Instruments

Bells for Ricco Kühn horns are made either from one blank and hammered by hand or they are made by a spinning process on mandrels of our own design. Bells made from a single blank are more expensive and require a great deal of experience. The material can be thinner and the whole bell is usually harder than their spun counterparts, depending on the manufacturing technique.

When the same metal and bell size is used, horns with hand hammered bells have a somewhat lighter response, are reacting more sensitive and admittedly, sound somewhat brighter in ff. Horns with spun bells have a somewhat higher but at the same time agreeable resistance, the sound is fuller and in ff firmer.

Both manufacturing methods have their advantages depending on model and bell size.
On some models, it is possible to supply bells with a gusset inserted. This even more expensive technology enables the production of hand-hammered bells that are almost the same thickness right up to the rim.

This means it is possible to make them with very thin walls and yet still retain sound stability in ff.
We have three sizes of horn bells, which we make in different thicknesses and designs depending on the model.

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The design of the new M bell is similar to the frequently used horn bells in the German area and in size a ML bell. In difference to our latest ML bell the cut of the M bell is a bit narrower in the shank and the bell is not as curved as the ML bell.

Currently the M bell is used in our new W 273, in the Bb/F alto descant double horn W313X and in our single Bb horn for children, optionally also for the W 293, for our triple horns and single Bb horns.

The ML bell is the most used bell for Ricco Kühn horns until now. The size and the design of the bell corresponds with the current state of knowledge. Being a bit similar to a large Vienna horn the ML bell is a great design with regard to response, kind of playing and carrying sound.

With a lip-friendly kind of playing you will achieve an easy blowing over the complete range but also safety when playing difficult parts. The sound fits in nearly every situation so it is possible to use the ML universally.

The ML bell offers most of our bell variants. The standard are 2 spun bells of various thickness, and some special bells like hand hammered with a visible seam, one with a garland or one piece bells with a gusset.

This is the original size of the Reissmann/ Börner models. The design corresponds with a large Vienna form or later bohemian models. In difference to U.S. L size bells, this bell has a larger shank and the flare is build slimmer.

Particularly the sound in lower and middle range is fantastic. In the higher range there’s an easy response with a safe tone but also more sensitivity on hand position.

Currently the L bell is used for the W 293-L “Reißmann” only.

Over the years Ricco Kühn has developed many different leadpipes.

There are currently three sizes of leadpipe in use for the ‘big’ horns and other models are used for the descant horns. Altogether there are seven different cones available. However these are only used sometimes for individual models or for tuning models made by other manufacturers.

the original Reissmann/ Börner leadpipe. Easy response, plays pleasantly with really little air, however a bit narrow in the high register. Can be used in combination with our large bell, but presently not used.

new version of the old Reissmann leadpipe design, very even to play, easy and open in the high, pleasant resistance in all ranges 

standard leadpipe for all classic models. It has an easy response and pleasant resistance in all ranges.

a bit larger than #2, our current leadpipe for the descant double horn and triple horn with M- bell

All Ricco Kühn models are built using valve sets made by Meinlschmidt. Over our many years of close collaboration we have developed precisely tuned valve sections for each model. Some of the valve sections for our “Custom” models in particular are of very complex construction. Numerous innovations such as the small, lightweight switch valves with full tubular cross-section, special air passages for the triple horn valves, light and yet very stable linkages and – last but not least – the lubrication groove, are the result of this intense collaboration.

For some horn models we still use string linkages only. Although modern double ‘Minibal’ linkages are very precise and true there is still something to be said for string linkages. The following points are of interest:

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Advantages: even pressure along the line; no mechanical noise when the string is taut; lever heights simple to adjust

Disadvantages: strings require more attention; they need to be replaced regularly (at least once a year and as soon as any wear is detected); loose strings produce indirect pressure; string mechanisms take up more space in the horn

Advantages: mechanically very robust; it wears very little; when the correct oil is used there is no mechanical noise; it requires less space in the horn

Disadvantages: pressure is somewhat firmer but very direct; the height of the levers is dictated by the length of the metal arms; lubrication required

As usual in the construction of modern horns all valve extensions are made a bit shorter than theoretically necessary. Depending on the position of the right hand in the bell and personal habits as mouthpiece and kind of playing there is no one correct length possible.

As a starting value for pulling your valve slides we recommend these values (443Hz):