Would you please give an overview of the past and present Lawson horns (at least the F-B-flat doubles)? The Lawson Horns web site lists the Model 804. However, even a cursory web search turns up the following (confusing) list of used horns for sale:
804 Solo Medium Large
Medium Large with #32 first branch
Could you please provide a guide to how to interpret descriptions such as those above, figure out just what sort of Lawson is in hand, and roughly when each model was made? (The same information about descants would surely help many, but I'm not particularly interested in those myself.)
Kendall Betts Answers:
Walter had what appears to be an arcane system of numbering all of his products. It is very logical, once one understands it. As to horns, model 804 was given that number as the first F/Bb double horn that he made was in April of 1980. Other designations came later as addendum to that number. Your list:
804 Solo Medium Large - Set up to favor the B side with B210 lead-pipe - not currently in production
804NB - NB stands for nickel bronze - silver horn with nickel bronze bell tail and flare
Classical - Current model. Our version of a "medium" or "Geyer type" instrument.
Fourier - Current model. Our version of a "large" or "Kruspe type" instrument.
Medium Large - Early model like the solo but had a double horn FB 210 pipe
Medium Large with #32 first branch - Early model with large first branch but medium bell tail.
G - Ambronze (gold color)
N - Nickel Silver
NB - Nickel Bronze
YB - yellow brass
C - Classical
F - Fourier
So, an 804NBF is a nickel bronze Fourier. An 804GC is an ambronze Classical. An 804YBC is a yellow brass Classical. A 963G is an ambronze 963 descant. An 8211N is a nickel silver 8211 descant. Etc.
All this will go on the website when I get time to update it. I sometimes wonder if I should renumber everything: horns, mouthpieces, lead-pipes, all. But then I remember that I played in an orchestra that changed it's name to no good end so I'm going to leave this be!
Thanks for asking and best wishes,
Principal horn, Minneapolis Symphony, (Ret.)