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Selecting a Horn

Selecting  a Horn

When it comes to choosing your equipment, I am a fan of the go-with-your-gut theory. If you pick something up and after a few minutes do not like it, it is probably not the best choice for you. In a world where there are just so many types of horns that exist and new builders entering the scene on a regular basis, it can be hard to know what you like and what will work for you.
A good place to start is just to try everything you can get your hands on. See what your school owns, what your friends own, and get a sense of what you do and do not like. It can be useful to make a list to keep handy, but at the same time, two horns that should be exactly the same can play very different. Also check out local music stores in your area to see what they keep in stock regularly and if they would be willing to get a few things in for you to try.
The best way to try the most variety is horn workshops/conferences/symposiums. The horn society website is the best place to find a list of upcoming events. https://hornsociety.org/. At these events, there are usually quite a few people who bring a variety of used horns they have for purchase, as well as several horn makers who you can place orders through that would have some samples for you to try. Again, TRY EVERYTHING! You never know what you could fall in love with. Prices vary so much with horns so make sure you stay within your price range, but do not be afraid to try something new. Leave your biases at the door and come in with an open mind.

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www.jamesboldin.com - James Boldin’s Horn World James’ site is an all around resources for the horn world. He has a blog that is frequently updated and personal information about his life as a teacher and performer. He also has a job listings page that has a current list of professional ensemble auditions and teaching jobs that are open.
www.hornmatters.com - Horn Matters, by John Ericson and Bruce Hembd This blog is a HUGE resource for horn players. These guys have arranged their blog by topic and they create new posts all the time. This blog is one of the most user friendly music blogs that I have encountered.

Overtone Series

Overtone Series
All instruments are created around a naturally occuring series of notes. Each fingering on every instrument allows a certain series of notes to be produced and that series is called the overtone series. With the correct setup and everything working in the right way, the attempted note should come out. However, there are various issues that can cause incorrect notes to come out. Have you ever heard a reed instrument squeak? That is a note within their overtone series that came out instead of the note they were attempting. On the horn, the overtone series on the open F side of the horn looks like this: (photo credit : Maurice Limon)
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