Primus Inter Pares-First Among Equals
There are two approaches to custom horn making that Mr. Balu makes differently than his competitors:
1) His main income does not come from making horn; therefore, he does not feel rushed to finish his work.
2) He does not keep a waiting list (which some horn makers have for up to five years). This gives the buyer the certainty that the horn that is tested is the same horn that is bought. A custom Balu horn is a one of a kind.
Balu Horns incorporate new and revolutionary ideas and are the result of countless hours of designing and testing new and innovative ideas. A wide variety of tone colors can be achieved by using different alloys. The main characteristic of a Balu horn, besides a rich and projective sound, is the stability of the notes. They feel “locked in” and very even throughout all registers. That being said, the better one plays the horn, the better the horn will sound. Mr. Balu does not believe that there are such things as “the best horn in the world,” just the best horn for you.
Ion Balu builds and bends all tubes with one piece and no ferrules (which are responsible for obstructing the air flow), thus improving it.
He cuts the bell “in-house” and installs an Alexander© size ring, giving you the opportunity to use different bell flares or alloys. He bends the leadpipes and brass tubes. They are the best quality materials from the highly regarded M&K Drawing Company in Elkhart, WI.
We use a metal compound for filling the tubes that prevents them from collapsing and keeps their roundness, even on the most demanding bends, thus requiring virtually no corrections, as opposed to tubes bent with pitch.
To ensure a minimum sound resistance, we make sure ALL the braces on the horn are put in the right places.
The angled main slide and F-side slide are strategically positioned, and they fall very naturally to the hand. When we tested the horn for the first time, we asked ourselves, “Why has nobody thought of this in almost 200 years of building horns?”
The “Primus Inter Pares” (First Among Equals) model is made using the highest quality parts, including, but not limited to: J. Meinlschmidt valves, Bernd Sandner and Meinl bells, and other German parts plus the highest available American parts.
Several different leadpipes are being made for each horn. This is very time consuming but also very important. They vary in alloys, thickness, and length. A leadpipe can make or break a horn. For example, we know that on the f-side of the horn in the higher register you can play a whole scale without pressing any levers because the harmonics are very close to each other. A difference of 1/8-3/8 of an inch in length on the leadpipe, while not affecting the tuning (as there is plenty slide length to adjust for that) will make or break the high register on a horn. As little as 1/8″ can help the high register “lock in” and be very stable. This information is “classified” and Mr. Balu can talk more about it with each owner of a new horn. Mr. Balu reached the above conclusion after hundreds of hours of testing and experimenting and was greatly helped by his professional level playing capabilities. It is a completely different situation when the builder himself is able to test and adjust a horn rather than having to rely on somebody else for their input. Most of the time when one plays a Balu horn or Balu Mastered horn, the reaction will be “Man, the notes are locked in; how is this possible?” The short answer is a combination of the Liquid Double Wall Leadpipe, air fluidization, and the right alloy (for the lead pipe), length, and thickness of the tube wall.
Our premium horn is offered at $14,001 and includes your choice of Alligator MB case. (Prices are subject to change without notice.)
We are so confident that the horn is everything that we state and more, that we are backing our claim with a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee (an industry first for a custom horn)*, so if you do not like the horn for any reason, you can return it for a full refund.
*The horn needs to be returned in the same condition for a full refund.
Each model is available in 2 finishes:
1.Regular mirror polished (as shown)
2. Moonstone, a gorgeous weathered black finish, a Balu innovation.
Please feel free to email or call us to ask any other questions not answered here. Friend us on Facebook to keep up with the newest information.
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