Double French Horn Thumb Valves

You can improve your playing by learning about the double French horn thumb valves. Read our guide for more facts and information…

The thumb valves are a crucial component of the French horns which greatly impacts the sound produced and the playing experience. The ease with which a player can work around the thumb valves also determines the horn’s popularity.

This is why Conn, one of the most renowned names in the music industry made several modifications to the thumb lever mechanism for many years. Ever since their establishment in Ohio, they have been working on making the levers easier to use for people with small hands.

The older Conn 8Ds always received complaints of having larger and troublesome reach of the valves. Now the player can make the fourth valve longer by disconnecting the rotor stop and unscrewing the armature parts which is joined by the screw in between. This increases the length of the lever and allows the thumb paddle to come nearer to the others.

The basic idea is that pressing the thumb valve down will help you understand and pick out higher notes better. Although you will not reach higher range through this yet the process helps the player hit the right notes once you reach there.

Other methods

Professional players use their own way around the thumb valves. When they combine the F and Bb sections, they are working on the range from the 2nd line to G to third space C. This allows them to make the shift easily be it any note. The ‘shift’ can be understood as the way the particular piece is written and the tessitura of notes.

On a lighter and less technical note, the good news is that the thumb valves of the French horns made today are easy to use and flexible. The player can conveniently master adjusting the thumb valves and improve the playing experience contrary to the prevailing view that one cannot do so.

Most horns also come with an elementary fingering chart which the player can refer to when he/she wants to change from one horn to another. The finger rings given in the chart are there to help the player by providing a base line. They are by no meant to restrict the players as there are many alternate finger ringers which can be learnt by practicing playing the horn.

Therefore all it takes to improve to master your way around the thumb valves of the double French horn is practice, patience and persistence.  Remember and practice this to become a seasoned player.

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