Paxman - Professional Model 40 Bb/F-Alto Double Descant French Horn

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Richard Merewether’s association with Paxman began in the 1940s when he approached the company with his ideas for a descant horn in f-alto. This eventually culminated in the Bb/f-alto double descant which quickly became and remains the benchmark for this kind of horn.

The current model features the original Paxman designed valve, which diverts the airway from a point close to the mouthpiece where the tube diameter is small. This allows both the Bb and f-alto horns to have the correct and individual tapers for both mouthpipe and branch. The two sides then converge in the same valve when the bore of both horns has expanded to match the final approach to the bell throat. The most recent horns feature a longer taper on the f-alto mouthpipe. This both enhances the tone and improves the intonation, especially at the lower end of the descant horn range, making the overlap between the Bb and f-alto horns greater and enabling a more flexible transition between the two sides.

The model 45 also uses the Paxman dual bore system, so the cylindrical tubing of the f-alto horn is fractionally narrower, evening the resistance between the two sides and further enhancing the sound quality. The stopping valve on the Bb side also enables the use of an F extension, adding the open harmonics of the low F horn and making the model 45 a very versatile instrument.

The model 45 has the Paxman compact valve section fitted as standard, making it both lighter and more precise in action.


  • Bore: M-medium, ML-medium/large, L-large
  • Metal: Y-yellow brass, G-gold brass, N-nickel silver
  • Bell Flare: F-fixed, D-detatchable
  • Lever Action: C-cord, M-Minibal
  • Valve Section: C-compact
  • Pitch: A-442 unless otherwise specified

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