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Thread: WTB Eb Alto (Tenor) horn

  1. #1

    WTB Eb Alto (Tenor) horn

    Hi, I am new to this forum. I'm 49, and learned to play french horn as an adult (several years ago). I played clarinet from elementary school through high school, then did not play an instrument for many years. While taking horn lessons, my neck started hurting all day (spine). I finally gave up on the lessons and put the horn in the closet (my horn's a Conn 11DS). Spine soon felt fine. I am playing clarinet again, but miss playing a brass instrument. I'd like to find an Eb Alto Horn to play, either at home for fun, or maybe eventually in a community band. I thought maybe an alto would be easier on my spine... but I cannot find one locally, other than a Jean-Baptiste, new for $399 - I'd like something of better quality than the Jean-Baptiste, without spending thousands on a new professional instrument (looking for a student Yamaha or similar quality). Does anyone have suggestions on where to find a decent used alto? On ebay, for the most part I see instruments that are either too expensive, or that are brands to stay away from.

    Thanks,

    Ann

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Oklahoma City
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    263
    What do you consider a brand to stay away from?

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Msan1313 View Post
    What do you consider a brand to stay away from?
    Since I have never bought an alto horn, I am just going by what I have read online... but brands such as Mendini, Merano, Durand, Cecilio - those on ebay that are brand new for around $200. Maybe I am wrong about those, as I have never played them. What I'd like to find is a reputable brand, used, doesn't have to be beautiful and shiny, but a horn that is in good playing condition for me to learn how to play.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    783
    Ann,
    Here's another point to ponder...an E-flat alto horn is generally not found in American wind ensembles. The standard instrument is the French Horn in F. So an E-flat alto might not be a welcomed instrument in most bands AND not much band music THESE DAYS is written for any horn-type instrument in E flat. If you're in a band that plays a lot of ooooold warhorse transcriptions, then there MIGHT be E-flat alto parts.

    If there is a British-style Brass Band in your area, then you are good to go. The E-flat alto horn is a British Brass Band instrument that the British call a Tenor horn.

    Why not consider an older American-style baritone horn (NOT a British Baritone) with the bell forward? They're not heavy and would be a nice fit in a community band.

    FWIW, I have a spinal fusion of L4-L5 and I can hold my compensating euphonium fine at rehearsals. ;-)

    Just all FYI
    Jim

  5. #5
    If you don't mind going to a larger bore, then an American-style bell-front euphonium might be just the thing. Here's a very nice Conn (one of the best brands):

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/CONN-BARITON...-/221581558210

    Or here is a nice King in similar format:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/KING-BARITON...-/221558008387

    These are the two brands I played during my public school days. Both are very easy on the body (much more than the horn I now play). The Conn is just a bit lighter usually (which might make it easier to hold up), but the King is built with a longer body (which might make it easier to rest on your leg).

    The larger mouthpiece of the euphonium (the horns above are often called "baritone horns") doesn't require as much chop pressure to play high, and that might help save your neck.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Snorlax View Post
    Ann,
    Here's another point to ponder...an E-flat alto horn is generally not found in American wind ensembles. The standard instrument is the French Horn in F. So an E-flat alto might not be a welcomed instrument in most bands AND not much band music THESE DAYS is written for any horn-type instrument in E flat. If you're in a band that plays a lot of ooooold warhorse transcriptions, then there MIGHT be E-flat alto parts.

    If there is a British-style Brass Band in your area, then you are good to go. The E-flat alto horn is a British Brass Band instrument that the British call a Tenor horn.

    Why not consider an older American-style baritone horn (NOT a British Baritone) with the bell forward? They're not heavy and would be a nice fit in a community band.

    FWIW, I have a spinal fusion of L4-L5 and I can hold my compensating euphonium fine at rehearsals. ;-)

    Just all FYI
    Jim
    Jim,

    Thanks for your suggestions! I am a little concerned about the lack of music written for the Eb alto horn. I had not considered a baritone horn - that's bass clef? I was trying to avoid that... when I look at note in bass clef, I still have to think "All Cows Eat Grass" and "Great Big Dreams For America" - those are the mnemonics my kids were taught when learning piano years ago. I don't have a particular band in mind - we have a small band in church where I play clarinet - a very diverse group of instruments and musical abilities. We have middle-school aged children though senior citizens in the group.

    When I first started learning french horn, I was in a community band where almost all of my music was for an Eb instrument (a lot of marches). I was not very adept at transposing on the fly!

    What is the difference between an American-style baritone and a British baritone?

    Ann

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    If you don't mind going to a larger bore, then an American-style bell-front euphonium might be just the thing. Here's a very nice Conn (one of the best brands):

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/CONN-BARITON...-/221581558210

    Or here is a nice King in similar format:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/KING-BARITON...-/221558008387

    These are the two brands I played during my public school days. Both are very easy on the body (much more than the horn I now play). The Conn is just a bit lighter usually (which might make it easier to hold up), but the King is built with a longer body (which might make it easier to rest on your leg).

    The larger mouthpiece of the euphonium (the horns above are often called "baritone horns") doesn't require as much chop pressure to play high, and that might help save your neck.


    Hm, maybe I will have to consider baritone or euphonium. Are euphonium horns and baritone horns pretty much the same other than the mouthpiece? Saving my neck is what I need. I miss playing the french horn, but the neck pain was worrisome. Thanks for the advice!

  8. #8
    A British-style baritone is usually an upright horn with up-facing valves on the side, like most pro euphoniums (but smaller). I think for your posture, the front-valve setup is better. So I would still suggest the American-style baritone/euphonium. Most of them use the small shank mouthpiece (like a small trombone would use).

    In general, euphonium music is supplied in both clefs, treble and bass. I started on trumpet, so when I switched to euphonium I used treble. Many start on trombone or directly on euphonium and usually learn bass. But the euphonium parts in brass band are always in treble.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    A British-style baritone is usually an upright horn with up-facing valves on the side, like most pro euphoniums (but smaller). I think for your posture, the front-valve setup is better. So I would still suggest the American-style baritone/euphonium. Most of them use the small shank mouthpiece (like a small trombone would use).

    In general, euphonium music is supplied in both clefs, treble and bass. I started on trumpet, so when I switched to euphonium I used treble. Many start on trombone or directly on euphonium and usually learn bass. But the euphonium parts in brass band are always in treble.
    Well, I have learned a lot here already; I came here looking for an Eb alto horn... but now I'm rethinking that. I'll check out some of the American-style baritones on ebay. Thanks again!!

  10. #10

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