Home Music & Audio Best French Horns [Buying Guide] in 2019

Best French Horns [Buying Guide] in 2019

by Jonathan Logtenberg
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Mendini MFH-20 Single Key of F Brass French Horn
Queen Brass Mellophone Frenchhorn Bb/F Pitch Chrome Finish W/Case & Mp Silver
Yamaha YHR-314II Student F French Horn
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Mendini MFH-20
Queen Brass Mellophone
Yamaha YHR-314II
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Mendini MFH-20 Single Key of F Brass French Horn
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Mendini MFH-20
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Queen Brass Mellophone Frenchhorn Bb/F Pitch Chrome Finish W/Case & Mp Silver
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Queen Brass Mellophone
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Yamaha YHR-314II Student F French Horn
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Yamaha YHR-314II
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The French horn is one of the musical instruments that I have come to love. It is easy, portable and fun to play. I played my first French horn during high school in a music class. Before then I used to see musicians play it on the TV. This led me to dream of playing it someday and find out what playing it is like.

As I put my lips on the mouthpiece in blew in the air into the instrument, the projected sound was harmonious. The ease with which I moved the valves and the ergonomic mouthpiece contributed to my increased love of the French horn. I have come to know that there are French horns designed by different brands and each of them has a unique feature and sound they contribute to the music playing. In this guide, we will learn about the French horn and types.

The French horn is a variant of the British horn. It can be described as a musical instrument that belongs to the brass family.  The French horn features an intricately coiled tube that ends up as a large flared bell at one end and a mouthpiece at another. Professionals in playing orchestras and bands mostly use this horn. The French horn is typically pitched in the key of F or Bb. This brass instrument is played by blowing air into the mouthpiece and regulation of the valves. The pitch produced is determined by the speed of air through the instrument and the lip aperture and diameter of the bore. Three valves control the flow of air through the instrument.

The French horn is a musical instrument that is interesting, fun and easy to play. It is portable and blends fine with other instruments. Since they are portable and easy to play, it is ideal for music enthusiasts that are making headway into the music sphere. Some popular musicians have played the French horn. They include Hermann Baumann, Stefan Dohr, Dennis Brain, Alan Civil, Radovan Vlatkovic, Barry Tuckwell, Dave Clevenger, Sarah Willis, Radek Baborak and many other popular musicians.

French horns are of so many brands. It makes it difficult for first-time buyers to find an ideal product. Even advanced players of the French horn may find it a challenge to make a pick from the many French horns advertised by different manufacturers. Given this development, so many buyers panic. However, there is no need to panic for Surf n’ Buy is here for you. To help make buying easier, we will review the best French horns in the market that are affordable and also provide you with the information on what you should know about them.

Strap yourself in and enjoy the best French horn to buy today and take your music playing experience to another level.

Top 3 French Horns

1. Mendini MFH-20

The Mendini MFH-20 is a fine product from Mendini’s collection. Mendini is a Chinese brand and one of the top French horn manufacturers. Many of their French horns are well manufactured. The company like many others is popular for meeting customer’s satisfaction. You can rely on their musical instrument for top-quality sound production.

The Mendini MFH-20 has a lacquered body and brass bell that gives it a sophisticated appearance and enhances its durability. With a .450-inch bore in diameter, this musical instrument produces great tones. The 12″ bell projects clear and bright sound while the 3 solid rotary valves are in place for smooth key action. If you are looking for beginners, intermediaries or experts French horn, the Mendini MFH-20 meets, is a French horn that is up to this standard.

It is easy to clean and maintain with a pair of gloves and polishing cloths. The added benefit of buying this instrument by Mendini is that it comes with a one-year warranty. The Mendini MFH-20 in the key of F comes with a silver-plated mouthpiece that is ergonomic for the mouth to make playing fun and easy.

The MFH-20 weighing 13.3lbs is lightweight to carry making it well suited for music occasions that require a long duration of music playing. What’s more, this French horn comes with an additional customized hard case for carrying and protecting it. This French horn is designed to help serious students learn how to play it. Because of the high-quality tone, professionals to accompany other musical instruments also play it. It is played in a church band, music group and many other music settings. If you are looking for a French horn, that has great features and yet affordable, you can go for the Mendini MFH-20.

PROS

  • The Mendini MFH-20 is a top of the line musical instrument that has a lacquered body finish to enhance its aesthetics and durability.
  • Played in the key of F comes with a silver-plated mouthpiece that is ergonomic for the mouth to make playing fun and easy.
  • Weighing 13.3lbs is lightweight to carry making it well-suited for music occasions that require a long duration of music playing.
  • It comes with a pair of gloves, polishing cloths and a customized pro-deluxe hard case to maintain the value and function of the French horn.
  • Features  a .450 inch bore in diameter, this musical instrument produces wonderful tones.
  • The 12″ bell projects clear and bright sound while the 3 solid rotary valves are in place for smooth key action.
  • It is affordable to buy.
  • Comes with a one-year warranty after purchase.
  • Has a solid brass body.

CONS

  • In the highest register, the intonation can get sloppy.
  • Not always satisfying for advanced players.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

The Mendini MFH-20 is a beautiful musical instrument for both beginners and advanced players. The solid brass bells, lacquered body design, mouthpiece plated in silver and the 12″ bell design offers players a topnotch sound to make playing lovely and fun.

2. Queen Brass Mellophone French Horn

The Queen Brass Mellophone French horn is a three-valve mellophone pitched in the key of Bb/F. This French horn is known for its top of the line features and affordability. The body frame of the Queen Brass Mellophone French horn is silver plated, which strengthens its durability and use. One of the best music instrument manufacturing companies designed it. This implies that this French horn lives up to the billing of rigorous use and excellent sound production. During play, you will find that the Queen Brass Mellophone French horn has a rich sound quality to enjoy.

Queen Brass has a lot of features that make it an amazing product. It is highly affordable and surprisingly its shape is not like that of a horn but circular. This French horn has piston valves and is designed to be played with the right hand. Nevertheless, one can still play with the left hand. Because the positioning of this French horn is more stable in the mouth, it is ideal for the marching band. One fascinating thing about this horn is that is designed to suit the hand of any player. It is easy to learn and play making it a staple for music studios and learners.

Music tutors can help their students master how to play the French horn with the Queen Brass Mellophone French horn. The body is smooth and well balanced to be held up high in any position. The bore has high air resistance, requires less adjustment to project a crisp and clear tone. It is easily cleaned and maintained. Unlike most other French horn brands, the Queen Brass Mellophone French horn does not come with a 1-warranty. It is great for a band playing. When you are looking for a cheap French horn with amazing features, we recommend the Queen Brass Mellophone French horn to you.

PROS

  • The bore has high air resistance, requires less adjustment to project a crisp and clear tone.
  • Because the positioning of this French horn is more stable in the mouth, it is ideal for marching band.
  • The body frame of the Queen Brass Mellophone French horn is silver plated, which strengthens its durability and use.
  • The body is smooth and well balanced to be held up high in any position.
  • This French horn can be played with right and left hand.
  • It is easy and fun to learn and play making it perfect for learners.
  • It is designed to be played by any kind of player.
  • This horn is pitched in the key of Bb and F.

CONS

  • Does not come with a one-year warranty after purchase.
  • You will want to go for advanced French horns as your proficiency increases.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

The Queen Brass French horn is a nice asset and instrument for players that want to add a unique tone to their music production. It is simple and easy to learn and play. Its chrome finish and sturdy body frame make it a French horn that is worthy of investing in.

3. Yamaha YHR-314II

There is so much to love about this French horn especially its manufacturer, Yamaha. Yamaha is a household name in the musical instrument manufacturing company. They develop music instruments using high-quality materials and this has contributed to making them highly durable. The Yamaha YHR-314II is a lovable instrument to have in your arsenal of music equipment.

One of the best music instrument manufacturing companies designed it. This implies that this French horn lives up to the billing of rigorous use and excellent sound production. During play, you will find that the Yamaha YHR-314II French horn has a rich sound quality to enjoy.

With its 472-inch bore, it projects an excellent sound and it is ideal for the marching band. One fascinating thing about this horn is that is designed to suit the hand of any player. It is easy to learn and play making it a staple for music studios and learners. Music tutors can help their students master how to play the French horn with the Yamaha YHR-314II French horn. The body is smooth and well balanced to be held up high in any position.

The Yamaha YHR-314II has a lot of features that make it an amazing product. Its shape is not like that of a horn but circular. This French horn has piston valves and is intended to be played with the right hand. Nevertheless, one can still play with the left hand.

The bore has high air resistance, requires less adjustment to project a crisp and clear tone. It is easily cleaned and maintained. Unlike most other French horn brands, the Yamaha YHR-314II French horn does not come with a 1-warranty. It is great for a band playing.

PROS

  • The bore has high air resistance, requires less adjustment to project a crisp and clear tone.
  • Because the positioning of this French horn is more stable in the mouth, it is ideal for marching band.
  • The body frame of the  Yamaha YHR-314II French horn is silver plated, which strengthens its durability and use.
  • The body is smooth and well balanced to be held up high in any position.
  • This French horn can be played with right and left hand.
  • It is easy and fun to learn and play making it perfect for learners.
  • It is designed to be played by any kind of player.
  • This horn is pitched in the key of F.

CONS

  • Does not come with a one-year warranty after purchase.
  • You will want to go for advanced French horns as your proficiency increases.
  • High price.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

The Yamaha YHR-314II is an exciting musical instrument to play. It is highly responsive, has excellent airflow, and is flexible. When you are looking for a high quality French horn with an amazing features, this is the one for you.

Types of French Horns

There are different types of French horns namely single horns, double horns, triple horns, and marching horns. Each of these French horns possesses distinct characteristics and special uses. They are suited for play on different occasions and players at varying skill levels. This section of this guide aims to clarify you on the types and makes of the French horn to enable you to understand better the French horn that you aim to buy. We will also explore the French horn types and what type of player, from beginner to professionals, and occasion they are suited for.

Single Horn

This is the most common type of French horns. This horn is operated by pressing three valves per rotor and is found in two keys F and Bb. Each of these single horns keys has varying and similar characteristics. The most seen and used type of single French horn is the single F horn. It features a classic and natural horn sound that is solid in the low and mid ranges. Owing to its low cost, lightweight, and ease of play, it is a popular choice for beginners and intermediate players. Professionals also use them but they may find it limiting as it does not perform highly in the high ranges.

Bb single horns are an improved version of the Single F horn. It is designed to offer a solution to the limitation in the higher range. Because of its affordability and lightweight, advanced players prefer it for high-end performances. Some of the Bb single horns have a tapered mouthpiece end that makes it ergonomic for the lips. Nevertheless, the Bb single horns come with their own shortcomings. In the low and mid-ranges, it carries a less satisfying tone. It also has an inability to play all of the low register notes.

Double Horns

A need for designing a French horn that is highly responsive and can produce desirable notes in all ranges arose. Hence, the double horn was invented. The innovative design of the double horn is that it has an ability to shift between the key of F and the key of Bb through the use of a fourth rotor. Double horns because of their versatility are a popular choice among intermediate and professional players. This is not an ideal choice for learners because of their heavyweight and higher cost. It also comes with a more complex design. Students can still use them depending on their level of dedication. They may also find it a better investment.

There are two basic types of double horns according to the way in which the tubing is coiled, known as the wrap. They are the Kruspe wrap and the Geyer wrap. The Kruspe wrap has the fourth rotor located above the three others when the double horn is played. This enables a shorter linkage between the rotor lever and the actual rotor. The Geyer wrap locates the fourth rotor behind the third. The linkage in this French horn is longer.

Triple Horns

The triple horn is an advanced modification of the double horns. While the double horn comes as a combination of the key of F and key of Bb, the triple horns add an additional key which is F alto. The triple horn is increasingly becoming quite a popular choice, especially for professionals as it has a better responsive tone in the registers. The higher price and weight may dissuade certain players from buying this instrument. However, some may find it worthy of investing in because of its high-quality frame and the exceptional sound it projects.

Marching French Horn

This type of French horn is modified to easily held and played in a marching band. The warp of the French horn is redesigned to suit play while marching. It is held and played in the style of a trumpet. The player uses the right to control the piston valves, which makes the tone of the instrument less predictable. It is a staple for beginners, professionals, as they are easy to play, and lightweight. It has a similar semblance to a marching mellophone and is keyed in the key of Bb. The bell is positioned at the front to make them sound more loud and clear.


Factors to Consider When Buying a French Horn

Apart from knowing the types of French horns, there are other factors of it that you have to have at the back of your mind during shopping. These factors influence how you play and enjoy these unique musical instruments. The different components of the French horn such as the bell, rotor, turning slides, lead pipe, etc determines the sound production and its playability. Below, we are going to look at the various factors to have on your checklist when you are shopping for a French horn. This is to enable you to choose the ideal instrument.

Size of Bell Throat

The first factor to bear in mind is the throat of the bell. This is the area where the hand is placed while playing. A small bell throat produces a thin and resonant sound that is easy to control. A large bell throat size gives way for the flow of a full and more open sound that is not as easy as the small throat to control. If you are a beginner, trying to learn how to play the French horn, you might consider going for one that has a small-sized bell throat for quick and easy learning.

Bell Material

The material the French horn bell is made from plays a role in determining the nature of the tone projected.  For a bright tone, yellow brass material lives up to this billing. In addition, it adds a very short response to the tone produced. Gold brass or red brass material produces a darker tone with a touch of less defined response. Nickel silver produces the darkest tone. This is the reason it is paired with larger bell throats. The materials also influence the French horn’s durability. Nickel silver is the hardest material, which is why it used on high-end instruments.

Detachable or Fixed Bell

This is mostly dependent on how much you travel, budget and preference. A French bell with a detachable horn is ideal if you travel a lot with your horn. They are detached by screwing it off the branch to be able to fit into a case (big or small) during travel.  However, they add to the weight of your luggage and the cost of buying the horn. A French horn with a fixed bell is perfect if you do not travel with your horn. It is budget-friendly and does not cause any inconvenience.

Wrap

The French horn primarily has two types of wraps namely Kruspe and Geyer French horns. Both have different positions of the change valve. The Kruspe horn has the change valve positioned on the front of the horn while the Geyer has its change valve located on the back of the horn. Kruspe horns normally have larger bell throats that make louder and softer sounds. They are mostly made from nickel silver material. Geyer wrap horns are normally made from yellow brass material and have smaller bell throats that make a brighter and crisper sound. Beginners and advanced players can find both French horns wraps interesting to play.


Conclusion

The French horn also referred to as the horn, is one of the oldest musical instruments. It is one of the most commonly seen and played instruments in an orchestra, band and many other musical settings. They are easy to hold and play, making them a favorite for beginners that are trying to find their footing in the musical world. Its ease of playability has contributed to the reasons why it used by music tutorials to teach their students how to play musical instruments. They blend seamlessly with other instruments to produce a sonorous and harmonious sound. This is one fantastic instrument to own.

The lacquered finish of Mendini MFH-20 and its brass bell gives it a fine and sophisticated appearance. It is lightweight and easy to play, which makes it well suited for beginners. Its affordability is another feature of this horn that makes it highly appealing. The Queen Brass Mellophone French horn pitched in the key of F/Bb is silver plated with increased durability. The high air resistance of the bore makes it produce clear and crisp tones. This is a wonderful instrument to have. The Yamaha YHR-314II French horn produces an excellent tone to enjoy. If you are looking for a French horn suitable for the marching band this is one to aim for.

At Surf’n’Buy, we hold a belief that shopping should not be too hard. It should be fun in every way possible. This belief has moved us to create this guideline for you. We did put in the hard yards to ensure that we provide you with all the essential information about the best French horns to buy today. We listed alongside their features uses and how they will affect your music life. We hope that at the end of the day, you will have a stress-free and effective shopping.

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