Holton is one of the best French horn brands, so any horn that you buy from this company will be able to produce an excellent sound and will have a long lifespan.
Jupiter horns are known for their high level of consistency. This French horn brand makes dependable, high-quality instruments that are dependable and reasonably priced. Jupiter’s JHR1100 is one of their intermediate-focused models, but it features several features that are typically only found on professional French horns.
JHR1100 will produces a rich and full tone thanks to its rose brass lead pipes and lacquered brass body. Its also got tapered rotary valves to make playing a lot easier. Jupiter generally makes horns that have an excellent response and provide one of the best French horn playing experiences that you can get.
Jupiter is a French horn brand that crafts its instrument bodies with pitch accuracy and playability in mind. The JHR1100 is an excellent example of this due to its ability to produce impressive projection and volume. This makes the JHR1100 a fantastic addition to just about any musical ensemble. As an added treat, this horn includes a unique wood carrying case.
Levante is an upcoming brand that took the market by storm with this double French horn. It is an elegant work of art, and it’s almost impossible to go unnoticed with it. The great-sounding instrument provides bright sounding tones, and whether you are a beginner or an advanced learner, you’ll be in safe hands.
The Levante double horn is also very durable. This horns nickel silver slides show that its built to withstand the test of time. Unlike brass, nickel doesn’t corrode nearly as quickly. It has a clear lacquer finish and a relatively standard-sized 12-inch bell. This combination of features gives the LV-HR4525 an excellent volume and outstanding projection.
This horn has a .468″ bore, so there are no problems with airflow resistance here. Another thing players of this horn often exclaim about is its excellent amount of control and intensely precise intonation.
Most beginners are sort-of afraid to learn the double horn. This is because double horn is generally perceived\ as being more difficult to play. This Levante double horn, however, is an exception to this rule. That is because its much lighter than most double horns.
What makes it special? Levante maintains a reasonable price point for this double horn’s top-notch performance and high-end features. It is a pretty solid investment, especially for a beginner or intermediate player. It holds its value superbly over time thanks to its durable nickel silver construction. The sound quality and excellent volume projection makes it a worthy consideration.
It’s not all perfect, though. The bell on this horn does not move, so for some players, that is an area of concern.
6. [BONUS] Custom Horn Brands
If you have anywhere between $5,000 and $15,000 to burn on an instrument, then you could consider a custom-made French horn. When you are paying this much for a horn, you are going to get the best there is. It is important to note, however, that with these expensive horns come the need for extra care in handling and maintenance. This is because a custom French horn is often more delicate than its factory-made counterparts.
Here is a list of a few of the most respected custom French horn brands:
Since many of these horns are handmade by one (or a few) individual(s), the used price can vary from less than to more than the new price. Rauch, for example, recently retired — so his horns will likely appreciate for the foreseeable future. Lewis, Hill and Berg are, I believe, mostly one-person operations and so often have multi-year waiting lists for new instruments, so used horns made by these makers don’t depreciate nearly as quickly (if at all). If you get your hands on one of these — take care of it!
Depending upon the maker and the exchange rate (several of these makers are located outside the US) the new prices for horns by these makers can often exceed $10,000, and many make a wide variety of models. Paxman, Alexander, and Schmid, for example, each make more than 10 models of horns, including single horns, double horns, descant horns, and triple horns, all in a wide variety of materials, configurations, and sizes.
The Single French Horn vs Double French Horn
So, what is the difference between a single and double French horn?
Single French Horn
The single French horn has just one tube that is capable of playing a single scale chromatically. You can get them in F horn, the Bb horn, the alto F horn, and alto Bb horn configurations. Complexity is drastically reduced when designing a horn around a single tube. So, a single French horn will always be smaller, lighter, and therefor much more portable the a double horn.
There is, however, a major drawback that comes with using a single tube. A single tube limits a French horns tonal range, so that is why most professional players use a double horn.
Double French Horn
Unlike the single horn, the double French horn makes use of 2 tubes that allow a single instrument to be capable of producing 2 totally different scales. This is made possible by each tube having a different length. The most common configuration for a double horn is the F/Bb horn. In this configuration, one set of tubes is tuned to F while the other is set up for Bb.
There are several other types of double horn, including but not limited to the F/F alto horn, the Bb/F alto horn, the Bb/Eb alto horn, and the Bb/Bb soprano horn.
A double horn different from its single-tubed counterpart by more than just the extended range. One of the other differences is that the double horn is a lot heavier than the single horn. This extra weight comes from the additional tubing that is required to make a double French horn. Because there is more tubing, maintenance is made a bit more time consuming and difficult than compared to a single French horn.
What French Horns Do Professionals Play?
Professionals generally use the Double Bb/F French Horn. This horn is extremely popular among the professional music community because unlike a single horn, a double horn has a large range of options that make ideal as a versatile, professional instrument.