The starting point of RICO’s brand story can be considered 1926, when a nephew of Joseph Rico, a famous composer, who lived at that time in Paris, wrote to his uncle a sad letter, telling how difficult is to find quality reeds for mouthpieces in Los Angeles. Nephew’s name was Frank de Michelle. Frank worked as a clarinetist at the Walt Disney Studios and in this letter he begged his uncle to send him at least a few high-quality reeds. Having sent reeds several times Joseph Rico became sure that his nephew was a good-natured man and that a lot of his friends were musicians, to whom Frank constantly gave these reeds. So Rico simply arranged the delivery of 350 kg of magnificent cane that grew near his country house to the United States.
Having found four companions, Frank established his first factory which manufactured reeds for wind instruments. To express his gratitude to uncle he called the newly created brand RICO. One of the four companions was musician and engineer named J. Roy. Meyer. It was he who was destined to play a leading role in the development of RICO as one of the major brands in the field of wind instruments.
Being a musician, saxophone and clarinet player, Roy knew what he lacks in existing reeds; being also a talented engineer,
he found opportunities to translate these ideas into reality. He ran more than a thousand tests, picking up the unique characteristics of each size and thickness of the reeds. Gradually, RICO’s volumes of production and supply increased so much that there was a need to create their own plantation for growing cane, which was done. Currently RICO is 100% self-sufficient in its own raw materials.
Today RICO - is a world-renowned American manufacturer of reeds and mouthpieces for brass instruments. From 2004 Rico is part of D'Addario group. The process of re-branding is currently going, and some products can be found under a new title D'Addario Woodwinds, while the others continue to be sold under the brand of RICO.