Ricco Kühn horns and trumpets are hand-made using high quality materials and parts. We produce, finish, and calibrate tapered sections in our own workshop where the instruments are assembled. Parts are produced in collaboration with suppliers who also deliver for larger manufacturers and possess the necessary experience and technical facilities. Thus it is possible to combine manual skills and modern production technologies with maximum flexibility.
The raw bells are produced by a company which specialises in their manufacture and are made with our tools to our own design. For most models, we use one-piece bells made with a continuous seam. This very expensive and traditional manufacturing method guarantees maximum uniformity of thickness in the flare of the bell. After the blank has been soldered, the entire bell is hammered out. As a result of the special finishing and bending technology used in our own workshop, the proper hardness and tension is preserved all the way through the final product. Especially in the construction of horns, there are only a very small number of makers using this technology in the manufacture of bells.
The sound and the response of these instruments are fantastic. All Ricco Kühn trumpets and a large number of the double horns have one-piece hand-hammered bells. For the single horns and some of the double horns, spun bells have proved their worth. Spun bells are made by pressing the flare from a single disc and soldering it to the throat. We bend the bells by hand, shaping them to make an exact fit. Hammering compresses and hardens the material in areas to be bent. In addition to the sound qualities of instruments produced by this expensive method, the compressed material is also more resistant to corrosion. Every bell is electronically measured and tested before assembly.
Valves and mechanics:
Ricco Kühn instruments have only valves made with tapered fittings. Working with our supplier, we have precisely matched all the valve sets to our models and developed them further. By means of computer-controlled manufacture, a high level of density and precision is guaranteed. Special alloys for valve casings, valves, and mountings guarantee smooth operation and minimum wear. In our experience, tapered single valves, traditionally combined to form a valve assembly, are still the best technology from a mechanical point of view. The inner diameter of the valves and tube connections has been improved, with the result that hardly any impairment of the bore size can be detected by measurement. For all trumpets and most horns, we use mechanical linkages with ‘Minibal’ joints. These extremely light and precise ball joints have proved their worth over many years. For some professional double horns, however, we also recommend string linkages. Because of the geometrical advantage of this mechanism, the pressure during the complete rotation of the valve is more even than with ball joints.
The assembly of Ricco Kühn instruments is done entirely by hand, after precise calibration and inspection of the individual parts. For some sections we use special soldering equipment. Some tubing which is bent by hand is further adjusted by hand and soldered without tension. This requires a great deal of experience and sensitivity to design. After soldering points are cleaned up, the instruments are carefully polished. We offer subsequent lacquering, silver or gold plating depending on the model. The effect of surface treatments on sound and resistance depends on the hardness and thickness of the metal and therefore cannot be described in terms that are universally applicable.