I am trying to make sense of everyone’s opinion when it comes to buying a french horn for my son, who is 16 and been playing for 7 years. One teacher says a King, another a Holton 179 another a Merker Matic, another a Hoyer 6802. The numbers and particulars don’t make sense to me.
Your choice of horn depends on your son’s intentions. If he is aiming headstrong to be a pro, without a doubt get the Hoyer. This is a professional-grade instrument.
If he does not intend to be a pro or is unsure, I would not recommend a Holton Farkas horn. At one time long ago, Holtons were considered a professional grade instrument but that is unfortunately no longer true. Even further, my candid opinion is that Holtons are no longer good student horns either.
I would instead would recommend a Yamaha. Your son can always step up later to a different instrument if he gets more serious about music or if he changes his mind.
There is no need to buy a Hoyer unless he is absolutely serious. A Yahama horn will suit him well into the college years and perhaps even beyond.
My recommendation aside, I do know of a few people who really like their MerkerMatic horns.
As a side note, my first horn was a King brand instrument and it suited me well until college. In fact, when my site co-hort John Ericson once needed a loaner instrument at Eastman while his Conn was being repaired, he used that King for a short while.
This was over 20 years ago. I have not played on any King horns recently, so I cannot speak from any authority on their current quality or standard.
John Ericson has posted something on this topic too that is worth looking at.