...or anyone else who has an opinion. I’m looking for a baritone for my nephew. He’s starting 6th grade, and this is his second year in band. So, he’s into it enough that he deserves a decent student horn to bring him up to high school, but not so far along that I can afford a shiny new Yamaha or King. I can find used Yamaha, King, or Holton horns that are pretty beat up but still (supposedly) have good valves for under $1,000 on Ebay.

I can also find some brands I don’t know much about, like Hawk or Mendini. These are marketed as beginner student horns, and that’s not bad in and of itself. However, a horn with poor tone quality or problems hitting the low register is a false economy because this is the time for the kid to train his ear as well as his technique.

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So, are there some lesser brands that might still be good if I buy him a decent Bach mouthpiece to go with it? Or, do I pony up for a better horn with a few dents and pay some more?