The JP161 single French horn is designed for children as it is a ‘small wrap’ so it is essentially smaller than a full size horn, the reason for that is so a child can put their right hand correctly into the bell whilst maintaining the correct posture for playing.
There is still some debate amongst many French Horn teachers as to which ‘side’ to start new pupils on, ie the ‘Bb’ or the ‘F’ side, this is just basically different fingering for the same notes with the Bb side being easier to pitch rather than the F side. The JP161 is the Bb side and the JP162 is the F side, however both horns still read horn in F music and transpose a 5th which can be confusing for some!
As a horn player you have to learn both sides of the horn so it is worth checking with your proposed teacher that you buy the correct single horn as some teachers only teach the Bb side and others only the F side.
The JP161 has been carefully designed as a small wrap to make it ideal for children to hold and with the addition of the adjustable finger ring and ducks foot which can be adjusted to fit even the smallest of hands.
Mechanical (ball & socket) linkage ensures that the valve mechanism is robust and reliable.
The JP161 is the best student instrument I have tried by a long way. For a young horn player there are many good things about it, not least the case.
The instrument is made in China. Many of you might switch off at this point having come across Chinese instruments in the past. But it would be a mistake to tar this horn with the same brush, as I was impressed with the very high quality - it is solidly built and seems very robust The handgrip is well thought out, incorporating both a finger hook and a ducks foot, which can be adjusted to suit any size of hand (even mine).
Unlike most student models where third valve slides can be broken easily, all the slides are well thought out to avoid unnecessary damage. It has a rose brass leadpipe and is lacquer finished. With regard to playing, it has excellent response throughout the range, plays pretty well in tune and the valve action is very precise.
There are two schools of thought on starting beginners on the French Horn, one is that it is better to start players off on the F horn as this cultivates the best horn sound. The other thinks it is better to start beginners on the B flat horn, as pitching is easier, thus enabling a pupil to make quicker progress. This instrument is pitched in B flat and has been specifically designed to have a small wrap making it easier to hold and therefore particularly suitable for young players.
Having been impressed with the original JP161 and JP162 I was keen to try out the new versions which have had a total redesign. They did not disappoint… the build feels even more solid, valves are good and not prone to stick if not used (a problem with many beginner instruments). The newly designed ducks foot and adjustable finger hook are a much better design, making it easy to find a comfortable hand position to suit any size hand. They also stay fixed on the instrument rather than having to be removed to fit in the case.
The instruments themselves blow very freely with a clear resonant sound. They are capable of producing a lovely even sound across the range. The high and low registers are both much improved on this new model.
If you thought the original instruments were good these are even better and for such an incredible price! They even come with a respectable lightweight backpack-style case which has reflector strips on it.
Either the JP161/JP162 would make an excellent choice for any beginner.
The JP161 is supplied in a high quality lightweight case with backpack straps and comes with a JP612 mouthpiece, bottle of Ultra Pure valve oil and a maintenance guide to help you keep your instrument in top playing order.