The alphorn makers

Without alphorn makers there would be no alphorns. Reliable figures on the alphorn industry are not available, but based on the information I have, I estimate the annual global production to be about 1,000 alphorns and the turnover to be 2.5-3 million CHF. No one is going to get rich doing this. After many hours of work for an instrument, the bottom line is a modest hourly wage. In return, you can feel a lot of passion and pride about the product among the alphorn farmers. They also deserve the appreciation and some gratitude of the alphorn players.

Alphorn making has evolved over the years. The first revolution took place in the first half of the 20th century, when individual craftsmen, on the initiative of the Federal Association of Yodelers, developed the rustic horns into musical instruments. The second revolution happened at the turn of the millennium with the introduction of modern production methods. Twenty years ago, alphorns were built almost exclusively by hand; today, most professional companies use modern CNC machines.

The scene is currently undergoing a generational change. Many well-known alphorn makers have reached the autumn of their professional activity. Individuals succeeded in passing the baton to the next generation, others will try, and some will close up store. New businesses appear on the map. The first female alphorn makers have also been spotted (here in the 1980s).

For beginners it is almost impossible to get an overview of the range of alphorns. Although on the Internet you can quickly find a list of producers. But the websites give only an unreliable picture and reveal little about the differences between the horns. To fill this gap, I have created portraits of various alphorn builders (currently still in masculine) below. On the one hand, they are intended to document the breadth of the different philosophies, and on the other hand, to make it easier for interested alphorn players to make a preliminary selection when looking for a suitable instrument. The portraits are linked in the list below. A note: the comment function is activated in each case; well-founded personal impressions are certainly valuable for other visitors.

Who PortraitWhere
Aebi Herzogenbuchsee (BE)
AlpFlyingHornYverdon (VD)
BachmannEggiwil (BE)
BärtschiObernau (LU)
Bernatone Habkern (BE)
BischofOberhelfenschwil (SG)
BugadaMuzzano (TI)
CattaneoGrono (GR)
ChrummhölzigRikon (ZH)
EichenbergerKnutwil (LU)
EmmeneggerEich (LU)
HelveticHenau (SG)
HuberLeutwil (AG)
JuralphornTrimbach (SO)
KolleggerDavos (GR)
MorisodLavey (VD)
PotMonthey (VS)
SchemberklangSteffisburg (BE)
SpühlerWasterkingen (ZH)
StockerKriens (LU)
SuissewoodBischofszell (TG)
woodARTmusicReiden (LU)
Alp’in woodSavoy
résonance boisLyon
HeimatklangLowever Austria
PrieschingLowever Austria
Silver & BrassNevada