My Horn Isn’t Pretty, Does That Make It Bad?

We’ve all seen a professional musician playing on a beautiful instrument, one that is most likely way out of our budgets. Sometimes we start to look down on an instrument because it’s not “pretty,” and I think that’s a stigma we should break.

Your horn doesn’t have to be pretty to play well. It’s just a fact. Many of us receive our instruments as hand-me-downs, or maybe the ones we bought used have some finish imperfections and don’t look new or shiny. This is totally okay! Many professional players got famous on instruments that aren’t the best looking, and that’s because it’s about the sound of your instrument. Sure, it’s nice to have your instrument look super sparkly all the time, but not necessary.

I like to bring up the example of Louis Armstrong’s first cornet. It’s currently on display in the museum that was his home growing up, but that horn has a lot of issues, from an aesthetic and a repair standpoint.

https://acloserwalknola.com/places/louis-armstrongs-birthplace/
Louis Armstrong’s First Cornet

Obviously there are certain things we must consider; if there is an aesthetic “boo-boo” that disrupts the playing ability/functioning of the instrument, it’s time to take action, but most aesthetic issues don’t affect the instrument in that way.

What I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t be discouraged if your horn doesn’t look awesome. If you enjoy playing it and it sounds good to you, that’s the baseline for what matters. If you’re concerned about the way your horn looks, bring it on in for me to take a look at! We can see if what’s going on has anything to do with structural integrity, or playability. We can discuss aesthetic-improving options. See you soon!