Written on: 21/12/2009
I needed to buy a horn for my major in college, so I went with the top of the line. While I was trying it out, it occurred to me that the horn sounded different every time I played it. Sometimes it would just PLAY and sometimes I really had to work it. The mouth piece that came with the horn is pretty big and deep. (Yamaha 53HL) I used an old one I had, and the horn played a million times better, but it put the horn extremely sharp. (Yamaha 48 large bore) The ergonomics of the horn are awful. If you sit playing with the horn straight up, it covers 2/3's of your face and makes it impossible to read music, and the horn is so short that you have to hold it up pretty high, which strains your arms, slowing down valve performance. The valves are horribly placed somewhere out in no mans land, you cant see them (I don't know why, but I like to at least see them). The valves themselves are horrible. Anytime I play using 1st and 2nd fingerings, there are vibrations throughout the horn which sounds like the springs in the valve casings are rattling around. (I have inspected them a million times, no matter how much you realign the springs this doesn't go away) Which almost leads me to believe there is a problem with the soldering of the horn itself. Continuing on valves, no matter how many times you oil them, they are continuously slow. After every practice, I wipe them clean (to get black residue off them) and oil them. (This still doesn't help) There is no water key on the first valve slide which is where most of the moisture builds up. The other major problem with the horn is the amount of suction it has. I always press down the valve that corresponds to the slide I am removing (lubrication, emptying spit) but this problem seems to be of Yamaha's nothing I have done. When playing a C# (treble clef) using 2 and 4 puts the note perfectly in tune, but using 123 is a completely different note. (I think a B last time I looked at the tuner) I know the point of having a compensating horn is to take advantage of the 4th valve, but it shouldn't be that major. In short, I would seriously spend about two weeks playing the horn before making a purchase; there are a lot of things to discover. I may have got a model that is defective, so I wont say not to buy the horn, just spend a lot of time with it.
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