Alto Horns

Alto horns are an alternate instrument to French horns for alto and tenor voices in brass and marching bands. They were a staple in the Reynolds catalog from the 1930s until the early 1970 when specialized marching band instruments took their place.

1936-c.1950

F.A. Reynolds (Cleveland, Ohio)

Model 80

Reynolds E♭ Alto Horn with fixed upright bell

Valves: three top-action piston valves
Materials: brass with nickel-silver valve caps and trim
Finish: polished brass with clear lacquer finish; optional triple silverplated, satin finish, bright silver points, bright bell or gold bell finish

Model 90

F.A. Reynolds Alto Horn in E♭

Bore: TBD
Bell:
8" adjustable, detachable front-facing bell
Valves:
three side-action piston valves

Materials: brass with nickel-silver valve caps and trim
Finish: polished brass with clear lacquer finish; optional triple silverplated, satin finish, bright silver points, bright bell or gold bell finish

This Reynolds creation is a favorite of players and bandmasters the country over. Tuned to the popular E♭ and designed in both Bellfront and Upright models, it gives a band that after-beat snap and rhythm that every bandmaster wants. The Bellfront model is especially liked for the flash and style it contributes to marching bands. Here is an instrument you have to see, play and hear to appreciate.

c.1949 F.A. Reynolds catalog

Regent instruments were made by Ohio Band Instrument Co., a subsidiary of F.A. Reynolds, using the same factory machines and craftsmen as the parent company.

Model 1215

The Regent E♭ Alto Horn with fixed upright bell

Valves: three top-action piston valves
Materials: brass
Finish: polished brass with gold lacquer finish; optional triple silverplated, satin finish, bright silver points, bright bell or gold bell finish

Model ##

The Regent E♭ Alto Horn with removable front-facing bell

Valves: three side-action piston valves
Materials: brass
Finish: polished brass with gold lacquer finish; optional triple silverplated, satin finish, bright silver points, bright bell or gold bell finish

The REGENT Upright Alto has been carefully and correctly designed to meet the requirements of the most exacting bandmasters. The tone is unusually rich and powerful, with even voicing throughout. The rapid response and reliability of valve action makes the playing of this REGENT instrument exceptionally easy.

1930s Ohio Band catalog

World War II

Throughout the 1940s, F.A. Reynolds Co. was awarded contracts by the U.S. Army Quartermaster for band instruments, becoming "a major source of supply for the Armed Forces during World War II." [1977 catalog] These instruments have a silverplate finish with unique engraving and a large "U.S." mark near the rim of the bell. Known serial numbers date production from between 1940 and 1952.

These contracts allowed the relatively new company to continue focusing on making band instruments when more-established manufacturers, e.g., F.E. Olds and Conn, were forced to shut down instrument lines and produce wartime equipment. Details of the contracts are not available, and it is not specified which service bands received the instruments, though anecdotal evidence suggests that the bands of the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) may have been recipients, having just organized in 1941. 

F.A. Reynolds Alto Horn (80) with USAAF military engraving and silverplate finish (c.1943)

c.1950-1952

F.A. Reynolds, division of Scherl & Roth (Cleveland, Ohio)

The Contempora line launched in 1949 with new trumpet and bass trombone models, followed by cornet and tenor trombone. A year later, most original "F.A. Reynolds" instruments had been rebranded on paper as "Contempora" instruments, including the Alto Horns, though they were still referred to as "Reynolds" instruments throughout the 1950s. It is undetermined if the "Contempora" name was engraved prior to 1952, so many of these instruments may look the same as the F.A. Reynolds models.

Model 80

Reynolds E♭ Alto Horn with fixed upright bell

Valves: three top-action piston valves
Materials: brass with nickel-silver valve caps and trim
Finish: polished brass with clear lacquer finish; optional triple silverplated, satin finish, bright silver points, bright bell or gold bell finish

Model 90

Reynolds Contempora Alto Horn in E♭

Bore: TBD
Bell:
8" adjustable, detachable front-facing bell
Valves:
three side-action piston valves

Materials: brass with nickel-silver valve caps and trim
Finish: polished brass with clear lacquer finish; optional triple silverplated, satin finish, bright silver points, bright bell or gold bell finish

The Bell Front Alto Horn built in E♭ is an indispensable part of all bands. Because of its graceful lines, the bell front alto horn enhances the appearance of the marching band and is preferred by leading band masters. The instrument is perfectly balanced, with detachable bell for fitting into a gracefully designed small case.

c.1950 F.A. Reynolds catalog

1952-1961

Roth-Reynolds (Cleveland, Ohio)

Alto Horns made from 1952-1960 should have "Contempora" and "Made by Roth-Reynolds" engraved on the bell.

Model 80

Reynolds Contempora Alto Horn in Eb

Bore: TBD
Bell:
8" fixed, upright bell
Valves:
three top-action piston valves
Materials: brass with nickel-silver valve caps and trim
Finish: polished brass with clear lacquer finish; optional triple silverplated, satin finish, bright silver points, bright bell or gold bell finish

Model 90

Reynolds Contempora Alto Horn in E♭

Bore: TBD
Bell:
8" adjustable, detachable front-facing bell
Valves:
three side-action piston valves

Materials: brass with nickel-silver valve caps and trim
Finish: polished brass with clear lacquer finish; optional triple silverplated, satin finish, bright silver points, bright bell or gold bell finish

Popular favorite of bandmasters and their musicians, the Reynolds Contempora Alto contributes flash and style to the band as well as dependable musical performance. Built in E♭ and with the fine Contempora standards of quality in both bell front and upright model. Available in three finishes of either model complete with case and accessories.

1959 Roth-Reynolds catalog

1961-1964

RMC/Reynolds (Cleveland, Ohio)

Sometime after Richards Music purchased Reynolds in 1961, the product catalog was reorganized. Old model numbers were replaced with a new scheme that incorporated an abbreviation for the type of instrument, e.g. "AT" for Alto Horn, and a hierarchal numbering system that reflected the grade of instrument, e.g. "01" for top-level artist instruments, "56" for student horns. To the best of knowledge, the instrument specifications did not change, just the model numbers. The new numbering system was used for the rest of the company's history.

Designed for punishing marching band use, these are excellent instruments to be played by concert band French horn players while "on the march." Contempora alto horns and mellophones are generally considered by users to be the best available for intonation quality and volume. Each instrument incorporates the finest Reynolds valve design.

c.1963 RMC/Reynolds catalog

Model AT-11

Contempora Bell Front Alto Horn in E♭

Bore: TBD
Bell: 8" adjustable, detachable front-facing bell
Valves:
three side-action piston valves

Materials: brass with nickel-silver valve caps and trim
Finish: polished brass with clear lacquer finish

1964-1970

Reynolds (Fullerton, Calif.; Abilene, Texas)

After CMI purchased the assets to Reynolds, background and low brass instruments were produced at the Reynolds factory in Abilene, Texas. There were slight adjustments to the model specifications compared to the Cleveland instruments.

Model AT-11

Contempora Bell Front Alto Horn in E♭

Bore: .468"
Bell: 8" adjustable, removable front-facing bell
Valves:
three side-action piston valves

Materials: brass with nickel-silver valve caps and trim
Finish: polished brass with baked epoxy finish

Known for having the best intonation quality and volume, these Reynolds background instruments please bandsmen with their big, satisfying sound. Even beginners find them effortless, due in large part to Reynolds' precision valve-making and scientific bore design. Each instrument is a beauty in brilliant brass; silver-plate with bright or gold bells optional at slight extra cost.

1966 F.A. Reynolds catalog

1970-1979

Reynolds (Fullerton, Calif.)

In 1970, Reynolds merged all production lines with Olds in Fullerton and sold the Abilene plant to Conn. In most cases, a horn would come off the California production line and become either a Reynolds- or Olds-branded instrument based on detailing and finish. Reynolds instruments made in this last decade are engraved "Made in USA". The Alto Horn was not made after 1973 as newly designed marching band models of the mellophone took over the catalog spot.

The Reynolds Alto Horn has been carefully designed to augment the French horn section of the marching band. If the French horn wishes, he can play the AT-11, since each instrument is equipped with a French horn mouthpiece and adapter. Following the marching band season, horn players can use their natural embouchures to make an easy transition to the concert band.

1970 F.A. Reynolds catalog

Model AT-11

Contempora Bell Front Alto Horn in E♭

Bore: .468"
Bell: 8" adjustable, removable front-facing bell
Valves:
three side-action piston valves

Materials: brass with nickel-silver valve caps and trim
Finish: polished brass with baked epoxy finish

The purpose of this website is to preserve the history of the F. A. Reynolds Company and the distinctive qualities of its brass instruments. Contempora Corner and contemporacorner.com are not related or associated in any way to the former or current F.A. Reynolds Company.

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