Horn – Buying Guide, Opinions and Analysis
The warmth of the horn sound is perhaps one of the reasons why this peculiar instrument has remained within the musical taste. 200 years after its creation, it continues to star in pieces of great beauty in orchestras and giving its sound as a national emblem to countries like Switzerland. If you want to buy one and have little time to review options, the Lechgold 00054260 is a traditional model of the Alpine horn, tuned in B flat. On the other hand, the Lvssy 256-621-655 option may be the one indicated in case you need a valve one.
The French horn or French horn is an instrument of delicate manufacture, which implies applying very specific techniques in order to include all the acoustic qualities that characterize it. For this reason, when choosing a model among the many that there are, you must take into account some aspects. Our guide to buying the best French horn can provide you with more information on this, so that you can take home the correct option.
Before opting to acquire a French horn, the first thing you should do is determine which one is the one that has caught your attention. Although the French horn is an instrument that belongs to the group of brasswinds, there is a very different Swedish variation, which is also called the French horn and is made of wood. Of both options you will find different options on the market.
Materials and structure
One aspect that is directly related to the cost of a tube is the materials from which it is made. Among them we can find brass, but there are also variations of alloys with copper; both can offer durability and resistance to moisture, a factor that is always present when playing the horn.
In addition, the superior bathroom will also affect your final price. This can be nickel, silver or lacquer. It is easy to imagine that a horn that includes a silver bath in its finishes will be significantly more expensive than one that has only been lacquered. But also, it must be taken into account that its maintenance will be more complex, since this metal tends to change its color because it is quite reactive. For example, the pH of our hands could easily generate dark tones in it if it is not cleaned frequently.
Another aspect that you should not overlook, when making your horn comparison, is the gauge of the instrument. This feature is important because, depending on this characteristic, the tube will be more resistant to use. In addition, the tubes will be less likely to be disturbed in the event of an accidental blow; which would significantly alter the sound. However, as you imagine, this quality will affect how much the instrument costs, because its manufacture will require the use of more metal.
In this sense, you will find that the calibers of the most resistant instruments are in a range of 11 – 12 mm, while the lightest can approach 10 mm.
Sound and tuning
Unquestionably, in every instrument the sound must be evaluated, the horn is quite versatile at this point, since it is capable of emitting sounds both soft and those that can be described as harsh. However, its nuance will be determined by the manufacturing technique. Our recommendation is that you lean towards acquiring an option that has been prepared by a brand with experience in brass instruments; it will be safer that over the years their proposals have improved in terms of the emission of their sound and they could offer one that is good and economical.
Continuing with this point, we want to add that the projection and volume of the sound are closely related to the size of the bell; It will be the one that will be in charge of giving the instrument a particular nuance. In relation to this quality, the diameters can range from 13 cm to 31 cm, but you must bear in mind that this will also affect the portability of the instrument, and probably its weight. At this point you will have to choose between practicality and sound.
Another feature that should be taken into account is the tuning of the instrument. French horns are generally designed to be tuned in F or B flat. Depending on this, you will have the possibility to execute certain tones within the chromatic scale, which affects the repertoire of musical pieces that you could interpret, or implies that you would have to adapt them to the instrument.
To play the horn it is necessary to press some valves distributed in your body, for that reason they must be placed in such a way that they can adapt comfortably to the shape of the hand. Review the experience of users in relation to this aspect. It also analyzes if the mouthpiece is included in the purchase set, so that you do not have to look for one to start using the instrument for your practices.
It is normal for saliva to accumulate in the tubes of the tubes, which over time and poor cleaning can lead to sound faults, dull nuances, or incorrect tuning. Check what parts can be disassembled to facilitate this task.
Frequently asked questions
Q1: How to use a French horn?
In addition to correct posture, the vibration of the lips is one of the most important points to be able to touch the trunk; That is why the apprentices dedicate several sessions to develop the correct technique, to later move on to other important points of the execution. In addition, it is necessary to acquire the ability to master the embouchure, so that the sounds emitted correspond to those of the scale to be executed; it is very easy that despite pressing the correct valves it ends up projecting a tone that was not expected. At this point there is nothing left but to practice constantly.
Finally, for the mechanisms of the tube to function properly, it is necessary to apply oil to the pumps with a certain periodicity, in order to properly open and close the air passage. Similarly, depending on the use of the instrument, it is necessary to wash it with a solution of water and neutral soap, to remove excess oil and saliva that may be in the ducts.
Q2: How to clean a tube?
Although frequent cleaning is done with a cloth on the entire exterior, from time to time it is necessary to clean the cylinders, for which it will be necessary to disassemble them. This is best done on a soft cloth on a stable surface and done cylinder by cylinder.
You start by removing the upper cylinder boot. Then it turns over and proceeds to remove the screws that fix it. If the process has been correct, it can be removed without problem, to be able to pass a kitchen towel or napkin inside and dry the section well. Now, it is necessary to mount again to proceed to repeat the procedure with the next cylinder.
If necessary, the entire tube could also be completely disassembled, but it is not recommended to carry out this process frequently, since the screws can be damaged and it is a process with a high level of difficulty, recommended for experts in the maintenance of this instrument.
Q3: How to tune a French horn?
The tuning of the French horn or French horn is achieved through the pumps that are in its structure, which can be extracted or inserted so that the sound adapts to the musical scale. This can be done by the instrumentalist with the help of a tuner; But in case, despite adjusting them, the instrument cannot be tuned, then it will be necessary to go to an expert. He will be in charge of trimming the bombs to solve the problem.
Q4: What family does the French horn belong to?
It is an instrument that belongs to the brass family. However, it is one of the most versatile due to its wide repertoire of both soft and hard tones.
Q5: How to restore an old French horn?
Restoration will depend on the condition of the instrument. It must be verified that there are no significant dents in its structure. However, it is a delicate process that should be carried out by an expert, since he is the one who has the tools to be able to analyze the damage and change the parts or repair them, if it is the case.