Beginner french horns usually range in cost from $1,200 to $3,500. Intermediate, or step-up french horns usually range in cost $3,500 to $4,500 and entry level pro french horns (still largely played by advanced students) around $4,500 and up.
There are several things that determine the overall cost of a french horn:
- Material - Student models will typically have durable nickel/silver inner and outer slides and yellow brass bells. Intermediate french horns will typically incorporate more copper content in the brass (gold brass) of the bells and slides.
- Condition - New or used, as well as any needed maintenance can determine the cost of a french horn.
- Brand/Manufacturer - Not all french horns are built the same. Unfortunately, some french horn manufacturers use low quality materials, which most of the time results in an instrument that cannot be fixed.
- Case - Quality french horn cases can range from $100 to $300 and should be considered when looking at the whole cost of the instrument.
- Features - Most French horns are either single F or double F/Bb. Double french horns will typically be a kruspe or geyer wrap. Some professional models will have hand lapped rotary valves/slides, and hammered/annealed bells. Also intermediate will sometimes come with a detachable bell for easier transportation of the instrument.
- Mouthpiece - A quality french horn mouthpiece can cost $60 to several hundred dollars.
- Service - Some organizations offer service after the sale, including maintenance of the instrument, school delivery and support of the school and community.
In most cases, saying "If it looks too good to be true, it probably is" can be applied to musical instruments. In other words, "you get what you pay for". While there are many deals available to musicians of all levels, there are instruments that are poorly manufactured and not appropriate for making music or bringing to a band class. It is wise to ask from a private instructor, music educator or reputable music store for guidance in selecting the best instrument for your musical needs.