Holton H181

Holton H181    00:34 on Saturday, January 3, 2009          

(23 points)
Posted by hornboy90

Has anybody here had the chance to play a Holton H181 (rose brass model of the H179)? Or on any rose brass horn for that matter? And if so, how was it?

Re: Holton H181    14:17 on Friday, January 30, 2009          

(49 points)
Posted by FireStarter123

I have! I thought it was incredible. It was definitely one of the better horns that I've played. I'll give a little tip: Holton Farkas brand horns are the best and unmatched. The only disadvantage that they have compared to other horns is that a Holton Farkas costs a bit more.

Re: Holton H181    14:43 on Friday, January 30, 2009          

(23 points)
Posted by hornboy90

Are they really (as far as how it plays)?

I recently went to the 2009 NAMM show, and I went to the Conn-Selmer booth. They had a couple 8D's and a H179. No H181's though... I played the H179, figuring that it would be a lot alike the H181, but it was super stuffy. It got worse in the high register. I'm thinking that maybe they just happened to pick a bad horn from the crop, but it made me think twice about purchasing a Holton Farkas regardless... I'm actually saving up right now for a rose brass horn. Either the H181 or a Conn 8DR.

Re: Holton H181    15:34 on Friday, January 30, 2009          

(1279 points)
Posted by JOhnlovemusic

Rose brass is nice. It seems to be the big trend right now. I don't kow any top notch players in any major symphonies playing on them but I do know a fair number of professionals that are playing them. I think it is only going to be a fad.

I do not think Holtons are the best horn out there. Not even close. However, they are a very good horn and have their place. The one you played in the Conn Selmer booth may not have been the best Holton 179. I don't want to point fingers but they could have easily adjusted the valves so they did not open and close to their proper positions, and that would acocunt for stuffiness and lack of upper range. Holtons tend to be very good in the upper range (better than most).

I have played quite a few Holtons. I find them very accurate and easy to hit the notes, especially the higher register. Unfortunately, I do not find them as 'musical' as other horns and I don't think you can play as loud on them as other horns. I also find their tone a little stuffy or dead, but they are a good horn that has it's place.

I will say the same thing about Conns (from 1970 to the present). The older ones gefore 1970 are mostly well crafted.

Although the most horns are mass produced there is still a bit of assembly done by hand. And each horn is different. So if you are going to buy one; try and play several and pick the one that suits you best. If your desire is to play through high school and college feel free to get a Holton. If you wish to go further may I suggest you look into the Yamaha 668N, or Atkinson models (Marks company can put a rose bell on any horn you want),. If you want a new horn look into Yamaha, Atkinson, Paxman, Hoyer, Alexander, E. Schmid, and Conn. If you are happy with an older horn look at older Conns, Paxman, Alexander, Geyer, Older King Eroicas, and Kruspe.

If you have the money Lawsons are nice sounding but seem to be limited. Also the valves and casings are so sensitive a minor bump can make the horn unplayable and I have been told the valves are not repairable but have to be replaced.

Custom Horns: Don't be taken in by any title any company puts on their horn. A "Yamaha Custom Horn" is not a custom horn. It is only the title of one of their lines. A custom horn is just that, a custom horn. And it is made with the craftsman and the player communicating with each other over a long period of time. It includes taking the horn apart, cutting, bending, putting it back together. Playing. takign it apart again, etc etc etc. Very few people have "custom horns". They are expensive and tend to be specific task oriented.

Yamaha and other companies put titles on their horns and charge thousands more for their "custom" or "professional", or "Artist" series. Mostly they are the same only with engravings on the caps, or hollow rotors instead of solid rotors.

And while I am ranting - solid fixed bells always sound better than screw or detachable bells.

Decide where you want to go to college and find out what brand horn they are playing there.

Re: Holton H181    11:55 on Saturday, January 31, 2009          

(23 points)
Posted by hornboy90

I went to the Yamaha booth also. They brought their YHR-668, and YHR-667. Both were fantastic horns.

One other thing that I forgot to mention about the Conn-Selmer booth: they also brought a V8D. The V8D is supposed to be sort of a replica of the old Elkhart 8D's. It's got a light weight bell, gold plated rotor & engraved rotor caps, and a few other bells & whistles. The horn had a beautiful tone, and the response was like none other. The Conn representative told me that they are only making about 100 of those gems a year. The one that I played there was #30. The cost is another story...

If I had to rank the horns that I had played there, they would be as follows:

1st place-Yamaha (both models)
2nd-Conn 8D & V8D
A very close 3rd-Holton H179
4th-Jupiter (I don't remember what model, but it was pretty bad)

Tone & Response
1st- Both the 8D & V8D
2nd- Both Yamaha models
3rd- Holton H179
4th- Jupiter (once again, mediocre)

Ease of the different registers
1st- 8D & V8D
2nd- Both Yamaha models
3rd- Holton H179
4th- Jupiter (notice a trend?)

1st- It's a tie: 8D, V8D, both Yamaha models, and the H179. All of those horns felt sturdy, and looked like they would be playable for countless years, if well taken care of.

Note that this is only my opinion, I am not an expert, and what I may think is a great horn, you may think not & vice versa.

It would still be nice to hear other people's experiences with a rose brass horn though.

Re: Holton H181    18:34 on Saturday, January 31, 2009          

(1279 points)
Posted by JOhnlovemusic

Rose brass is a delicate nuance to your playing.
I have not played the V8D's. but with the conn bell flare the way it is that has got to be the best Rose brass bell. (And conn has years and years of experience working with the Rose brass metal on other instruments.

If you have the money, you might want to get a Conn 8D and then send it to Patterson Horn works and have him change the leadpipe and extention tube. Then you would have a wonderful horn. Patterson does great work.

Re: Holton H181    00:49 on Monday, June 15, 2009          

(1 point)
Posted by Madison1812

I have played this horn before at which my school has one. H181 had a beautiful broad sound even though I had many problems with it. The color I always thought looked very nice and the keys were very firm. I would tell a horn player to try this horn because I believe that if you sound beautiful, the horn will sound beautiful.


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