Chicago Benge

Discussion in 'Vintage Trumpets / Cornets' started by Manny Laureano, May 4, 2005.

  1. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    Somebody, talk to me about Chicago Benges.

    I'll tell you about it presently but I'm interested in a knowledgeable tutorial on these rare birds.

  2. musicalmason

    musicalmason Forte User

    Dec 14, 2003
    Ive got one sitting right next to me, Im not sure what you want to know but I can answer any particular questions. most of the general knowledge about the horns I got from the benge loyalist (linked from schilke loyalist)
  3. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Dubai, UAE
    Here's a link to the article musicalmason refers to:

    Tom Turner is also a great source of things 'Benge'.

    I can add bits and pieces mainly gleaned from an interest in Chicago Benges rather than as a collector or player. The earliest serial number was thought to have been 525 but 520 turned up recently on e-bay..quite beaten up and with a lot of interest shown. Believe it was pulled before the auction finished. One thing that I gleaned from following the early Chicago's was that they were probably all custom made to order. Since lots of the guys playing at the time were using the French Besson and Elden was trying to make a better mousetrap (hence the forward facing second valve slide) some also have the 3rd slide ring suspended under the slide rather than on top. The very early ones don't have the cute 'notes in a staff' engraving on the bell (believe that came in around 900-but may be wrong). That together with what's on the link above just about exhausts my knowledge.

    Tom or somebody else can probably add lots more.


  4. pwillini

    pwillini Pianissimo User

    Mar 4, 2004
    Kalamazoo, MI
    A friend of mine here in Kalamazoo has #1515. It's a large bore he ressurected from a wall hanging, all flattened, bell bent facing forward. If I remember his story correctly, he paid $150 for the wall hanging at a yard sale, found someone in Wisconsin to try to put it back together. It now has a new coat of lacquer, everything is as it should be and plays like no other horn I've had the pleasure of holding.
    It is a large bore, .468 I think he said. It takes anything you can give it and multiplies it. I used it last Mothers' Day to play the Lord's Prayer. It was so sweet, very smooth, quick response. Even though the bell was mangled, I could feel the horn vibrate as I hit the center of each note (no good feedback if not centered). What a testament to the gentleman who reconditioned this beauty!
    Unfortunately, because of it's previous handling it does has some issues, though none that affect the sound. The inside of the valve slides are very thin, with some of the metal crumbling away at the very ends. In order to get the bell back as close to original as possible some of the engraving was overbuffed after the creases were removed. (this one has the notation logo) I've read where the metal on these Chicago's was thin to begin with but my friend ran his thumb on the inside of the bell and you could follow it outside! The only other issue is the top valve caps, diffucult to thread on straight, threads are a bit off. But if you saw the before picture of this piece of art then played what he has now you'd never believe it.
    This is the first of his collection that he allowed me to borrow, what a way to start! This began my year long journey that ended with my ZeuS. Of all the horns I played in that time, the Zeus is the closest I've come to hearing the sound I got from the Benge.( And it's not just my opinion, he tried the ZeuS too and said it reminded him of his Chicago)
  5. old geezer

    old geezer Pianissimo User

    Dec 26, 2004
    I had a Chicago Benge and it played wonderful. I needed the mouth piece receiver replaced on the lead pipe and the tech replaced the lead pipe also. it never played the same, not bad but not the same so I got rid of it so I wouldn't have bad thoughts about a certain repair tech every time I played the horn. I have never taken a horn back there after that fiasco. old geezer Dave :-(
    just an after thought - I believe it was a medium bore. it played beautiful but you could over power it in a big band setting. it was just fine for church and quintet use.
  6. UsedBits

    UsedBits New Friend

    Dec 31, 2003

    Hi, Benge Loyalist (from here. Is this the same Chicago Benge you had for sale about 2 years ago?

    I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have. Send a private message and I'll answer as soon as I get it.

    Steve 'UsedBits' aka 'Benge Loyalist'
  7. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004

    Yes! In fact it is the same horn. I haven't been active about selling it. I wanted to learn more about Benges from the Chicago era as the money will be going to the Minnesota Youth Symphonies. It was given to the organization to help raise money and I think it's time to find a buyer. I haven't shined it up as tempting as that is. The serial number is, off the top of my head, 2280.

    It's in very good shape, All is original with very few dings to speak of. I think the horn would play better with a good bath, etc. But I haven't touched it.

    Anyways, it would likely be a nice player for a person that appreciates that kind of horn and its representative era.

  8. tom turner

    tom turner Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Georgia, USA
    Hi Manny,

    I agree!

    I'll give ya fifty bucks for it . . . and even throw in a free cleaning to take it off your hands! ;-)

  9. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004

    Fifty bucks means too little doe!

  10. Benge Loyalist

    Benge Loyalist New Friend

    May 19, 2005

    Tom is just trying to steal it from you. I'll save the day and *double* his offer!

    By the way, a private message to you awaits your reply. It discusses some of the recent events on eBay regarding Chicago Benges.

    'UsedBits' & 'Benge Loyalist'

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