“Is it heaven?” “Nein, es ist Mainz!”

21 November 2009

On my way to pick up my Mom in Frankfurt, I stopped at the Alexander shop in Mainz. Alexander, of course, make the best horns in the world, and the horn room (above) where new purchasers can try out a selection before taking home their favorite (kind of like the horn pound) is, in a way, the center of my personal horn universe. Oh yeah, they have plenty of other horns lying around and hanging on walls in other rooms, too:

What a beautiful sight. Someday (maybe after my first best-selling history book), I will come back to Mainz for the sole purpose of buying a new horn (or just to get my old one repaired and aged…still have no idea just how old it is). Personally, as a hornist and gadget-lover, I like this one:

It’s a bit hard to see around the glass, but that has 7 (7!) valves! I know, most people think we’re insufferable enough with only four valves, but this descant horn (Bb/F alto) not only has switch, drop and stop valves, but it also has a on/off compensating valve, which switches the third (main) valve from 1.5 steps down to 1 step up. And even at the crappy current €/$ exchange rate, it only costs $700 per valve! What value!

Or there’s always a plain old, boring triple horn:

Helps you play high and builds up your biceps!

Of course, it’s hard to leave without a decent amount of Alex stuff, but I sort of managed it (some things below are actually useful!)

Clockwise from top right: a hose attachment that fits in an Alex leadpipe for pressure cleaning (I’m so excited to get home to my horn and basement washtub right now); Alex 103 sticker (free with purchases); CD by the Alex-playing Berlin Phil horn section, strangely NOT for sale at the Berlin Philharmonie, but available in Mainz (completely awesome); Alex magnets (no, they still won’t stick to brass…stupid ferromagnetism); Really cool vinyl-bound set of horn quartet standards (while I’m still three horns short of a quartet, it’s a nice thing to keep in the music bag); another Alex sticker; leather, horn-shaped luggage tag with Alex marque (do I put it on my horn case, or would that be too obvious with the Mainz patch that’s already there?)


3 Responses to ““Is it heaven?” “Nein, es ist Mainz!””

  1. Abby said

    Mom says if you wouldn’t need a pressure wash if you didn’t blow sweet tarts into your horn.

  2. Amy said


  3. G & G Humbarger said

    We remember spending a half day with you in the music instrument museum in Berlin back in 1997. Good to see you still love your Horns so much. Maybe someday you can buy that 7 valve job after you are a DOCTOR.
    Love, G&G XOXO

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