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Returning player - what horn to get - help?

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11 Apr 2012 15:43 #571 by James Howard
Returning player - what horn to get - help? was created by James Howard
I am a former player looking to get back into practice/performance. I would like some opinions on what horn brands to consider. Budget is a principle concern... here's what I can tell you about my "past" horns.

Played trumpet for 7 years and then switched to horn my last year of high school. I learned to play on a Conn 8D (school horn) and picked-up horn playing quickly. Became a much better horn player than I ever was on trumpet. Having only played horn for 1 year, I then foolishly purchased a 1970s Holton for college and loathed it - felt like it was small and I had to hold back a lot. Pre-internet days, finding a double in the newspaper was rare, so I jumped on it without really thinking about its size. Also being new to the instrument I didn't consider size, brand, wrap, etc... I was able to adjust and find success through college orchestra and wind symphony with the Holton, but never really "liked" it. Was not a music major or looking to play much after college so didn't want to/couldn't afford to invest in a different/better horn at the time. I sold the Holton and "retired" from playing after college - circa 1999.

Enter 2012 - have been wanting to play for a long while and have a fairly strong community band where I live. This is just a hobby/recreation so spending thousands of $$ sounds fun, and window shopping is great, but I just cant afford that. I've been looking at 8ds which seem out of my budget and am wondering if a 6d would be a viable horn for me. Or could you suggest additional brands? I'm sticking to the thought that the 8D was "big". I'm 6'4" and felt like the Holton was small. Maybe that shouldn't be a consideration. I know the rule is to try out horns first, but honestly not having played in SO long, I wouldn't know if it is my inability or the instrument's. I'm primarily looking at used horns online so pre-playing isn't a likely option. Any thoughts on Conn 8d comparison instruments. I almost feel silly saying this - but I'd really like to stick to the $1000 price range - give or take a little. Again, given it's a hobby, I just can't justify spending too much...purchasing anything is sort of a frivolous move :-) (I should have picked a more affordable instrument to attach to...)

I welcome any suggestions.There just seems to be so many brands, models, etc.. I know to steer clear of Chinese mass-produced junk (even though the prices are nice...) Right now I'm not sure what to look for... aside from lucking-out and finding an 8D at a rummage sale....lol.

Thanks in advance, it is much appreciated!

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12 Apr 2012 03:00 #572 by Brian Blanchard
Replied by Brian Blanchard on topic Re: Returning player - what horn to get - help?
I am quite the opposite of an expert having recently started to take the horn seriously myself after being a trumpet player for 20 years, but I did some research on double horns and found a great deal on a Reynolds Contempora. Based on what I read ( mostly from here ), it was designed to compete with the Conn 8D and somehow won the endorsement of a couple of pros, but eventually fell way short of an industry-wide favor. Later models apparently had sloppy solders and a few design changes (which amateurs and students might like, but pros would not). For this reason, you can pick one up fairly inexpensively and still have room in the budget to have the excess solder removed if you like.

Unfortunately, I have nothing to compare it to aside from the single Holtons in my middle school classroom and the double Yamaha I played for 6 weeks in college brass class 10 years ago. Perhaps someone around here has played both models and can give a good comparison.

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10 May 2012 18:02 #584 by Jim Engele
Replied by Jim Engele on topic Re: Returning player - what horn to get - help?
the larger bell horns like the 8D I think, are easier to play then the smaller belled or 'medium' bell horns (just my opinion, not necessarily true). Holton makes several large bell and several medium bell horns and you didn't say which. I'm guessing you played a medium bell Holton and in comparison to the 8D, you didn't like it. My point is, it's not that the Holton was a bad horn but it was the wrong specs for you. I'll bet, if you found a used Holton H179/H279/H379 they would be in your price range and would feel closer to your 8D. the Conn 6D has a medium yellow bell like the smaller Holton horns but the 6D has a voluminous mouthpipe and you might like it.

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23 May 2012 16:19 #589 by Rhodri Spearing
Replied by Rhodri Spearing on topic Re: Returning player - what horn to get - help?
If you're still looking there's a used Holton 178 for 1700 (negotiable). It has specs similar to a Conn 8D so might be ideal for you

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23 May 2012 16:53 #590 by Jim Engele
Replied by Jim Engele on topic Re: Returning player - what horn to get - help?
Actually Rhodri, the Holton H178 is very different from the Conn 8D. The Conn 8D is a large throat nickel horn and the H178 is a medium throat yellow brass horn. The difference between these two types is what I surmised to be the problem. An H179 is a nickel, large throat and would be comparable to the Conn 8D.

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23 May 2012 16:56 #591 by Jim Engele
Replied by Jim Engele on topic Re: Returning player - what horn to get - help?
If you can find a Holton H379 it should be more affordable than an H179 or a Conn 8D. The H379 was designed to be cheaper so that they could compete for school bids. the H379 is the same as an H179 but without some bells and whistles (but still with a bell, lol)

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