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The Best "Meha"


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The Best "Meha"
Pre-War F. Besson Meha
38%
 38%  [ 18 ]
Post-War F. Besson Meha
14%
 14%  [ 7 ]
Benge Claude Gordon Model
6%
 6%  [ 3 ]
Kanstul-made F. Besson Meha
14%
 14%  [ 7 ]
Kanstul 1070 "Big Band" Model
6%
 6%  [ 3 ]
Selmer Claude Gordon Model
19%
 19%  [ 9 ]
Total Votes : 47

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ZachBandMan
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:06 pm    Post subject: The Best "Meha" Reply with quote

The F. Besson has been widely regarded to be one of the best trumpets ever made, and the "Meha" was used by some of the greatest players. Throughout the years, many have tried to produce their own copies of the "Meha" trumpets, and I was wondering if people had certain preferences towards these copies.
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ChopsGone
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Based solely on the ones I own, I'd rank the Kanstul-made "New Generation" Mehas above the earlier Kanstul-made Mehas, and those above my pre-war Besson Meha. And I'd rank my Aubertin above all of those (OK, not a Meha, but who do you think did the main work on the Mehas?).
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plp
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wish I knew, as I have never owned one. I grew up playing cornets, and the one I refined my skills on was a Conn Victor 80A, at .485 bore. Large bore instruments tend to develop a unique skillset, to this day will maintain I made more progress on it than any other instrument I've played. And sounded better.

Today the desired sound for the music I play is a .460 bore trumpet, and I'm not going to mess with success, was invited to play in the band I play in because of the sound that I create with that horn. I swore once I got the gig I would stick with the horn and mouthpiece that got the gig, and have not deviated from that for 4 years.

That combination is the easiest to produce the sound in my head, and am all about efficiency these days.

I would like someday to have the freedom to experiment, but at this point with gigs every week can't risk screwing it up.
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yourbrass
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I based my vote on two post-war Mehas I've played:

Claude Gordon's, which was the instrument copied by Selmer USA for the "CG Selmer" model, and a beautiful lacquered Meha found in a clothing thrift store!

The second horn was brought in for bell dentwork, cleaning, etc. Wow, what a beautiful sound it has! I offered to buy it from my customer, which I rarely have the impulse to do. He wouldn't sell it. It has a large bore, but the bell was even larger bore and super-thin .015" gauge metal. The Besson designers of that era knew what they were doing.
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I voted for the CG Selmer and for good reason - as Lionel pointed out, it was based on one of the best early French Besson Meha's out there - Claude Gordon's personal Meha (which according to Claude was a Pre-WW2 horn).

If I could have placed a second vote, it would be for the CG Benge trumpet, also based on Claude's Meha, but built with a slightly smaller .468" bore as Benge didn't want to spend the money for .470" bore tooling.

Though it's not among the available choices in the Poll, and truth be told, I've never played one, I'd like to place a "potentially great" vote for the Burbank 6XCG trumpet currently being produced for Michael Thomas Music by Kanstul and also being sold by Steve Dillard (The Horntrader). This horn is being built to Claude's specifications for his CG Benge, but with the full .470" bore as Claude originally wanted it (and as the Selmer was built later on). Ironically, the reason this Benge-based horn is being built at the .470" bore size is the same reason but in reverse, that the Benges were made with .468" bores - Kanstul no longer has the .468" tooling and didn't want to invest in new tooling for such a limited run of horns. But that means, this is a well made horn that has all the features Claude wanted emulated from his Meha, and it has the Meha look to it (unlike the Selmer where apart from its forward facing 2nd valve tubing, looked pretty much like a Bach).

Last note: The Selmer CG and the Burbank 6XCG are hand-made instruments, and I believe at least for the most part, so was the Benge CG. That made them extremely good values for the money both as new horns, and now as used horns (though I don't think there are many if any used Burbank 6XCG horns out there for sale). The main reason Bach/Selmer stopped making the CG Selmer was not a lack of demand - it was a lack of any profit in the horns, given the time it took to make each one and the fact that the pricing for them was the same as the quicker-to-make Bach Strad at the time.

Best wishes,

John Mohan
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trumpet.sanity
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why not add a stock Benge large bore/6X

Weren't those original Chicago, then Burbank then LA Benges copies of a Besson Meha?
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ALaschiver
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 8:14 am    Post subject: Mehas Reply with quote

I collect them all and restore. Mehas came in various bores, prewar. Post war was .468. They have different characteristics. They are different horns. Comparing them is "apples to oranges". The Post War (gozzo) is a big open
horn. Characteristics of sound as in recordings of that day. Prewar
..all a little different..brilliant, beautiful..subtle. To be fair..it's Bessons only
French only..Those are Meha...others are not..no matter what a manufacturer stamps the horn. They may be fine horns but not a Meha (Mme Besson's daughter)
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yourbrass
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:10 am    Post subject: Re: Mehas Reply with quote

ALaschiver wrote:
I collect them all and restore. Mehas came in various bores, prewar. Post war was .468. They have different characteristics. They are different horns. Comparing them is "apples to oranges". The Post War (gozzo) is a big open
horn. Characteristics of sound as in recordings of that day. Prewar
..all a little different..brilliant, beautiful..subtle. To be fair..it's Bessons only
French only..Those are Meha...others are not..no matter what a manufacturer stamps the horn. They may be fine horns but not a Meha (Mme Besson's daughter)


Yeah, that's what my research showed, that after WWII, Besson begin making large bore trumpets. Serial nos. are hard to research for this make. The lacquered Meha that I serviced a while back was in the 90,000 range, but the original papers with it indicated it was sold in the 1950's by the American distributor. The last Bessons had 100,000 serial nos. and often had English-made pistons of much smaller bore than the French-made ones.
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yourbrass
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One other thing about the Meha I liked so well: I noticed points of resistance that I believe make the horn work and not feel "too big." The leadpipe wasn't really large, and the bell flair was relatively tight, flairing pretty quickly at the throat. Because I had to remove the bell for repair, I was able to measure the bore at .478" (!) The horn was original and untampered with, so it was a real treat to work on it and play it.
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

trumpet.sanity wrote:
Why not add a stock Benge large bore/6X

Weren't those original Chicago, then Burbank then LA Benges copies of a Besson Meha?


I thought about it when Steve Dillard had Forrest Buchtel's Burbank Benge 6X up for sale. The real neat part was that its serial number is the next number up from mine. But I've already got way more horns than I can play.

And there's a reason the standard 6X might not qualify for the list. Back in the day, there were several Bell Mandrels used to produce the Bells of the 6X. it turned out that one of them actually had a slight smaller (about .464") Bell tube section. Al Porcino had one of the horns with the smaller bell tube, but he didn't know it. Until: He took the horn back to Benge for a minor dent repair in the Bell Tube area. The technician found that even after removing the dent, the .468" ball wouldn't go through the bell tube section. So he made it go through anyway. When Al got his horn back and played it, he said, "What did you do to it? It's ruined!" It had lost the special feel it had that apparently was due to the slight restriction in the bell tube area. The discovery of this, and the subsequent retelling of this story to Claude Gordon by his students Thomas Holden and others, led to Claude incorporating the reduced Bell Tube section into the Benge 6XCG model (which later was called just the Benge CG model). And before the 6XCG came on the market, a prototype Burbank Benge was made to Claude's specs for Claude's student Lowell Stevenson. I bought that Burbank Benge from Lowell about 15 years ago and it's the best horn I've ever played.

Another reference to this story:

http://www.dallasmusic.org/gearhead/BengeCGdetails.html

Best wishes,

John Mohan
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trumpet.sanity
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder what happened to that missing mandrel Bob Reeves's was referencing. Seems like replacing a mandrel for a specific popular model bell would be a big deal?

I read something similar about the old #2 mandrel being damaged or in pieces at the Kanstul factory, which is why they can no longer reproduce that bell??

Again, I find this history fascinating.
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nieuwguyski
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

trumpet.sanity wrote:
I wonder what happened to that missing mandrel Bob Reeves's was referencing. Seems like replacing a mandrel for a specific popular model bell would be a big deal?

I read something similar about the old #2 mandrel being damaged or in pieces at the Kanstul factory, which is why they can no longer reproduce that bell??

Again, I find this history fascinating.


I have played a few of ALaschiver's Bessons, and they are beautiful (and beautifully restored) instruments. He also let me play his (also beautiful, but much less "collectible") Benge 2X MLP.

Honestly, if I heard he was liquidating his collection I'd be more interested in the Benge... that thing just sang for me.
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trumpet.sanity
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nieuwguyski wrote:
trumpet.sanity wrote:
I wonder what happened to that missing mandrel Bob Reeves's was referencing. Seems like replacing a mandrel for a specific popular model bell would be a big deal?

I read something similar about the old #2 mandrel being damaged or in pieces at the Kanstul factory, which is why they can no longer reproduce that bell??

Again, I find this history fascinating.


I have played a few of ALaschiver's Bessons, and they are beautiful (and beautifully restored) instruments. He also let me play his (also beautiful, but much less "collectible") Benge 2X MLP.

Honestly, if I heard he was liquidating his collection I'd be more interested in the Benge... that thing just sang for me.


Very interesting. Reading from other players that have 2X or 2X-MLPs that seems to be the theme. Since I got my 2X, I've hung out with other Benge nuts and compared horns, and my 2X really stands out.
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ALaschiver
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:24 am    Post subject: The poll Reply with quote

Really: The poll and these horns cannot be compared..."apples and oranges"..A prewar Meha is not a post war Meha...other manufacturers stamping "Meha" on a horn doesn't make them a Meha. They were good horns...certainly but stand by themselves. The CG's, 2x's what ever.. great..
but different. I have them all...they are not "better" or worse...just different.
Just play what feels "right". To own and restore an old Besson to perfect
condition (as it came from the factory) is a long laborious and very expense task. I would advise buying a affordable and available horn and practicing..remember "it's not the Bow, it's the Archer"
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2016 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, I can answer the original question with full authority and should have earlier. The best Meha ever was the 1947 Besson Meha I bought on eBay for $400. It was claimed the horn had belonged originally to Johnny Zell, the trumpet soloist on the Lawrence Welk show. I later confirmed this to be true with Mr. Zell. I put about $475 into a restoration job on the horn which was done beautifully by John Lynch in Florida. And then I later sold it for nearly $3000 to a gentleman who was more than happy to pay the price for it (he had one many years before that had been stolen and it was a life-long dream to have another).

There's no doubt that this particular horn was and is the best Meha of all time. It plays well, looks great, provided one man with the realization of a life-long dream, and provided another with a net profit of well over 300%.



Merry Christmas!
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homebilly
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2016 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes john but have you wasted millions trying to decide if you were a collector or just obsessional? I think I'll go shopping for another yacht now.........

merry christmas

ron
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yourbrass
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John Mohan wrote:
Actually, I can answer the original question with full authority and should have earlier. The best Meha ever was the 1947 Besson Meha I bought on eBay for $400. It was claimed the horn had belonged originally to Johnny Zell, the trumpet soloist on the Lawrence Welk show. I later confirmed this to be true with Mr. Zell. I put about $475 into a restoration job on the horn which was done beautifully by John Lynch in Florida. And then I later sold it for nearly $3000 to a gentleman who was more than happy to pay the price for it (he had one many years before that had been stolen and it was a life-long dream to have another).

There's no doubt that this particular horn was and is the best Meha of all time. It plays well, looks great, provided one man with the realization of a life-long dream, and provided another with a net profit of well over 300%.

:D

Merry Christmas!


Ah, but John, you haven't played the one that I played that came from the clothing thrift store. Most freakin' unlikely thing I've seen in a while sucka' PLAYS!
-Lionel
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trumpet.sanity
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John Mohan wrote:
Actually, I can answer the original question with full authority and should have earlier. The best Meha ever was the 1947 Besson Meha I bought on eBay for $400. It was claimed the horn had belonged originally to Johnny Zell, the trumpet soloist on the Lawrence Welk show. I later confirmed this to be true with Mr. Zell. I put about $475 into a restoration job on the horn which was done beautifully by John Lynch in Florida. And then I later sold it for nearly $3000 to a gentleman who was more than happy to pay the price for it (he had one many years before that had been stolen and it was a life-long dream to have another).

There's no doubt that this particular horn was and is the best Meha of all time. It plays well, looks great, provided one man with the realization of a life-long dream, and provided another with a net profit of well over 300%.



Merry Christmas!


I'm American and I'm a capitalist. I also understand being tight on cash, and making some bucks. But 300% net profit?

You made $2100 selling a horn to a guy, that had his horn ripped off and his life long dream was to replace it?

Kinda sounds like he got ripped off twice.
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Usedtobegood
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

trumpet.sanity wrote:


I'm American and I'm a capitalist. I also understand being tight on cash, and making some bucks. But 300% net profit?

You made $2100 selling a horn to a guy, that had his horn ripped off and his life long dream was to replace it?

Kinda sounds like he got ripped off twice.


OUCH!
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John Mohan
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

homebilly wrote:
yes john but have you wasted millions trying to decide if you were a collector or just obsessional? I think I'll go shopping for another yacht now.........

merry christmas

ron


Yes! And we won't even talk about my sports car habit....
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