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Model: 403MA

Type: F/Bb or Bb/F double

Alloy: Unlacquered yellow brass, gold brass leadpipe.

Valve compression: excellent

Bell flare: detachable

Valve linkages: ‘Miniball’

Water key: conventional type, on the leadpipe. 

Case: a 2nd hand flat suitcase is included in the price; alternatively a brand new ‘Thomann’ compact case with back pack straps is available for £145 if the current flat case is traded in.

Further details: in very good condition, this is a wonderful Alexander Model 403MA, quite a rare horn that is ideal for a player who is looking for the ‘legendary Alex 103 sound’ but with less resistance than that of a 103. Incidentally, it is only the third example of a 403 that I have handled in 14 years!

The F/Bb ‘change valve’ of the 403MA is located centrally on the back of the horn, so that there is a sort of ‘ideal equilibrium’ in its weight distribution. The rotors turn ‘with the air stream’, so that only a slight glitch ‘between pitches’ is generated when a rotor is operated.  The very long leadpipe gives a very smooth legato, rather similar to that of a Vienna horn.

Other attractive features of this lovely horn include:

Crystal-clear ‘note centering’.

Superb valve compression.

A warm, ‘ringing’ sound, and a great high register.

Cosmetically, there are a few really tiny dings, having absolutely no effect on its playing.

NB Price check: this horn costs only about 61% of the price of a new one!  What more could one wish for?


Horn aesthetics: visual appearance.

  During a survey carried out several years ago by the graphic design artist and horn player Thomas Thü Hürlimann, more than 60 double horns currently in production were visually evaluated in terms of their ‘aesthetic beauty’. His final shortlist of 10 included the Alexander models 403 and 200.

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