Benge Trombone info?

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BengeCollector
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2022 2:25 am

Benge Trombone info?

Post by BengeCollector »

Hi, everyone, and my apologies in advance for a very long first post...

I was hoping I could get some history/info on a bit of a unicorn in my collection.

I've been a Benge trombone collector for several years, since I bought my first one, a Benge 190F Convertible from Dr. Royce Lumpkin. I was curious if you could tell me some information about this particular trombone.

This instrument was Dr. Lumpkin's personal Benge when he was a spokesperson and representative for UMI. Even has his name on the bell, which I think is a wonderful touch, and a great memento from my professor and friend. I was a student of his through high school and college, at UNC-Charlotte and I purchased it from him my last year of school there, around 2009-10. I don't remember exactly when I purchased it from him. I absolutely LOVE this trombone.

From what he could tell me, I know that he was rather involved in the design of the leadpipe for the 190s. I know that he got this 190 custom built, with an annealed bell (or a different type of annealing...my apologies. I can't remember exactly how he told me about the process.)

He also tells me that he's pretty sure that John Marcellus and himself were the first people to get the first 190s of the assembly line. He told me the name of another person that got number 3, but I can't remember. I was hoping you could give me some insight both into Benge trombone serial numbers, as I've scoured the internet and have been able to find absolutely nothing about it, or any serial number logs at all.

And, more importantly, I think this Benge I own may in fact be the first one off the line. But I want to be ABSOLUTELY sure.

The serial #s are as follows:

Slide: 2437
Bell section: 998863
Rotor housing: 1 (which is why I wanted to ask about when this one was made). Wasn't sure if Benge did a thing where they serial # in different ways, i.e. 998863 was just the number of what came out of a factory and when, and the #1 on the rotor was a number for the first trombone made.

Any info you all have would be just outstanding, and I would be beyond grateful.

I can't get find a whole lot of anything anywhere, and I'd really like to know more about both this trombone that I have, and the Benge trombone history in and of itself.

Thanks!

James
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BGuttman
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Re: Benge Trombone info?

Post by BGuttman »

Hi and welcome!

As far as I can remember, Benge trombones were in the same serial number series as Kings. A King serial number list should be as good a date as you can get.

The Benge line came out in the mid 1980s as a "symphonic" King. It's a real shame they never caught on -- the instruments were well made and played well. They came with a semi-open wrap much like the King 7B and 8B bass trombones and later a semi-closed wrap series (the 16x) were added for folks who preferred that layout.

The 6 digit number is the serial. The 1 on the valve casing is a size. The 4 digit number on the slide is also a part number. My King 7B from 1980 has a 4 digit number on the slide and a 6 digit number near the bell joint (which is the actual serial number).

My guess is that the instrument you have, the one Marcellus has, and a few more got made at the same time and distributed for evaluation. There is no particular cachet for "first off the line". It's nice that you have good provenance about the instrument, and I hope it keeps playing well for you.
Bruce Guttman
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra
"Almost Professional"
BengeCollector
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Re: Benge Trombone info?

Post by BengeCollector »

Hi, Mr. Guttman,


I really appreciate all that info. I had figured the 998863 was the serial, but the 1 always just caught my eye. My 165 has a 257 on its casing and rotor.

It feels good to be quite a bit less in the dark on the history. I also wish they had caught on and stayed...they're really underrated in my opinion. The 165F that I have plays just as nimbly as my Conn 88H-CL I had when I was in college... should've never sold that Conn.

I'll certainly give a comb-through of the King serial #s I can find. Thanks again!



James
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Kingfan
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Re: Benge Trombone info?

Post by Kingfan »

https://www.conn-selmer.com/en-us/resou ... al-numbers
According to this chart, the horn was made approx. 1985.
I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are still missing! :D
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Slydeguy
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Re: Benge Trombone info?

Post by Slydeguy »

1985 is spot on for Dr. Lumpkins particular Benge. I remember he and Vern Kagarice showing up at a trombone workshop at Elon University in the fall of 1986 with their new 190’s in Barr Line gig bags. They both had nothing but great things to say about these horns and needless to say they both sounded great on them. Dr. Lumpkin allowed me to play that horn and I ordered one the following week. I regret letting it go in the early 2000’s. They are definitely underrated.
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harrisonreed
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Re: Benge Trombone info?

Post by harrisonreed »

There is this dude who plays at our unit with that exact same trombone, and sounds like a million bucks on it.

I'm pretty sure it's got the same serial numbers and everything. :biggrin:
BengeCollector
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Re: Benge Trombone info?

Post by BengeCollector »

A little late.... but...

Hi, Harry.

See you at work next week :good:
BengeCollector
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Re: Benge Trombone info?

Post by BengeCollector »

Slydeguy wrote: Sun Sep 25, 2022 8:19 am 1985 is spot on for Dr. Lumpkins particular Benge. I remember he and Vern Kagarice showing up at a trombone workshop at Elon University in the fall of 1986 with their new 190’s in Barr Line gig bags. They both had nothing but great things to say about these horns and needless to say they both sounded great on them. Dr. Lumpkin allowed me to play that horn and I ordered one the following week. I regret letting it go in the early 2000’s. They are definitely underrated.
Slydeguy, holy S*** that is AWESOME! Well, please know that the same 190 is in good hands! It's got a scratch or two and some lacquer gone on the slide and neckpiece on the bell section, but it's in great shape.

I really do think they're underrated. My main axe has been a Benge 165 for years. Coupled with a Doug Elliott XT103/F/F8, that horn sings like no other I've ever played.
chromebone
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Re: Benge Trombone info?

Post by chromebone »

I’ve seen some pictures and there was a video from a 1981 Christmas concert that used to be in YouTube of the Cleveland Symphony playing Benges or their prototypes early as 1981, I think the concept started with their desire to improve on the Kings they were already playing,
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