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Vintage Trumpets / Cornets Discuss N+1 Besson International two tuning slides ebay gamble - DID IT PAY OFF?? in the Equipment forums; Hey everyone, Glad to have some happy New Year tidings for you all! I took a gamble on eBay (UK) ...
  1. #1
    Pianissimo User redintheface's Avatar
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    N+1 Besson International two tuning slides ebay gamble - DID IT PAY OFF??

    Hey everyone,

    Glad to have some happy New Year tidings for you all! I took a gamble on eBay (UK) after seeing a Besson International with two tuning slides (so possibly a C/Bb) and engraving being offered as the result of a house clearance. Was on for £75, ended at £91 + £16 p&p, so £107 all up. The seller didn't know anything about it, and was only describing it as it looked infront of him. Did I strike it lucky? Or did I get shafted.... Let's have a look to find out:

    It has the original case, made from leather covered wood, lined with red (now orange haha!) velvet, and stamped with "BESSON LONDON". [This was an indicator of the actual age]
    The case was stuffed with four or five mutes, all dented and very well loved, some old valve springs, and some very neatly hand-scribed scores of Opera, Jazz, and church music.


    The trumpet came with a Rudy Muck 17c cushion rim mouthpiece, well used and some plating worn off.


    On to the main item:
    The underside of the bell is engraved with "50 medals of honour", "FB", "BESSON & CO LONDON", *star*, "British Throughout"

    The topside of the bell has "BESSON INTERNATIONAL" and the characteristic Art Deco engraving


    It comes with two tuning slides (of which the Bb has two parts)


    The serial number is 130097, dating very early in 1935, I think? I checked and rechecked all the Besson Loyalist sites available (some no longer work) and that's the best I could come up with before the eBay auction. Anyone with further info, I would be very glad to have it! Hornucopia have this type of engraving (although not in silver plate, but looks like with double tuning slides) here (look for the image with a red background)


    It has interesting hexagonal valve stems and finger buttons (which are mother of pearl inlaid)


    And although the plating has been worn in most places where hands have held it, there are virtually no dents anywhere. Here is a pic compared against my Bb Strad


    Valves are a bit worn, but each tuning slide pops when pulled out (something I never do with my strad), indicating that compression is there (and I hadn't even oiled the valves!). They sound a bit clunky and loud, and the whole thing needs a good bath as there is visible gunk inside.

    However, I think I am pleased with my purchase....the only thing now is it is still so early in the morning here, that the rest of the house is still asleep so I can't play it!
    BrassBandMajor and True Tone like this.
    1992 Bach Strad Large Bore 25 Silver
    1976 LA Benge 5x Silver
    1935 Besson London A/Bb Silver
    1920s?? Langen?? Rotary Bb Raw brass
    1977 Olds Super Star Flugelhorn Raw brass
    1985 Mario Corso Piccolo Trumpet A/Bb, 4 bells
    2008 Kuhnl & Hoyer Tenor Trombone

    Kanstul M-B4
    Kanstul M-B4LD
    Christian Lindberg 10C

  2. #2
    Fortissimo User BrassBandMajor's Avatar
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    Re: N+1 Besson International two tuning slides ebay gamble - DID IT PAY OFF??

    Looks like a nice grab there redintheface!

    Well done! Hope you enjoy it!
    redintheface likes this.
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  3. #3
    Pianissimo User redintheface's Avatar
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    Re: N+1 Besson International two tuning slides ebay gamble - DID IT PAY OFF??

    Okay.....had a bit of a clean, not too much gunk found, oiled and greased and had 30 mins playing. Not a bad sound, I have to admit, would peel paint at 100yds given half a chance, however, since I'm not in regular practice at the mo, and there are bleary-eyed teenagers around the house complaining about [insert teenage rant of the moment here], I have kept it down. I replaced the valve corks/felts and the clunking noises are greatly reduced.

    The valves are surprisingly fast, even if slightly worn. Very good slotting, but after a good clean in the bath and the oil of the valves and grease of the slides, I have noticed that instead of the *pop* as the slides come out, there is the sound of air being pulled past the valves as I pull the slides. Not too surprising all in all.

    What I'm most puzzled by is the two tuning slides (pictured below). There is one main slide which fits two crooks, of slightly different lengths. I had assumed that the trumpet was a C/Bb conversion, but this may not actually be the case. When playing with the main slide and longer crook (uppermost in the pic) it is well in tune at Bb. I have to pull the 1st and 3rd valve slides out just a smidge to get each one perfectly in tune (it came exactly that way in the case - with both 1st and 3rd slightly out). However, in order to tune it to C, I have to remove the main slide (which has a hexagonal guide-rail complete with stop-nut on the reverse side), and put in only the shorter of the two crooks. It doesn't exactly fit the leadpipe, as can be seen, and it also grinds the leadpipe everso slightly too, making me suspicious that it is not meant for fitting there. In addition, once in, although in tune to C, there is no room for movement in to make it slightly sharp (which might be needed according to the setting), the open partials are a bit suspect (E fourth space is flat by a quarter tone), and the 1st and 3rd valves sound flat when used (Eb, F, D 3rd space, etc), despite pushing them totally in.

    All of this leads me to the conclusion that it was never designed to be played in the key of C, only B and Bb. Can anyone shed any light on this?

    Finally, I also noticed that the bell must have been removed and either repaired or replaced, since all the brackets and the bell ferrule have everso slightly untidy soldering, which is so unnoticeable, it doesn't even come out on the camera, but I'll include a photo or two for you to judge for yourselves.







    True Tone likes this.
    1992 Bach Strad Large Bore 25 Silver
    1976 LA Benge 5x Silver
    1935 Besson London A/Bb Silver
    1920s?? Langen?? Rotary Bb Raw brass
    1977 Olds Super Star Flugelhorn Raw brass
    1985 Mario Corso Piccolo Trumpet A/Bb, 4 bells
    2008 Kuhnl & Hoyer Tenor Trombone

    Kanstul M-B4
    Kanstul M-B4LD
    Christian Lindberg 10C

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    Pianissimo User KRax!'s Avatar
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    Re: N+1 Besson International two tuning slides ebay gamble - DID IT PAY OFF??

    middle extension + short slide = high pitch Bb
    middle extension + long slide = low pitch Bb = modern pitch A 440 Hz.

    Older British instruments were usually high pitch instruments, so the low pitch configuration on this - wonderful! - trumpet is an extra-feature. That's why you have to adjust the other slides.

    The existence of the middle extension is due to it being used making the horn into a trumpet in A. Have it pushed in completely for regular playing, then when it is time to play as an A trumpet, just pull it out fast, to where you have fixed the screws for A-playing... At least that was the idea.

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    Pianissimo User redintheface's Avatar
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    Re: N+1 Besson International two tuning slides ebay gamble - DID IT PAY OFF??

    Quote Originally Posted by KRax! View Post
    middle extension + short slide = high pitch Bb
    middle extension + long slide = low pitch Bb = modern pitch A 440 Hz.

    Older British instruments were usually high pitch instruments, so the low pitch configuration on this - wonderful! - trumpet is an extra-feature. That's why you have to adjust the other slides.

    The existence of the middle extension is due to it being used making the horn into a trumpet in A. Have it pushed in completely for regular playing, then when it is time to play as an A trumpet, just pull it out fast, to where you have fixed the screws for A-playing... At least that was the idea.
    Thanks KRax. I had no idea about the high pitch and low pitch Bb, that's some great information. I'll have to get it out of the case again and play in A to see how that sounds....

    Also, after checking Hornucopia Serial numbers again, there may be some confusion as to the exact year. I'll just write them as they appear on the site (for the London models):

    1931 - 124350
    1934 - 130001
    1935 -
    1940 -
    1944 - 130000
    1948 - 135001
    1952 - 741116

    Does anyone have any further information regarding this? Some of the old besson sites are now defunct.
    1992 Bach Strad Large Bore 25 Silver
    1976 LA Benge 5x Silver
    1935 Besson London A/Bb Silver
    1920s?? Langen?? Rotary Bb Raw brass
    1977 Olds Super Star Flugelhorn Raw brass
    1985 Mario Corso Piccolo Trumpet A/Bb, 4 bells
    2008 Kuhnl & Hoyer Tenor Trombone

    Kanstul M-B4
    Kanstul M-B4LD
    Christian Lindberg 10C

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    Piano User Pascalouisiana's Avatar
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    Re: N+1 Besson International two tuning slides ebay gamble - DID IT PAY OFF??

    Hi,
    I agree with KRax for the slides.

    Redintheface,
    That is definitely a nice trumpet, another perfect example of art deco. Since the style emerged from the Exposition Internationale des Art Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925, and lasted until WWII, the 1935 for the trumpet seems to fit perfectly.
    They are lots of similitude with other trumpets Octagonal trumpets

    Congrats.

    BTW, for the valves, I prefer H2Oil than Hetman classic. Way more efficient.
    redintheface and True Tone like this.
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    Pianissimo User trumpetera's Avatar
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    Re: N+1 Besson International two tuning slides ebay gamble - DID IT PAY OFF??

    High pitch and low pitch?
    Co-principal trumpet Gothenburg Opera Orchestra
    Principal trumpet Re: Baroque orchestra, Stockholm

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  8. #8
    Pianissimo User trumpetera's Avatar
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    Re: N+1 Besson International two tuning slides ebay gamble - DID IT PAY OFF??

    Ah! Not even 2:nd on the ball, I see now!!
    Co-principal trumpet Gothenburg Opera Orchestra
    Principal trumpet Re: Baroque orchestra, Stockholm

    www.opera.se
    http://www.rebaroque.se/

  9. #9
    Pianissimo User redintheface's Avatar
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    Re: N+1 Besson International two tuning slides ebay gamble - DID IT PAY OFF??

    Quote Originally Posted by Pascalouisiana View Post
    Hi,
    I agree with KRax for the slides.

    Redintheface,
    That is definitely a nice trumpet, another perfect example of art deco. Since the style emerged from the Exposition Internationale des Art Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925, and lasted until WWII, the 1935 for the trumpet seems to fit perfectly.
    They are lots of similitude with other trumpets Octagonal trumpets

    Congrats.

    BTW, for the valves, I prefer H2Oil than Hetman classic. Way more efficient.
    Thanks Pascalouisiana! I'm certainly pleased with it so far. Especially for £107 total.

    I definitely need to find the right oil for it, that's for sure. I'll see if there's some H2Oil around I can snatch up.....

    I have now had a quick blow using the A/Bb tuning and it seems right on the money. Much easier, more in tune, definitely what fits the instrument - and the hex stop nut I mentioned on the slide, if you pull it out to the stop, it is perfectly in tune at A! No further adjustment necessary.

    I was about to say that I haven't found a single one like this to compare to, but that's not quite true. Trevor Jones have one in raw brass, and doesn't say if it has the extra tuning slide, although it looks like it was made for one. Anyone else got any examples?
    1992 Bach Strad Large Bore 25 Silver
    1976 LA Benge 5x Silver
    1935 Besson London A/Bb Silver
    1920s?? Langen?? Rotary Bb Raw brass
    1977 Olds Super Star Flugelhorn Raw brass
    1985 Mario Corso Piccolo Trumpet A/Bb, 4 bells
    2008 Kuhnl & Hoyer Tenor Trombone

    Kanstul M-B4
    Kanstul M-B4LD
    Christian Lindberg 10C

  10. #10
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    Re: N+1 Besson International two tuning slides ebay gamble - DID IT PAY OFF??

    Some of that bell engraving looks a bit faint. Buff and re-plate some time in the past?

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