Conjunto de informações e opiniões minimamente credíveis, de modelos de trompete mais marcantes da história recente: Besson MEHA e Besson Brevette (recolha efetuada em diferentes Links durante alguns anos e apenas como fim informativo. Desde já o muito obrigado aos responsáveis por tal).

“…The earlier Besson Meha trumpets were not, large bore instruments. They were ML instruments, with the exception of one specific model Meha, named for the exporter and characterized by a long third valve slide. These were small bore horns...and were called "Rapwana" or something that sounded like that. They were used for a time in recording situations when one mic was hung in front of an orchestra.
The large bore Meha Bessons are almost all, if not all, post 2nd world war horns. They are newer, not older.
The Brevette Bessons u see floating around today in the 90,000 serial number range are horns put together either during or following the war, and are very inconsistent, especially in the valve casing. Many leaked and were almost not useable out of the box.
The earlier serial number Brevette, Meha and Fabrication Meha, however, inspired Bach, Schilke and Benge.
Ren Schilke once showed me his collection in the old shop, and let me honk away on a few...although I had played on them previously, Ren had some of the best, in perfect condition as well.
I used to visit Mario Marcone, who worked at Bruno & Sons and inherited all the Besson bells, pipes and pistons when importation ended. Always wondered what happened to them...probably still in the basement, somewhere...”

“…On very good authority by the late Hal Oringer, Besson Brass Expert, Dave Rodgers, NY Trpt Pro and avid Besson collector and Robb Stewart, brass Restoration specialist out of Los Angeles, there is no such animal as a pre-war Meha. The .470 bore French Besson " Meha " ( the .460 bore Besson being the French Besson Brevete' ) were developed right after World War II around '48 and started around the magic 92,000 serial number point.
“Meha " was the name of Madame Besson's granddaughter and that is how and who the model was named after. Any “Meha .470 bore” with a casing with less than.. let's say 91, xxx serial number ... is either a trumpet built during the War in the states using imported Besson parts which was occurring in NY during the Nazi occupation of France between ' 43 and '47 (There was a ban on any French goods during the German occupation of France, but French repair parts for pre-war French goods were authorized by the state department as necessary) or a Besson Brevete' that had the original bell replaced with a " Meha " bell.
So to split hairs, there is no such animal as a “Pre-War Original French Besson Meha"…”

“…I think you (?) may be wrong here for this is a horn Robb has had for sale on his site for a while:
…What you might have heard is that the LARGE BORE Meha didn't appear until after WWII which is true. Read this correspondence I once had with Robb about this very matter:
The large bore (.468") MEHA didn't appear until after WWII. The Rapuana version are usually medium bore, but this one is ML (.460"). I don't believe that there was a .464" bore. I'm always interested in trades as long as I can make a profit on them.
Besson “Fabrication" is the Rapuano M bore.......the same horn sold in Europe would have been stamped Meha.
Two concerns were importing Besson trumpets to New York in the 1930s--both without the Besson name, as it was illegal to import Bessons from France then (because the English branch kept Anglophone export rights when they bought out the French family in 1895-1896). Both said only "Fabrication Francaise Perfectionee"…Later, there was the diamond Meha stamp added (which is a Rapuano). One was the Leisch boys (Oscar,predominantly)--who brought in what would have been a normal "Grands Prix" trumpet (i.e. with the medals), --set up with third slide tuning--with the throw ring below and the stop rod on top; this is the ax that Bach copied (but with the ring on top--the stop rod on the bottom (Besson thought you shouldn't have your left hand in contact with the bell--so they set it up lower).The other was Joseph Rapuano--who brought in a model we have never seen for sale in Europe--but which is a throwback to their earliest days (I have a 1888 "Rapuano): long third valve slide, no tuning; first valve tuning (again underneath--).
Stan's horn (if it is the one I am thinking about) is cool because it is pre-WWI--and thus rather rare--though otherwise like the ones made in the 20s and 30s...Ken Fung just bought the 82xxx 20s ax on Ebay--for something like 1100-1200--less than what I told him it would go for (a few years ago, all Besson trumpets of that vintage in reasonable shape went for $1200-$1500--and prices were inching up--until the Recession hit.......

Serial Numbers
Dating a French Besson Meha can be a real crapshoot, given the poor recordkeeping that occurred during and after World War II. This is especially true of the later years, as there are reports of serial numbers up to 141,000, yet the only reference point we have is #92,000 in 1947 (and who knows how accurate that data point is?):
Serial Numbers / Year of Manufacture
001-10000 / 1869-74
10001-14000 / 1874-76
14001-24143 / 1876-79
24144-26000 / 1879-82
26001-30000 / 1882-84
30001-36000 / 1884-87
36001-40000 / 1887-89
40001-50000 / 1889-94
50001-68000 / 1894-1901
68001-69000 / 1901-05
69001-70000 / 1905-06
70001-77500 / 1906-11
77501-82000 / 1911-20
82001-87000 / 1920-34
87001-92000 / 1934-47

“…The pre-war/post-war differences are:
1. The post-war (roughly after #92000) have different valves, made in England. These valves are easy to identify, with a plastic ring shaped valve guide. The rumor is; the closer the horn is to 92000, the more likely it was made from left-over Paris parts. Those toward 100000 and beyond were made totally in England.
2. The post-war horns, in my opinion, play a little more open; more like a modern Benge. The pre-war horns have a more resistant blow.
3. The post-war "MEHA" is a .470 bore. The pre-war "MEHA" is a .460, and is a bastardized version of the true Paris horn, sometimes referred to as the "BREVETE". These pre-war MEHAs were assembled in NYC from mostly Parisian parts, and often have strange variations in the slides/braces.
4. Additionally, the pre-war horns come in two varieties. I'll go on a limb here, with my limited expertise and describe the difference as a SOFT bell and a HARD bell. (I don't know how to say this, but there are two distinct types. Maybe its French Brass and American Brass. The Soft bell has a larger bead, and goes "Thud" when you knick it with your fingernail, and is definitely lighter in weight. The Hard bell is a ringing bell. Both varieties play great, but with different timbres.
5. The pre-war horns prior to 1930 have really nice valves, very much like Bach valves or 1920s Conns, with the standard guide system. After 1930, they use a valve with a short brass strip screwed into the side of the piston as the guide. Often troublesome and annoying.

People often compare the pre-war Besson to the Benge or New York Bach….”

"…Here's a quick French Besson History lesson. Most of this was learned from Zig Kanstul, Hal Oringer, Dave Rogers and Robb Stewart, all names everyone should know and all much respected people and un-official historians of the French Besson saga.

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.

OK, here we go; most players refer to original Bessons as either pre-war or post war French Bessons (of course we are speaking of WW II and the occupation of France by Nazi forces that severely limited production of the French Bessons for approx. 5 years). There is a gap of serial numbers between approx. 88,000 and 92,000. French Besson Mehas (.470 bore) start at the 92,000 mark (circa 1945).
From here on out, we'll refer to only original French Bessons, not copies.
Besson Brevetés were the trumpet of choice for most of the top trumpet players in the US since the 1920s. Both classical and commercial players used Bessons. The Besson Breveté (.460) was the only model, for all intents and purposes, at the time offered by Besson. When WWII started, Carl Fischer Musical Instruments lobbied Congress to actually ban the French product from importation because of the Nazi occupation. This conveniently gave the trumpets made by Carl Fischer little foreign competition. Because of the vast use of Bessons though, the importation of trumpet parts was allowed for repairing purposes only, tariff or boycott free. The only condition put on Besson was that each piece/part had to be stamped with the make, model and Besson stamped into the brass. The bells would be stamped with Fabrication on them to signify they were for repair purposes only.

During the war a man named Rapuana who lived in NY got the great idea to fill the Besson trumpet void the idea by importing parts that were to be used for repair and building Bessons with these parts in the US. With the help of a NY repairman by the name of Marchione (sp?) that’s exactly what he did. At this point, the .470 bore Mehas were introduced in Europe and with the help of Rapuana, so did the states (Besson did not know or would not have approved of this arrangement). During this time, if someone happened to need a new bell, all that was available was a Meha bell. Thus, a Meha bell was eventually installed on a Breveté body, so came about the rare .460 bore Besson Meha.

Again, by serial numbers the authenticate Besson Mehas start at 92,000. The most valued Mehas are number from 92,000 to 100,000. After 100,000, the Besson Mehas were being built in London, with the infamous London valve casing (something like the Yamaha/Schilke valves of the 1980 that gave player so much trouble) and the different brass that the London Bessson factory used.

It is said that the French Bessons, post-war, used left over mortar shell casing from the War that littered the landscape (there was a great shortage of brass and other metals in post war France). With the heat of the explosion of the shell, plus the annealing used to forge bells and leadpipe, it’s said, this brass gave the Besson made in France their distinctive sound and feel…”

Breveté means Patented in French and the parts sent during the war time, the second valve casing had decote stamped on it which means tax (tariff) free. This signified to US Customs that it was exempt from the French Product Legislation.

A .470 bore trumpet was a breath of fresh air for commercial players (also classical player used them) who needed much more room than the peashooters; sound and feel that seemed to be losing it's luster, plus parts were getting higher and louder with the Big Bands of Herman, Barnet, etc., and eventually Kenton, so the days of the Conn 22B (and the like) were ending.

Here's the irony to the Besson story:
The war situation with the large company Besson and the quality problems of the giant US instrument manufacture such as Conn and Frank Holton gave an opportunity to small trumpet makers, who started copying the Bessons closely because of their popularity, to grab a small part of the trumpet market.
These small companies, whose owners usually did a lot of the work themselves, had names like Vincent Bach, Eldon Benge, Domenick Calicchio, Rudy Muck and F.E.Olds.

Today, Bach would be considered the industry leader like Besson was in its heyday, and small trumpet companies are coming up to fill a void left by certain aspects of Bach's line and quality. Think about it…" 

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