A Review of the Smith-Watkins 'Solist' Tenor Horn by Arfon Owen. Solo Horn, Grimethorpe Colliery Band
I've recently been sent a Smith Watkins horn to try out, and I must admit this instrument is outstanding. The 5 inter-changeable lead pipes however I feel give me too much choice, and I'm forever changing my mind as to which I prefer.
In terms of sound, valve action and ease of blowing, this is a quality instrument, and I urge anyone with the opportunity to give one a go.
What I particularly like is the straightened lead pipe like that of a trumpet's, as the air seems to travel more directly into the instrument (sounds obvious really!), which really helps above top C. However, this does mean that you have to play with a perfect posture to get the most out of it. The valves are absolutely fantastic, and the sound is warm, dark and sonorous throughout the register.
This is not a sales pitch by the way, its just I've not seen or heard many people talk about these instruments as of yet. Whether or not a trigger is really necessary on a tenor horn I'm yet to conclude, but overall, a quality instrument well built and great to see a new instrument company moving the development of the instrument forwards.