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Details about  Paxman Model 41X Descant Bb/High F French Horn w/ A/E stop valve & low F extensi

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Paxman Model 41X Descant Bb/High F French Horn w/ A/E stop valve & low F extensi
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May 13, 2013
US $6,000.00
$125.00 Standard Shipping | See details
Item location:
Wilmington, Massachusetts, United States


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Seller assumes all responsibility for this listing.
Last updated on  May 08, 2013 19:47:47 PDT  View all revisions

Item specifics

Condition: Used : Split the cost with friends
An item that has been used previously. The item may have some signs of cosmetic wear, but is fully operational and functions as intended. This item may be a floor model or store return that has been used. See the seller’s listing for full details and description of any imperfections. See all condition definitions- opens in a new window or tab
Seller Notes: See item description


French Horn Type: Descant Horn

Model 41X Descant Bb/High F French Horn

Key: Bb / High F, w/ A/E transposition stop valve
Country of Manufacture: United Kingdom

Paxman Model 41X Descant Bb/High F French Horn with A/E stop valve & low F extension - last chance to bid!


Yellow brass horn w/ additional nickel silver bell, superior second generation design 


Offered here is a yellow brass Descant French Horn made by Paxman of London, England. This horn is a Model 41X full double descant horn pitched in Bb and High F, with a second thumb valve that controls an A/E stopping/transposition valve. The horn also comes with a low F extension slide that fits into the Bb stopping valve slide, as well as an extra nickel silver bell flare. This is a one-owner horn, ordered in 1974 (Serial number from Nov. 1974) and picked up from Paxman’s then-sole American horn agent, Tony Miranda in Feb. 1975.    


This is a “second generation” Paxman descant, a design which many players consider superior to the more recent “third generation” design. It has an extra large bell flare, called the “X” bell back then, close in size to the Conn 8D bell – perfect for me since I played an 8D at the time. In comparison to other smaller bell descant horns, I have always felt the X bell allowed me to put more air into the horn (giving it less resistance) and didn’t back up when I played on the high F part of the horn, a common problem for players not used to playing a descant.


I have used this instrument for almost my entire career as a professional horn player, achieving stellar results performing pieces like the Ravel Piano Concerto, countless performances of the high horn parts in the symphonies of Franz Josef Haydn (22, 23, 40, 44, 45, 46 (to high D#), 48 (Maria Teresa – 72 high Ds & 2 high Es!), 49, 50, 52, 55, 59, 60, 63, 72, 99 & more – (PS I wrote the Haydn Symphony horn excerpt book), Mozart 25 & 29, Brandenburg Concertos 1 & 2 (!), Bach cantatas, many, many Bach b-minor Masses, the high Vivaldi Double Horn Concerto, 4 Schumann Konzertstucks, Handel’s Judas Macabeus (just last year), Berlioz Queen Mab Scherzo from Romeo & Juliet, Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Wind Quintette (the English Horn part), and too many other pieces to name over the 35+ years I’ve played this horn.     


One of my least favorite pieces to play at the beginning of my career was Beethoven 2nd Symphony, with its treacherous cross fingerings in the slow movement high pitched E horn and A horn arpeggios – difficult at least until I figured out I could play them as F major and Bb major arpeggios when I used the high E slide on the double transposition valve. What a breeze after that!


For years I have called this horn my “cheap triple.” With the addition of the low F extension – the horn is essentially that, having all the open low notes found on the low F horn, but without having the extra weight - or the extra expense – of a triple horn. Back when I was playing on a Paxman 20M as my main double horn in the early 1980s, I found the low F extension combined with the extra large X nickel bell allowed me to get a bigger sound in the low register than the 20M – to the point where I used it to play the low section horn solo from Shostakovich 5 in an audition for the Baltimore Symphony 3rd horn audition. Since I came in second runner up for the job, it seemed to work pretty well.


This horn is in very good to excellent condition – no patches, a few small dents. The lacquer was taken off years ago. The valves have been rebuilt at least once over that time and seem to have lots of compression left now. I also had the high F tuning slide extended and modified to allow more ease in grabbing it to empty the slide. String action valves except for the two mechanical linkage thumb valves. I recently had the horn cleaned at Osmun Music and the horn is in great playing shape!


The extra bell flare is an extra large (X) bell from the Paxman descant of a colleague I played with back in 1981. When we performed Stravinsky’s Symphony in 3 Movements with an orchestra where we shared the principal chair, my colleague decided to play on his nickel Paxman descant, also with an X bell. To better match him, pitch and sound-wise, I brought my descant. During the usual – “can I try your horn” in rehearsal, we discovered that our bell rings were the same size – very unusual on the early Paxman horns. We wound up using each other’s bells for the performance, returning them at the end. A year later I heard that my colleague had his bell re-cut to accept a Walter Larson bell flare. I called him up and negotiated to purchase the nickel Paxman bell flare from him.


In the thirty years since purchasing the nickel flare, I have used it approximately 90% of time when performing on the descant. This bell is more weighty than my original yellow brass flare, and gives the horn more ring to the sound, as well as better carrying power. The previous owner also had this bell annealed.


The several extras included with this horn:


1)   Slide that allows you to play the horn down a half step into A and extension tubes that turn it into the stopping valve for the Bb side of the horn.

2)   Slide that allows you to play the horn down a half step into High E and extension tubes that turn it into the stopping valve for the High F side of the horn. (These slides also allow you to play the horn in High Eb should you wish.)

3)   Low F extension that fits into the A/stopping valve slide. Gives you the open notes of the low F horn by pressing down the 2nd thumb valve.


I’ve never had any problem issues with this horn in all the years I’ve played on it. In fact, over the years, it has convinced several players who have tried this horn to switch to an X bell Paxman descant horn. (They are difficult to find!) My retirement from horn playing is the only reason I am selling this gem.  I believe the horn still has a long productive life remaining in the possession of another player.


Look for more horn related auctions in the future - music, mouthpieces, mutes - plus a superb Englebert Schmid double horn in nickel silver, my main instrument since 2008.


Payment via PayPal. Shipping via UPS Ground. Maximum expense to buyer within lower 48 United States will be $125. Seller will pick up balance. (It’ll be packed up at Osmun Music, who know how to do these things!) Should the cost be less, the extra amount will be refunded.


Bids from outside of the United States will not be accepted without prior approval from the seller. Buyers outside US assume total expense of shipping, nsurance, and customs.


Massachusetts residents must pay 6¼ % sales tax.


PS Horn comes with black cordura gig bag.


Should there be no bidders by the end of the auction, this instrument will be withdrawn and not offered on Ebay again. Last chance! 


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