Resetting a Triple to Stand in F

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I did not report it here in Horn Matters but last year we were pleased to welcome a triple horn into the horn inventory at Arizona State. It is a Willson, more on that in a second, but the key thing that was holding up more use of the horn here was that it stood in Bb.

Willson-triple-change-valveMy own triple is a similar Paxman compensating triple (photo and general info on descant and triple horns here; more specific to the compensating triple here) and it is set up to easily switch to stand in low F or Bb. This photo shows not only how cramped the change valve area is on the Willson but also shows actually there was a solution. Most horn valves are built in such a way that the stop arm fits on the valve stem only one way. Willson had set up this valve however so that you can remove the stop arm and set it 45 degrees from where it was. The stem is square in other words and with it set in a new position the horn stands in low F! Making the adjustment was not particularly easy with all the Allen screws and the tight space, but very worth the effort.

Willson-tripleThis horn itself ended up at a local music store and I am very glad it ultimately made it to ASU. How it got to Arizona has to do with marketing and Willson pulling out of the US market. I think above all though nobody over here had figured out how to get it to stand in F and also how to fix the high B which was terribly flat. I noted though that the 1st valve compensating slide was a little shorter than the high F second valve slide and switched them, which has done the trick. This horn is ready for Beethoven 7!


I will be giving the horn a very thorough test over the next few weeks with lessons and Mannheim Steamroller, among other playing. The high C is wonderful, and the general impression is much better now that I can play it with the fingerings I am used to.

Finally, I would note my E-book on descant and triple horns, described further here and published through Horn Notes Edition.

University of Horn Matters