This instrument is a fine example of a vintage Holton double horn, built between 1972 and 1973.

Holton as a brand ceased to exist from 2008, having been first  Acquired by Steinway Musical Instruments Conn Selmer Division in 2004.

There is a marked difference in character and build quality of the earlier Holton instruments. This particular example has a very nice rounded and centred tone.

It’s unlacquered yellow brass, with the only evidence of any notable repair being the very small bell rim patch.

Otherwise despite it’s age,  this instrument is in very good condition.

This instrument is a fine example of a Holton double horn with detachable bell.

The horn has been chemically cleaned and had an Artisan Horns valve service completed. The result is an instrument with very good valve compression and apart from a few minor scratches to lacquer, the instrument is in overall very good condition. The flare does shows signs of repair and re-lacquer, this however matches the general condition of the instrument.

The horn plays with a clear centred tone, as in style with Holton’s reputation reliable and dependable quality.


Yamaha 666 was a flagship design, produced for only a few short years, before Yamaha superseded it with the Kruspe wrap 668 design.

A professional model in nickel, this instrument was shipped across from the far the far East and although in perfect playing order, had shown significant signs of use.

Armen therefore stripped down, chemically cleaned the instrument and carefully  began to restore it, transforming it to ‘nearly new’ condition. These instruments were (and still) are sought after by players looking for a larger bore instrument, with a open clear sound.

B flat single horn with unique Artisan Horn wrap.

This horn was created using new King 618 bell (fitted with Alexander screw ring) and original F E OLDS 4 valve section and levers. Compression is excellent with Artisan Horns AH1 mouth pipe and German made bows and UK made slides.

This horn is a responsive medium bore instrument which not only works fluently for chamber music, it also has a rich sound which focuses when playing  fortissimo passages.

Scherzer compensating double horn

This instrument arrived at Artisan Horns workshop, amongst a consignment of American made instruments.

At first glance it looked like an ordinary compensation ‘student’ horn. However after a thorough clean up, minor dent and solder repairs, it was clear that this instrument was carefully constructed and that it had a hand made gold brass bell!

The lead pipe had split beyond repair, Armen therefore fabricated and fitted an AH1 pipe, which seemed to complement the instrument’s narrower bore (around 11.78mm). The valves were in very good condition and when the first few notes were played on it, the horn produced a wonderfully rich sound, with both the F and B flat side playing evenly and without tuning issues which are usually associated with compensating horns.

The instrument also has a novel ‘hand turned’ stopping valve! This works but unless the player has an extended ‘stopped’ passage, it’s quite difficult to operate at speed.

The instrument is marked ‘Scherzer Augsburg’. research indicates the this company was a general brass manufacturing business, which after being sold on, was dissolved in 1962, when it’s then owner retired. It appears that this and the modern Scherzer trumpet makers are not related. (Information gleaned from GOOGLE. It is sparse and may be incorrect!)

Paxman 25L #4225 yellow brass, lacquered, brass valves with string action. 

Model 25 was designed and developed by Bob Paxman in the early 90’s. The dual bore concept was developed, in order to improve and ‘Equalise’ the resistance between the F and B flat side of the double Frenchy Horn. This was indeed achieved and coupled with the Paxman large bore bell, this instrument has an easy, free blowing feel to it. Certainly an excellent consideration for low horn players. 

‘As new’ un-laquered Holton 179 with yellow brass bell and mouthpipe.

This instrument was upcycled from all genuine Holton parts to create an excellent alternative to the renowned ‘Farkas’ model. The instrument has been fitted with Alexander compatible detachable bell ring.  Valve compression is excellent.

The horn produces a dark and rich sound, very similar to Conn 8D

Custom Holton 178 fitted with Artisan Horns AH3 mouth pipe

This instrument was upcycled and rebuilt using the body section of a Holton 180, coupled with bell section of a Holton 378.

As an experiment Armen Fitted one of his AH3 mouth pipes, to compare the difference with an original Holton pipe.  The result was a very slotted and focussed sound through the entire range. As a matter of course all Artisan Horns custom instruments also have the flares thinned to allow more responsive, resonant tone.



Alexander 103 – #14697

This horn is an excellent example of an Alexander 103. It’s built in gold brass metal and has a clear open tone.

This particular instrument has gone to a young man, whose playing talents have won him a bursary from British Horn Society. This fact is to be publicised in due course.

In the meantime, Artisan Horns wish this young man the very best of success, in the journey to becoming a professional musician

Paxman Model 40M – #10685

This instrument arrived at Artisan Horns in quite a sorry state. It had lain unused for some years and required a full structural rebuild. With such instruments, Armen seeks to restore ‘Sympathetically’. This means that, where possible parts are repaired minimally and very carefully, as there is likelihood of the brass metal splitting. In the case of bells, old instruments that may have been repaired too often, have ‘work hardened’ material that will not repair further, as the metal is too brittle to work…

Thankfully in the case of this instrument, the original spout and flare were (thin) but good mailable condition, allowing a very acceptable repair of the small dents they had.

However the mouth pipe was thin near to the hand guard and the two bottom parallel tubing were misshapen and brittle. Armen therefore created a longer chemise, to protect the thinned mouth pipe and hand bent new parallel tubes, to replacement the failing parts.

The work not only transformed the physical appearance of this iconic 53 year old instrument, it also brought it back to it’s full potential, as a professional alto horn; now in the hands of a very accomplished professional horn player, based in Switzerland.

Paxman 20M #3393T gold brass, lacquered, titanium valves with mechanical action.

This horn is an excellent example of Paxman 20M. The bell was made by master London bell maker ‘David Botwe’ and has been carefully assembled by Paxman craftsman.

The horn has been kept in very good condition; valve compression is excellent and there are only a few wear marks apparent, most prominently, inside the bell, otherwise lacquer is in very good condition.

The horn blows freely, slotted and focussed.

 The overall condition of the horn is good, with signs of lacquer wear and minor dent repairs. Otherwise the valves have excellent compression. 

Paxman 20M #3461 yellow brass, un-lacquered, brass valves with string action.

This instrument arrived at Artisan horns in good condition and dates between 2003 and 2004. The lacquer was patchy, it was therefore completely stripped and hand polished to a shine. Apart from the repair of a few small but prominent dents, the horn only required a full valve service; compression has remained excellent.

This horn is unique, for the fact that at a previous point, it was fitted with an original ‘Cantesanu’ lead pipe. This has enhanced the playability of the instrument, by opening and slotting the upper register. Surprisingly despite being a medium bore instrument, this horn has a very open and focussed lower register, which allows for very impressive ‘pedal’ fortissimo notes!


This instrument was on trial for some time with a professional London player. They were looking for a specific change to their regular instrument (Paxman model 20L) and after some initial considerations, felt that the ‘Cantesanu’ mouth pipe did not provide the open, slotted security in the upper register that they were hoping for.

Armen therefore suggested and fitted the newly developed Artisan Horns AH4  mouth pipe to the horn. This immediately provided a far more open and (even more secure) upper register. Interestingly this person is a long standing 2nd horn in two renowned London orchestras and on the strength the positive enhancement of the AH4 mouth pipe, now uses this instrument  in his daily work.

Artisan Horns look forward to feedback comments from the player, in due course.

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