In May 2010, while on tour with the PSO in Europe, I was able to spend a day in Geretsried, Germany (outside of Munich), where the Melton/Meinl Weston factory is located (Melton is the name under which their instruments are sold everywhere but the U.S.). Martin Matthies (North American Sales Manager) and Gerhard Meinl (CEO) were gracious hosts, and Martin spent the day taking me through the factory and giving me a step-by-step explanation of the R&D and manufacturing process.  It was fascinating! Below are some of the photographs I took.



A worker assembles a bass trumpet in the large assembly room at the Melton/Meinl-Weston factory in Geretsried.

A worker inspects a new lot of rotary valves and casings. 




Bell sections for bass trumpets, flugelhorns and hunting horns.

A "straight tuba". When pieced together, these tubes are the length of a CC tuba. This is used in the development process to find the right length and taper for the ideal sound and intonation. 







 Templates for bottom bows and other sections. 6450 on the right.

Bottom bow pieces cut from sheet brass. 




 Two sheet brass pieces are fixed together in this press.



The two pieces now form the beginning of a bottom bow (right), and are then hammered by hand until round (left). 







Bows waiting to be annealed in the oven. 

 Molds used to form tubes using a hydraulic process.




 A rack of brass tubes. Martin Matthies, Sales Manager for B&S and Melton/Meinl Weston (and my tour guide for the day)  in the backgorund.

A worker bends lengths of tubing by hand, for use as leadpipes (on baritones, I believe). A stiff piece of teflon is inserted in the tube before it is bent (in order to maintain the round shape), and then removed. The bent tube is then checked in the template to insure it is the correct shape.  




This is a trash pile outside one of the buildings. Among the discarded materials are old wooden mandrels used for shaping bells. I wish I'd had more room in my suitcase...I would have loved to bring one home to make a lamp or a coffee table for my studio! 

 At lunch with Herr Gerhard Meinl (seated at left), President of JA Music Corp., which owns B&S and Melton/Meinl Weston. Seated at right is Martin Matthies, North American Sales Manager. Thank you, gentlemen, for your hospitality...I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Geretsried!




Copyright 2010 Craig Knox, all rights reserved