maestros currently. We're getting some new horns ASAP and they're gonna be Sovs. Say no more.

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