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Kanstul's Meha & Brevete; what's the difference?


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JonathanM
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2021 5:18 pm    Post subject: Kanstul's Meha & Brevete; what's the difference? Reply with quote

Greetings, folks. I recently picked up a nice playing Kanstul Brevete. Years ago I had a Kanstul Meha. What's the difference between the two? Or are they the same horn just badged differently? I know the Meha came in different bore sizes, so I don't think that's it. Any help will be appreciated.
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MRtpt
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2021 5:36 pm    Post subject: Kanstul Bessons Reply with quote

If I remember correctly on the Kanstuls, the bore sizes were:

460 “Meha Paris, France”
462 “Brevette”
470 “Meha PARIS”

I don’t know about other specs.

MR
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JonathanM
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2021 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark, I like that answer.
I've always enjoyed a .462 bore horn; not too small, not too big...
Thank you.
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Flip Oakes
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2021 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Brevette was a .464” bore
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Kumara999
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2021 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So from what I can see they look to be the same horn just with different bore sizes - a bit confusing because the Meha I thought also came is 3 bore sizes:
Paris - .470; Paris France - .460 and Paris * France .464.

Does that mean that the .464 Meha and Brevette are the same horn or are there some other differences?
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OldSchoolEuph
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2021 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kanstul copied the dimensions of the F.Besson originals for both Brevete and MEHA. These are ca. 1940 originals with the MEHA on the right. In the transition between stem and flare, the MEHA is wider than the Brevete.

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JonathanM
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2021 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ron, Heather, and Flip; thank you for your replies!

Flip, it's a special treat hearing from you. I see you don't post a lot here, hearing from you more would be a pleasure.
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JonathanM
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2021 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An interesting article on the older, original French Besson is found here...
https://trompete.com.pt/eng/vintageBesson.html

Regarding the Kanstul made Brevete and Meha, this same article states,

"...The Bessons you are thinking of are the replicas made by Zig Kanstul for the Boosey and Hawks Company starting in 1983/84 using original mandrills, saved from the Nazis in WW II by French Besson employees. This happened after the purchase of the Besson name by the English company following a fire that put the French company out of business. The Kanstul copies (they say Kanstul on the bottom of the second valve casing and use 4 digit serial numbers) were named the Breveté (.460 bore) and the Meha (.470 bore). The Meha was originally named for the grand-daughter of Madame Besson."
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Kumara999
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2021 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Jonathan. That’s an interesting article.

I have a .470 bore Kanstual Meha and love it. So light. Easy and fun to play. Would love to try it side by side with the Brevette.

Shame you don’t live in Canada.

Heather
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Kumara999
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2021 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anyone played a Meha .470 side by side with a Brevete? How did they compare?

I am trying to decide if I need both?
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OldSchoolEuph
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2021 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kumara999 wrote:
Has anyone played a Meha .470 side by side with a Brevete? How did they compare?

I am trying to decide if I need both?


I had to think about how to answer this.

I have a ca. 1939 actual French Besson Brevete, which when I happened to be playing alongside a guy with the Kanstul version, I took to rehearsal for his (more skilled than my own) opinion. No only did the Kanstul Brevete and the real thing sound identical, he found that they played identical. In both regards it was exactly what one identifies with a classic French trumpet sound and behavior.

I also have a Kanstul MEHA. Its sound is a bit fuller and more mainstream - that's the best way I can describe it. It is perhaps less orchestral in nature. It slots tighter than the Brevetes, and takes more energy if you need to make up for the lesser projection it seems to have, but then it fills the room while the Brevete always is clearly identifiable as to exactly where it is coming from.

Both have the expected complex overtones, just with a slightly different curve to the spectrum. Both respond with less effort than a standard weight Bach 180, and while the MEHA may slot tighter, both are definitely more flexible than the standard Bach 180 while not being as much so as a Schilke B. I was going to say it is like comparing a Schilke B2 to a Schilke B6, but I always catch grief from people who feel my take on the B6 more rightly should be assigned to the B5 - so interpret that as you wish.
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Kumara999
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2021 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Ron - that's a great explanation. Now you definitely have me wanting both.

Heather
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AndyDavids
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2021 3:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OldSchoolEuph wrote:
In both regards it was exactly what one identifies with a classic French trumpet sound and behavior.

I also have a Kanstul MEHA. Its sound is a bit fuller and more mainstream-
If you don't mind, can you explain this a bit more?
I'm still learning and not sure what the French sound/behavior is compared to mainstream...
From what I've read, Benge Chicago's and Bach NY's were based off this design.
Is it correct to infer that these sound less full but with better projection?
Thanks so much,
Andy
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OldSchoolEuph
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2021 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AndyDavids wrote:
OldSchoolEuph wrote:
In both regards it was exactly what one identifies with a classic French trumpet sound and behavior.

I also have a Kanstul MEHA. Its sound is a bit fuller and more mainstream-
If you don't mind, can you explain this a bit more?
I'm still learning and not sure what the French sound/behavior is compared to mainstream...
From what I've read, Benge Chicago's and Bach NY's were based off this design.
Is it correct to infer that these sound less full but with better projection?
Thanks so much,
Andy


That's a tougher question than on might think - and it is based (I believe, others may disagree) almost entirely on the bell geometry and its interaction with the placement of mass in the rest of the horn (though leadpipe tapers need to be engineered to compliment those of the bell, so I suppose that is a factor as well). This is why MOST Bach horns would not fall into that category - Bach took a lot more from the Holtons that he played than most people realize, and other than some of his early designs like the "T" bell and a couple others, when built with 66/34 French Brass and rather lightly in Bach's case, his horns sound more "like a Bach" and not so French. However he did pursue that sound at times, designating a few of his horns as French on the shop cards.

As the Bach example demonstrates, within makers there can be more and less French style trumpets. So when trying to make a list, one has to generalize to the extent that there will be clearly non-French examples to be found. But with that disclaimer, the French family of trumpets extends from the more obvious F.Besson, Courtois, Couesnon and to a noticeably lesser extent the Selmers, to early Besson & Co., Benge (the Chicago Benges being anywhere from 0% to 90+% F.Besson), FE Olds "French" and "Military" models, and to a limited extent the Schilke Bs - with B2 being clearly French. I mention this pallet of options to try and give a frame of reference as far as what makes up the distinctive sounds of these horns.

More generally, French style trumpets, even those that we would cringe at the sound of today such a Millereau, have similarity in tonal properties such as a lack of anything resembling the "Bach core" that typifies modern concepts of trumpet tone. In general, the spectrum is biased a little brighter, though a French style trumpet can still produce a very rich sound if played for that effect - its just a different spectrum from the familiar Bach one. French trumpets in general project, and can cut through an ensemble - appearing brighter when they do so often. French style trumpets can incorporate some edge in the tone, (the good ones without becoming harsh), but always as an accent on a solid trumpet sound, not a brassy one. French trumpets are characterized by a full overtone spectrum that gives the tone some sparkle - even when not in the high register. Finally, and very generally, the tone of a French trumpet tends to be more focused, though most Selmers depart from that as do some Courtois horns (while others, particularly Courtois-built Leblanc Sonics, are very much so).

Along with the crucial influence of the bell geometry, the other physical features that go into producing this sound typically make for a horn that centers/slots flexibly - though this is highly variable based on other details of geometry and couplings. Low-copper brass, which is naturally less dense and ductile, thus reflecting more highs relative to what higher copper would absorb as the wave propagates through the raceway, is associated with French design. Construction of French style trumpets tends to be lighter - but not necessarily in the end-to-end manner of a modern "lightweight" trumpet. Instead it is more a matter of individual elements such as the bell, the taper of bell thickness, the placement of mass in the body, and less aggressive bracing. These details influence the inertia, and give French style trumpets a feel of having more control - if you are strong enough, weaker players may find them "squirrelly". Across the spectrum of makers of French style trumpets, these factors vary quite a bit, thus the playing feel of these different makes vary likewise.

Lastly, as Benge discovered, the working and annealing of the bell brass is critical to creating a French sound (and feel) - and if I ever figure out how exactly that works, I'll be sure to write about it!


Lumping horns into tonal labels gets a bit messy because there is such diversity out there. The Bach warm core trumpet tone became dominant in the later half of the 20th century in terms of that socio-cultural perception, and is thus what most will hear in their head when one says "mainstream". The French sound became quite scarce by the end of the century despite a brief resurgence in the 1970s. There is also the "true trumpet sound" tonal concept which does not have as much strength/warmth to the midtones nor sparkle in the overtones, but still covers a broad spectrum evenly and very recognizably as a trumpet. This family mixes well with the "mainstream" and is exemplified by the Conn 22B Early model, as well as some later Conns, Holtons of the 50s/60s, and the King Liberty (1, 2, 2B, 3B) and Super-20 models. At the opposite end of the sound concept spectrum from French trumpets, we find the very dark and rich, perfect for soft jazz, Martin Committee inspired, but today much darker, horns that have become popular in recent decades. The Bach 72* horns bridge between this sound concept and mainstream, as some will argue the Wild Things do, while others in this set like a Calicchio 3/9 (especially the 3/9 copper) are pure dark & smokey.

So there are at least 4 identifiable trumpet sounds out there. (And that is before we get to the hybrid of mainstream and French sound that is called "commercial" by so many) Which is best is 100% situationally dependent. This is why so many of us have so many horns!
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Kumara999
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2021 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So would that mean that a F. Besson Meha would have a similar play and sound concept to a Benge - something like a 3X?
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OldSchoolEuph
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2021 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kumara999 wrote:
So would that mean that a F. Besson Meha would have a similar play and sound concept to a Benge - something like a 3X?


I think we will need some Benge people to chime in as to what Benge would be closer to a MEHA. The original Benge 3 bell has a Brevete heritage and is thus similar, however when BAC received the Benge mandrels from Kanstul, there were at least 5 Benge 3s - and not all the same dimensionally. So that further complicates making any comparison like this, as it is probable that not all Benge 3 horns have the same bell.
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Liberty Lips
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2021 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Benge 3x is similar to the Besson Brevéte. The Besson Meha was closer to the Benge 6x or CG.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2021 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I visited a nearby music store back in the 1980s that had one Meha and two Brevetes. They let me take both models into a back room and play to my heart’s content. Both were very good trumpets, but my pick was the Meha - it was easy to play and sounded great. After I went home, I put my Bach ML43 up for sale, planning to buy the Meha. This was before the ease of buying and selling on the internet, so it was just a local market sale, and there were no takers. I still play the old Bach (a 1976 model) and am happy with it, but sometimes wonder how the Meha would have worked out.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2021 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i would imagine that the CG Benge would be the closest seeing that Claude was copying his Meha but maybe the 6x would have been what Benge himself was calling his Meha clone.....

i have both a CG and 2 Mehas (96k and 104k) and the 104k looks, feels and plays almost identically to my CG
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AndyDavids
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2021 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OldSchoolEuph wrote:
Lastly, as Benge discovered, the working and annealing of the bell brass is critical to creating a French sound (and feel) - and if I ever figure out how exactly that works, I'll be sure to write about it!
I very much look forward to that! And thank you so much for such a wonderful explanation. I copied it into a doc so I can reference this over and over...
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