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Do you play the French horn but feel like you could be better at it? Consider if you have any of the best French horn accessories and how getting them may help you.
Accessories may not directly affect your playing, but they can make it easier. Then, you may want to practice more, which can help you improve your playing.
Best French Horn Accessories
Whether you just started playing the French horn or are heading off to Carnegie Hall, you need the best French horn accessories you can get. But the best accessories can vary from player to player, just like they do between instruments.
To help you decide what accessories to get, I looked at mouthpieces, cases, and instrument stands. I made sure to include options from reputable brands and at different price points.
Also in my search, I looked specifically for cases that fit French horns with different bell styles. That way, any player can find a good set of accessories to add to their collection.
Holton Farkas Mouthpiece
If you recently bought a French horn, it probably came with a suitable mouthpiece. The Holton Farkas Mouthpiece is an excellent option to help upgrade your sound without getting a whole new instrument.
It’s a heavy-duty model, so it’s fantastic for young students who play in a school band. Advanced players can also get a lot of use out of the mouthpiece, and it can help improve your sound.
While it’s not the cheapest model out there, it’s not as expensive as you might think. If you want to change up your sound but can’t afford to buy a new French horn, give this mouthpiece a try.
- Easy to play
- Great sound
- Nice design
- Suitable for many players
- Not for absolute beginners
The Schilke Mouthpiece is another fantastic choice if you want to add something to your current instrument. It comes in different sizes, so you can choose from a wide or narrow model.
Selecting the right size for you can help you get your ideal sound. Smaller sizes are better for beginners, while advanced players can select a mouthpiece of any size.
No matter which size you choose, the silver can help you get a warm yet bright sound. That way, you can project your playing over a large orchestra without having to overplay.
- Different sizes available
- Great for all levels
- Nice sound
- Easy to play
- Not the most affordable
Another excellent mouthpiece to try is the Yamaha 32C4. This mouthpiece has a medium-sized diameter, and you can use it regardless of what brand of French horn you play.
It has thick silver plating, which helps make the mouthpiece more durable, so you can play it for longer. The rim is also nice and comfortable, which is great if you have long rehearsals or concerts.
Like the other mouthpieces, you may want to try this if you don’t quite love your current sound. It’s also not too expensive, so you can add it to your collection of mouthpieces to change up your tone.
- Easy to play
- Good for many players
- Not too expensive
- Nice size
- A bit neutral
Protec Contoured Case
The Protec Contoured Case is a fantastic choice if you need to protect your French horn. It fits most French horns with fixed bells or screw bells, so you can use it even as you upgrade instruments.
There’s a lightweight frame that makes the case easy to carry. Meanwhile, the frame helps absorb shock to keep your instrument safe as you walk or drive around.
Inside, you’ll find a plush lining that won’t scratch your horn. The case also has an outside pocket to store pencils, accessories, and your personal items.
- Fits most horns
- Soft lining
- A bit expensive
Protec French Horn Screw Bell IPAC Case
If your French horn has a screw bell that you can remove, you have more case options. The Protec French Horn Screw Bell IPAC Case has plenty of space to store your instrument and accessories.
Its frame is similar to the other Protec case in that it’s light and can absorb shock. This case also features modular elements, such as a body block and a mouthpiece pouch.
You can carry the case using the handles or a shoulder strap. The materials inside can help keep your French horn looking and sounding great, and it doesn’t take up as much space as other cases.
- Plenty of storage
- Easy to use
- Absorbs shock
- Pretty expensive
- Not for fixed bells
Gator Cases Case
The Lightweight Polyfoam French Horn Case from Gator Cases is yet another amazing find. It has nylon on the outside, and the design keeps the case from changing shape.
You’ll get a removable shoulder strap to make carrying the case easy. There’s also a front pocket where you can store small accessories, like mouthpieces.
Plush lining won’t scratch your instrument, so you can leave it in the case and know it will be safe. And the outside of the case will protect your horn as you travel with it.
- Great materials
- Easy to use
- Works with most horns
- Front pocket
- A bit costly
Another French horn accessory that I’d recommend you get is a good French horn stand. The Hercules Stand is perfect for your practice studio as well as rehearsals and performances.
You can set your horn on the stand when you need to take a playing break and grab water or something. It’s also nice if you need to adjust your music stand or sheet music since you don’t have to rest your instrument on your lap.
This specific stand has a durable, sturdy base that won’t move around easily. It also features rubber foam coating to keep from scratching your instrument.
When you’re done with it, you can pack everything into a bag for storage and transportation. That way, you don’t have to carry the stand along with everything else you have.
- Easy to use
- Rubber foam coating
- Not too big
- Collapses down
- Doesn’t fit every model of horn
The On-Stage Stand is another amazing choice to protect your horn during a quick practice break. It features a durable A-frame that can hold your instrument without falling over.
EVA padding helps protect your French horn and the floor, so the stand can stay in place. The tubing of the stand is thick and durable to provide more support.
It’s a nice option if you want something slightly less expensive than the Hercules stand. But it may not be as durable as the other model.
- Easy to use
- Steel A-frame
- Good for many players
- Feet don’t lock in place when in use
How to Choose the Best French Horn Accessories
Now that you know about some of the best French horn accessories, it’s time to start shopping. I can recommend products all day, but you may need something different.
Whether you’re looking for a new mouthpiece, case, or stand, you should think about your situation. Then, you’ll be able to compare models and narrow your search to the best one for you.
Here are a few things to think about when looking for your ideal set of French horn accessories.
Consider Your French Horn
First, you need to know what brand and model of French horn you have. You should also figure out how big the horn is to help find the right size of case or stand.
Another important element to know is if you have a fixed or screw bell. Horns with screw bells will have a thick band around the bell, which is where you can unscrew the bell from the body.
If your horn has a screw bell, you should consider how easy it is to take off. I know someone whose horn has a screw bell, but there’s a dent near it, so she’s used it like a fixed bell model.
Assess Your Playing
When it comes to getting a mouthpiece, you should think about your current level and style of playing. If you’re fairly new to the instrument, you may want to stick with a smaller mouthpiece and get a bigger one when you have more experience.
To help choose the best case and stand, think about where you plan to play. If you’ll only play at your home, you may not need a stand at all, and you may be able to use the case that came with your horn.
But musicians who need to travel should get a sturdy yet lightweight case. They’ll also need a horn stand that’s easy to assemble and disassemble quickly.
Know What You Have
You may also want to take inventory of the French horn accessories you already own. Think about the current mouthpiece and case you use with your instrument.
Figure out if those accessories are supporting your playing and future musical goals. You’ll either decide that you don’t need any new accessories, or you’ll figure out what you want in a new piece of equipment.
Then, you’ll know what to look for when comparing mouthpieces or cases. The same goes for if you want to get a new French horn stand for practice sessions and performances.
Determine What You Need
As you look at what you have, think about what you need. Maybe you have a good case, but it’s starting to fall apart, so you decide you need something super durable.
You might also enjoy your current mouthpiece, but it might not help you get the best sound in the upper register. In that case, you’ll know to find mouthpieces that offer a good sound for high notes.
Figuring out what you need out of French horn accessories can be difficult. However, it’s essential for choosing gear that you will use now and in the future.
Set a Budget
Of course, you need to have a budget of some sort before you get French horn accessories. You can easily spend hundreds of dollars, especially when buying a new case.
As you decide what you want to get, research some options and compare prices. Then, you’ll get an idea of how much you need to save up to afford the mouthpiece, case, or stand of your dreams.
Fortunately, accessories aren’t nearly as expensive as a French horn. But it helps to have a budget so that you don’t spend too much on gear that you may not use.
Ask for Recommendations
If you want to buy the best French horn accessories for yourself, get some recommendations from other players. You can ask a horn teacher if you take private lessons, and they may know exactly what you need.
Another option is to ask a band director or another brass player, though they may not know about French horn gear. You can also go online and look at forums or Facebook groups for horn players, and you can see what people recommend.
Then, you’ll make sure to find something that meets your specific needs. And you can keep from wasting your time and money on low-quality gear.
Test the Accessories
Ideally, you’d be able to go to a music store and bring your horn with you. That way, you can test out mouthpieces, cases, and other accessories to make sure they work with what you have.
Alternatively, you can buy one or two accessories at a time online and return what doesn’t work. Either way, you should test out potential accessories before you commit to them.
Testing things out will help you confirm that you like how a mouthpiece sounds. You can also learn if the accessory in question will even work with your instrument or if it’s the wrong size.
Build Your Collection Slowly
Some French horn accessories can get expensive, including cases and mouthpieces. While you may feel like you need to buy everything at once, you don’t have to do that.
Instead, think about what you absolutely need now and what can wait. Then, you won’t have to spend a ton of money if you don’t have enough to cover everything.
You can add new accessories over time, and you can put things on gift lists to get them for free. Then, you’ll be able to slowly fill your new case or music bag with horn gear.
Don’t Ignore Used Options
If you’re on a tight budget, look at the used market online and in your area. You can ask local horn teachers and players if they or anyone they know is selling a mouthpiece or case.
Then, you may be able to get a good deal on an accessory in fantastic condition. In a lot of cases, used music gear loses its value, even if it’s still somewhat new.
So before you drop hundreds on a case, look around for a used case. You may just find your dream setup at a fraction of the price.
FAQs about the Best French Horn Accessories
Answer: French horn accessories can make it much easier to play the instrument and protect it when you aren’t playing. Without a good mouthpiece, you won’t be able to make a sound at all.
Having a French horn case means you can transport it to and from your home safely. And a nice stand is great for short breaks where you don’t want to put your instrument in the case.
Answer: The best accessories come from brands with a good reputation and a history of making things of great quality. Good equipment won’t break after a few uses, so you can get your money’s worth.
You don’t need to buy the most expensive options to get a good setup. But if something is the cheapest, it’s probably not the best on the market.
Answer: As long as your instrument came with one, you don’t need to get a separate mouthpiece. However, upgrading the mouthpiece is an affordable way to get a better sound.
You may eventually find that you can’t get the tone quality you desire with the factory mouthpiece. But there are tons of options out there that offer different sounds for you to test.
Answer: Similar to mouthpieces, you may not need a separate case if your horn came with a good one. But if your case is a bit bulky or thick, you might want to get something slimmer and lightweight.
You might also need a new case if the fabric lining starts to come off. That way, you can keep your French horn in good condition when you aren’t playing.
Answer: Of the accessories I covered, a stand is probably the least necessary. However, if you play in a concert band or orchestra, you may want to have one on hand.
Having a stand means you can put your horn down for a break without having to put it in the case. That’s nice if you have a break during rehearsal and need to get water or use the restroom.
Final Note on the Best French Horn Accessories
The best French horn accessories can make a massive difference in your playing. If you’re looking for a new mouthpiece, I’d recommend the Yamaha 32C4.
I’d also suggest the Protec Contoured Case and the Hercules Stand if you need those accessories. Overall, the Protec Contoured Case is probably the best accessory for horn players.
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