Thoughts on a Benge 290?

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Bach5G
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Thoughts on a Benge 290?

Post by Bach5G » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:49 am

A friend was thinking of selling his 290 bass.

Any opinions on these? A lot of people think highly of Benge tenors.
Elow
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Re: Thoughts on a Benge 290?

Post by Elow » Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:44 pm

I used my schools beat up one, short story: i did not like it. I’m a small guy and it hurt to hold every time. I used a 5g in it before i knew there were bass mouthpieces so i can’t really say anything on how it played.
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Re: Thoughts on a Benge 290?

Post by fsgazda » Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:45 pm

I think that the Benge 290 is one of the more underrated basses of the last 50 years. I have always been impressed with how they play and sound.
Frank S. Gazda
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LeTromboniste
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Re: Thoughts on a Benge 290?

Post by LeTromboniste » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:10 pm

fsgazda wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:45 pm
I think that the Benge 290 is one of the more underrated basses of the last 50 years. I have always been impressed with how they play and sound.
Yes, I had a chance to buy one for a really low price in my first year of college, but being poor and the university being about to acquire a bass at the time that I could then borrow, I chose not to, and have regretted it ever since. A friend of mine ended up buying it, so I've been able to borrow it a few times for projects and an audition in the years after that. Such an easy horn to blow and get a good sound on, and works equally well in orchestra as in big band.
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Burgerbob
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Re: Thoughts on a Benge 290?

Post by Burgerbob » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:17 pm

Meh. Kind of a strange sound... a bit light in some ways, wide in others. I've played one and played next to one plenty, and I'm always underwhelmed.
Crazy4Tbone86
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Re: Thoughts on a Benge 290?

Post by Crazy4Tbone86 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:15 pm

I borrowed a friend's 290 and played it for about 3 months in the early 2000s. I loved the way it articulated, responded and sounded to me. When I got feedback from musicians in the audience, their read was different. They felt the sound lacked punch and projection. Burgerbob's "wide" is a great description.
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Re: Thoughts on a Benge 290?

Post by Crazytrombonist505 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:19 pm

I have one and I'm fairly impressed with it. Granted, I'm definetly not a pro bass player by any means and my primary instrument is tenor trombone. For what I need, the horn gets the job done. I haven't played that many basses for any decent period of time so I'm not really sure how it would stack up against others. It plays with a big sound, and as stated above, it can be quite a wide sound. It's a heavy bass, but for me, using a Sheridan get-a-grip helps immensly. Are there better bass trombones out there? Probably, but from my experience, the Benge is a decent option.
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Re: Thoughts on a Benge 290?

Post by Bach5G » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:02 pm

Crazy4Tbone86 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:15 pm
I borrowed a friend's 290 and played it for about 3 months in the early 2000s. I loved the way it articulated, responded and sounded to me. When I got feedback from musicians in the audience, their read was different. They felt the sound lacked punch and projection. Burgerbob's "wide" is a great description.
That seems like a fairly typical description of 10” (and larger) bells.
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Re: Thoughts on a Benge 290?

Post by Burgerbob » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:06 pm

Bach5G wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:02 pm
Crazy4Tbone86 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:15 pm
I borrowed a friend's 290 and played it for about 3 months in the early 2000s. I loved the way it articulated, responded and sounded to me. When I got feedback from musicians in the audience, their read was different. They felt the sound lacked punch and projection. Burgerbob's "wide" is a great description.
That seems like a fairly typical description of 10” (and larger) bells.
I think some of it is definitely the bell. The 290 also doesn't have a ton of lower fundamental in the sound, especially going to the side. Maybe people like that, but when you're playing next to it, it can be hard to get the pitch center to tune to in a section. This is with top-notch players, as well.
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Re: Thoughts on a Benge 290?

Post by Amconk » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:51 pm

I played on one in college for a short period. From my experience, it sounds better to the person playing it than it does to the people in front of it, if that makes any sense. The sound just didn’t travel. Could have just been that particular horn. There’s gems and duds in every make and model.
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Re: Thoughts on a Benge 290?

Post by FOSSIL » Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:28 am

When the model came out I got one from the local shop to try in the orchestra...didn't even last the day...just not what I was looking for...that was a long time ago.

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RConrad
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Re: Thoughts on a Benge 290?

Post by RConrad » Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:01 pm

I have a friend that has one that I played next to for a while. I thought it sounded nice and when I played it the horn felt pretty open and liked the slide action. With that said my friend always seemed to be messing with it as he was never quite happy with the sound.
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Re: Thoughts on a Benge 290?

Post by Kingfan » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:04 pm

I have sold horns to friends and they do not sound like I did, even with the same mouthpiece. A Benge 290 may have certain characteristics, but each horn is unique and so is each player. Try before you buy.
I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are still missing! :D
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Re: Thoughts on a Benge 290?

Post by modelerdc » Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:19 pm

I've noticed that some tenor trombone players who play bass trombone once in a blue moon love the 290, but few full time pros use them. My take is the over sized bell and tuning slide sound kinda fat with a 2G or 1 1/2G, an easy doublers horn, or good as a slide tuba in trombone choir. Maybe the 5th bone playing tubaesk parts in a college symphonic jazz band. But with a large modern sized bass trombone mouthpiece, they strike me as kinds dull, particularly from the mid range on up. Not as versatile as other makes. You take one of these into an high quality ensemble and it's harder to make it work but it's very hard to explain this some players.
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Re: Thoughts on a Benge 290?

Post by LeTromboniste » Thu Jul 02, 2020 2:36 am

modelerdc wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 8:19 pm
I've noticed that some tenor trombone players who play bass trombone once in a blue moon love the 290, but few full time pros use them. My take is the over sized bell and tuning slide sound kinda fat with a 2G or 1 1/2G, an easy doublers horn, or good as a slide tuba in trombone choir. Maybe the 5th bone playing tubaesk parts in a college symphonic jazz band. But with a large modern sized bass trombone mouthpiece, they strike me as kinds dull, particularly from the mid range on up. Not as versatile as other makes. You take one of these into an high quality ensemble and it's harder to make it work but it's very hard to explain this some players.
It does seem to like smaller mouthpieces, in my experience (although I wouldn't call a 1.5G merely a doubling size or not a "modern size", plenty of people who play that size). The particular 290 I mentioned in my previous post actually responded really well to extra-deep tenor-width mouthpieces (I like to use my Ferguson 2 for lighter repertoire like Haydn, Beethoven, Chopin, etc to get a lighter bass sound, but not all bass trombones will let you do that).

I think it's fair to say it's a good horn for doublers or amateur bass players because it's quite easy to sound good on, and because of the great quality-cost ratio, but probably not the best option for most full-time bass players.
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Re: Thoughts on a Benge 290?

Post by hyperbolica » Thu Jul 02, 2020 6:29 am

I like all the other Benge bones. The 170 and 175 in particular. The 290 just felt too big to me, with the big bell. If you play it and like it, that's all that really matters. It's a pro level horn in a line of great horns, it's just not one of my favorites.
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Re: Thoughts on a Benge 290?

Post by fsgazda » Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:08 am

I do think that a 9.5 inch bell would be better, but I am always partial to that size.
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Bengebasstrombone
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Re: Thoughts on a Benge 290?

Post by Bengebasstrombone » Thu Jul 02, 2020 8:01 am

I have a 290 myself- an early model (which some say is better than the later ones). I use a 1G megatone in it, it seems to respond fine across the registers. The tone can be a little bland if you're not "connecting" with the instrument- put a little energy into it, and it'll come back out in the tone color. The valves are over-bored to 0.585" so the low register doesn't "bark" or anything. The rotors blow pretty open, and they rotate the same way so the articulation is smooth on both of them (on some other basses, the 1st valve goes "swish" and the 2nd goes "thunk" because of opposite valve rotation). The early models have a 2nd valve extension that allows you to tune it to G or Gb. For concert bands and orchestra, it's a great horn.
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Re: Thoughts on a Benge 290?

Post by Bach5G » Thu Jul 02, 2020 11:33 pm

Anyone experiment with leadpipes?
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