I’ve been writing about my issues with my Hoyer horn for quite some time. It played sharp when I got it and it took a while to get it fixed. It is possible to play the Hoyer in tune now that it has a new tuning slide though I still have considerable trouble with the intonation. While I was waiting to get it fixed I had opportunities to play other horns many of which I liked a lot better than my Hoyer. I’ve also had a Dieter Otto 180K in Rose Brass on loan for the past month. If I didn’t have problems with the Hoyer I wouldn’t have been fiddling around with other horns and I wouldn’t have discovered that there were others in my price range that I liked better. In fact, except for the intonation problem I thought the Hoyer was a great horn.
I’ve been playing the Hoyer, the Otto, and occasionally my old Yamaha 668 and inevitably if I start with the Hoyer I switch to the Otto within half an hour. If I start with the Yamaha I’ll switch to either of the other horns pretty quickly so I know I made the right decision to get a different horn back in December and to sell the Yamaha. I find the Otto easier to play than either the Hoyer or the Yamaha and I enjoy playing it more. Several pro hornists have cautioned me about buying the Otto because it is rose brass and because it is not a well known brand in the U.S. On the other hand, several pros have told me that the Otto is a great horn.
Originally I was supposed to make a decision about the Otto horn a few weeks ago but my mom ended up in the hospital and I couldn’t make the trip up to Scott Bacon’s shop (Siegfried’s Call) until yesterday. I was also going to travel to Ken Pope’s shop in Boston and try some of the horns he has for sale and I wasn’t able to go there either. At my lesson with Scott yesterday I played the rose brass Otto for most of the time and then switched to a yellow brass unlacquered Otto 180K. Scott also switched me to a Laskey mouthpiece at the recommendation of Andrew Joy who uses Otto horns exclusively and suggested that I use a cup shaped mouthpiece with the horn. Scott listened to me play both horns and he believes that the yellow brass Otto is the better horn for me.
I went back home with both Otto’s on loan so I now have another two weeks to decide about horns. I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to keep the Hoyer. I’m getting more pleasure from playing the rose brass Otto and for me that’s most important. I haven’t had the yellow brass Otto long enough yet to know if it’s the right one and I keep wondering if there is something out there that I should try before I make a decision. That’s one big reason to try to get to Ken Pope’s shop in the next two weeks but with my mom in the hospital I don’t know if I’ll be able to do that. Scott Bacon is also getting a new Lewis and Durk geyer wrap horn in shortly and I want to try that horn before I make a final decision. That horn is expensive and really out of my affordability range but I have to try it so I don’t wonder forever if I should have picked it.