Bringing Horns Back To Life

I’ve done quite a few posts on more general brass or music topics over the past few weeks, so I thought I’d get back to my horn-nerd roots for this week.

Horn Repair Projects

John Ericson, horn professor at Arizona State University and half of the team behind the Horn Matters website, has been on a sabbatical for this past spring semester.

His sabbatical project was building/rebuilding three horns to playable condition:

  • Restore a King single F horn that John previously converted to a Gumpert-style natural horn back to good playable condition.
  • Take a Mirafone single F horn (with ruined valves) and replace the valve section with one from a Yamaha single horn.
  • Restore a Geyer single F horn to playable condtion. This one involved replacing a bell and leadpipe along with numerous patches to fix holes in various parts of the tubing.

This kind of stuff is interesting to me on several levels. The skill, knowledge, and tools required to do this kind of work are something that I wish I had developed more when I was younger. It seems incredibly satisfying to take a damaged horn and a few pieces of tubing and have a playable instrument at the end of the day (or month).

If you’re curious about what these kind of restorations/modifications involve, you can start reading the entire “Sabbatical Series” here. The first entry covers the basics of a what a sabbatical is – if you want to dive deep into the horn nerd stuff, start here with part 2. This project happened throught the spring semester, but you can see photos of all his works-in-progress on his Instagram page.