I remember how our horn players fix the strings of their horns, its time consuming.
The other horn key option is the mechanical that I think is durable. I'm not a hornist, what do you think are the other positives and negatives of having mechanical key option on the horn?
Sometimes I heard them talking about horn's bore sizes, .460", .468", .470". I know the bigger the bore size, the bigger the tone. I dont know if student models differ in bore sizes. I will be glad if you will discuss the other importance of bore sizes. Thank you
Mechanical or string?
1. Changing a string is not really time consuming at all. I can change a string as fast a s a clarinet player can install their reed on their mouthpiece. You just need to know how and practice it now and then.
Even if changing a string was/is time consuming it shouldn't matter. Strings should not be breaking at rehearsals or concerts. Strings should be looked at every time you play the instrument and as soon as you see wear replace them (not at the concert or performance). And strings should be replaced every year or every six months regardless of their condition.
Mechanical levers avoid the need of having to change a string ever. There are different mechanical levers out there and some are better than others.
String Pros: If there is a problem with the string linkage you can probably fix it yourself fairly easily. Strings don't make a lot of noise, they are fairly quiet. Strings allow you to adjust the lever height quickly and easily. When your string does wear out you CAN replace it easily.String linakages are easier to work with. Strings allow you to joke about also being a member of the string section (ha ha).
String Cons: ? Don't know any cons.
Mechanical Pros: You never have to replace a string.
Mechanical Cons: If something goes wrong, you're screwed for several days until you can get the horn to your repair person AND until he can get the parts if parts are needed. Adjusting the lever heights needs to be done a certain way and takes time (some are NOT adjustable). Mechanical levers make noise, and use more oil. When a mechanical lever wears out it must be replaced and cost more than a string. Mechanical linkages are more difficult to understand and work with.
I have several horns consisting of string and different mechanical linkages. I prefer my string linkages. Regardless of which way you go you really need to be taught how to service whichever system you have by someone knowledgable.
This is a nasty subject and the reason why is there are TWO different 'bores' that 'them' could be talking about. There is the actual bore size of most of the tubing and there is the boresize of the bell flare.
The most common bore size is .468. Some of the handcrafters are making a .470 bore. Some horn makers are making a dual bore instrument where the F side is .468 and the Bb side of the instrument is .460. Yamaha has .472 on some if it's student horns. It is actually the tapers of the tubings that affect your resistance and air flow. So I wouldnt be too concerned about the tubing diameters.
The more important bore is the bell flare bore. When you hear 'them' say, "this is a large bore horn" they are not talking about the tubing but the bell flare/bell flare rate. Conn 8D's have a 'large bore bell flare'. Conn 6D's have a medium bore bell flare. Both are 12.25" at the end of the bell flare. The difference is when the flare starts and how quickly it flares out. Medium throat, medium bell flares give you some advantage in the higher range accuracy. Large bore bell flares supposedly give you an opportunity for a bigger sound.
It depends what you like. The general direction of orchestrals sounds HAS gone to the larger fuller darker sound but presently it seems to be drifting back to a less dark sound.
1. Is it difficult for an average student(or let say less than ave.)to reach higher notes on the french horns with larger bell flares( that give larger sound)? Do you mean altissimo notes?? Pls. discuss pros and cons of f. horns with large bell flares
2. Do you think the general direction of orchestral sounds to drift back to a less dark sound, may cause big influence on all kind of bands to use also horns with less dark sound??
3. I'm interested in the topic" taper of the tubings affecting resistance and air flow", please let me know more about it.
I've been able to get up to a high C, but it sounds too "bright" and pinched compared to the dark round sound of other notes in the staff. I've never restrung my strings and I've had my horn for nearly 5 years. Plus my horn was a hand-me-down that was bought used. I don't know very much about French horn cleaning/maintinence because not many band directors DO know that stuff. Both of the band directors that I have had told me they didn't really know diddly-squat about horns. I'm slowly but surely learning from a fellow horn player but it's a work in progress. LOL My strings haven't been giving me any trouble that I know of? What would be some signs that I need to restring?
@KingHamlet - The larger anything is the more difficult it is to go higher. This includes a large taper bell and a large bore size on your mouthpiece. Medium everything in the begining is best overall. We are not talking 'altissino' here. Many begining Horn players get to a D (4th line treble clef) without too much trouble, Many high school players can get the F and G at the top of the staff (students palying Holtons and Yamahas tend to get them early on more easily), advanced high school players shoudl be playing C above the staff (on any horn), and a professional has to have the D above the staff and really should have the E and F above the staff.
The pros of a large bell flare is the wonderous sound. The cons of a large bell flare is the work it takes to hit the higher pitched notes.
Orchestral Sounds: Yes, I do believe the orchestral sound is moving to a lighter more assertive sound. The lighter sounds pentetrates easier, is easier for the audience to hear, and belnds with the lighter sound the woodwinds are movign towards also. Many orchestras in American have already made this move. You will still have a need for the large dark movie sound, but that's where it will probably stay.
And yes, I think it will affect the overall sound of all bands.
To discuss tapers would take a whole lot of time. Working with tubings and tapers is an art form that takes years to understand.
High C is good. It will sound a little thinner for a while. If it sounds pinched it might be. Decide if you are thining out your lips and making them tighter to go that high or are you adding mor elip to the mouthpiece to support the smaller apperature?
Regarding strings- look at them. If they are starting to fray it would be a good time to get them changed.
To me, my strings look pretty dang good. There are no thin spots where they might've worn down, or discoloration, or frays. But they may look completely different to a professional. I think I'm gonna send it in to have a "check-up" after the beggining of the year to make sure everything's in working order.
I have a "Meister Karl Dressel" compensating F/Bb horn bought for me by my parents in 1961. It was the first horn I had ever seen with mechanical linkage. It was also the first horn I had ever seen with a detachable bell. Supposedly, it was smuggled in from East Germany. Anyway, I played that horn actively for 9 years (high school, college, and 30th U.S. Army Band). Then I played it rarely until I retired from work just a few months ago. The mechanical linkages still work flawlessly. I have oiled them every 10 years when not actively playing the horn and every year or so when playing actively. They do make a noise, but it is so very soft that I doubt that anyone other than the player can hear it. In any case, I think mechanical linkages are fine if they are like the ones on this horn, quiet and durable, and if the height of the keys is right for the player. But how to tell if mechanical linkages on a new horn are durable is something I do not know.