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The Trombone ForumHorns, Gear, and EquipmentInstruments(Moderators: tbone62, Greg Waits) Bass Trombones: Yamaha YBL-613 vs. Benge Symphonic 290
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Author Topic: Bass Trombones: Yamaha YBL-613 vs. Benge Symphonic 290  (Read 1177 times)
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sidenius
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« on: Feb 01, 2018, 03:00AM »

I'm a returning bass trombone player looking to purchase a bass trombone.
I found two potentiel horns in my area within the same price range - a Yamaha YBL-613 and a Benge Symphonic 290
Both instruments are supposed to be in very good condition.
I will be playing it in a big band.
I will not be able to test them against each other.
Which one would be the best buy?
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Stan

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« Reply #1 on: Feb 01, 2018, 03:49AM »

All things being equal, Iíd try and talk down the price on the Benge, since itís an older discontinued model. The Gb/G combined valve is handy.
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hyperbolica
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« Reply #2 on: Feb 01, 2018, 05:25AM »

I personally don't like the big bell on the Benge. The Yamaha will probably be easier to play. Might depend on which 613 variant you're talking about, 613r, h, g...
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bassboneman

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« Reply #3 on: Feb 01, 2018, 06:04AM »

If you are a returning bass trombonist...
Are you used to a Dependent or Independent set up?

The Yamaha is a Dependent horn and the Benge is an Indi.

Yes, the Benge has a larger bell - but only by a little.

Benge horns tend to get a bad rep - not sure why.

If you are using the horn mainly for jazz - i would prefer the Benge! The variations on the independent setup of valves will lend itself to navigating tricky technical passages you may see.

The Yammie is a good horn Good!

Looking forward to reading more on this thread :o)

Sam
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JohnL
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« Reply #4 on: Feb 01, 2018, 08:17AM »

The Yamaha is a Dependent horn and the Benge is an Indi.
The YBL-613 is an indy.

They're both good "general purpose" bass trombones; I think the the YBL-613 lends itself little more easily to a commercial sound, while the Benge lends itself a bit more readily to a symphonic sound, but those are only slight tendencies. Either one would be comfortable in a broad spectrum of playing situations.

If the horns are local to you, play 'em and buy the one you like the best. If you're not able to try them out, I'd say go with the Yammy.
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crazytrombonist505
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« Reply #5 on: Feb 01, 2018, 09:20AM »

My personel bass is a Benge 290. Great horn! As stated above, Benge trombone tend to be underrated, but the 290 I have is very nice imo. I canít compare it to the 613 because I havenít played one of those. Iíd try both, and buy the one that suits you best.

Good luck!
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bassboneman

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« Reply #6 on: Feb 01, 2018, 09:46AM »

The YBL-613 is an indy.

oops! my bad! I was thinking 611 - which is a dependent horn
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« Reply #7 on: Feb 01, 2018, 10:28AM »

Try to find out the model number of the Yamaha. If it has a ten inch bell it's a YBL 613G, if it has a 9 1/2 inch bell it's a 613H. Both are very good but the 9 1/2 inch bell is the later design, and it plays somewhat more Bach like, good all around, and works well in orchestra. The 10 inch bell has more splash in the sound, and may be better when a lighter sound is wanted for commercial work. At any rate these are only tendencies, as both are good horns. I like them better than the Benge which is very large in the tuning slide-bell area. The Benge does some things well but overall I consider it less well balanced than the Yamahas.
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sidenius
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« Reply #8 on: Feb 05, 2018, 03:59AM »

Thank you all for replies!
I now have had the change to play test the Benge 290.
Unfortunately I also had the opportunity to play a friends King Duo Gravis up against the Benge :-(
The Benge is a really nice bass trombone but compared to the Duo Gravis I really miss some cut through and presence - especially considering that I'm going to use it in a big band.
The Benge would fit perfectly into a symphonic/wind band I think
But maybe the Yamaha 613 (which I will be testing in a couple of weeks) will have more of the wanted cut through?
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Roscotrombone
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« Reply #9 on: Feb 05, 2018, 07:17AM »

The brass band I play has the Yamaha which I keep at work and practice on it if I have some free time.

It is a good horn and generally a good blow but I have an issue with trigger set up - it's very neat which means my hand position is affected and after 10 mins or so my wrist starts to hurt.

A newer one may be better but that's something to consider too
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« Reply #10 on: Feb 05, 2018, 07:32AM »

Thank you all for replies!
I now have had the change to play test the Benge 290.
Unfortunately I also had the opportunity to play a friends King Duo Gravis up against the Benge :-(
The Benge is a really nice bass trombone but compared to the Duo Gravis I really miss some cut through and presence - especially considering that I'm going to use it in a big band.
The Benge would fit perfectly into a symphonic/wind band I think
But maybe the Yamaha 613 (which I will be testing in a couple of weeks) will have more of the wanted cut through?

Not many horns will naturally lie as well in big band as the Duo Gravis.  If THAT is closer to what you are aiming for, then it is good you've tried the Benge.  I loved the Benge, but found it was SO much more work to keep the volume down and the counterpoint clarity up in big band that it just wasn't worth it.  At the other end of the spectrum, it is MUCH harder to put a good bottom on a trombone choir with the Duo Gravis than with the Benge.

I strongly suspect you will find that the Yamaha will make your life easier in big band.
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« Reply #11 on: Feb 05, 2018, 08:12AM »

I'm not a bass player but they had me play a Duo Gravis for a semester when I lived in Wisconsin.

That weird side by side trigger gave me carpal tunnel pretty fast.  Maybe if I'd known what I was doing there was a better way to hold it.  Or maybe it was just the size and shape of my hands.  I know you can modify the linkage but it was a school horn. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #12 on: Feb 05, 2018, 06:15PM »

I'm not a bass player but they had me play a Duo Gravis for a semester when I lived in Wisconsin.

That weird side by side trigger gave me carpal tunnel pretty fast.  Maybe if I'd known what I was doing there was a better way to hold it.  Or maybe it was just the size and shape of my hands.  I know you can modify the linkage but it was a school horn. 

I didn't get the impression his friend was selling the Duo Gravis...  Evil
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« Reply #13 on: Feb 05, 2018, 07:03PM »

I've used a Benge 290 in my sophomore year in jazz and wind ensemble.  I've found that it played better in the wind ensemble and symphonic settings and a little too much work in jazz.  As others had said, it's a really good playing horn for what it's worth and with Benge/King trombones, if you find the right mouthpiece and receiver, it'll come alive!  I haven't had any experiences with the Yamaha 613, but based on other posts about it in different topics, I'm sure it'll do fine in jazz!  Also yes, nothing beats a good Duo Gravis in a big band!  Good luck!
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« Reply #14 on: Feb 06, 2018, 05:06AM »

I didn't get the impression his friend was selling the Duo Gravis...  Evil

Not selling???????

If it's free, I'll take it!  <humor>  <I've learned the hard way I sometimes have to spell that out> 
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Tim Richardson
sidenius
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« Reply #15 on: Feb 06, 2018, 09:18AM »

Try to find out the model number of the Yamaha. If it has a ten inch bell it's a YBL 613G, if it has a 9 1/2 inch bell it's a 613H. Both are very good but the 9 1/2 inch bell is the later design, and it plays somewhat more Bach like, good all around, and works well in orchestra. The 10 inch bell has more splash in the sound, and may be better when a lighter sound is wanted for commercial work. At any rate these are only tendencies, as both are good horns. I like them better than the Benge which is very large in the tuning slide-bell area. The Benge does some things well but overall I consider it less well balanced than the Yamahas.


By the way: it's the first YBL-613 model without a suffix.
I don't know how it compares to the later 613 models which are designed with open wrap?
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« Reply #16 on: Feb 08, 2018, 03:21PM »

Ahh, that's the early one, before the 613H came out. I know there was a 613 and 613R. I don't see a listing for a 613G in the yamaha parts catalog. I also see a 613HEL and 613HS.

I think the condition of the horn, and how it plays for you would be most important. Both are good horns but if treated poorly they can be not the best.  How is the plating on the 613 inner slide tubes?
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sidenius
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« Reply #17 on: Feb 09, 2018, 07:37AM »

Ahh, that's the early one, before the 613H came out. I know there was a 613 and 613R. I don't see a listing for a 613G in the yamaha parts catalog. I also see a 613HEL and 613HS.

I think the condition of the horn, and how it plays for you would be most important. Both are good horns but if treated poorly they can be not the best.  How is the plating on the 613 inner slide tubes?

I don't know about the plating on the inner slide tubes yet. I will get the chance to play test it next week.
I was just a little worried about the closed wrap design on this early model, but people seem to like it anyway though the 613H gets the most positive reviews
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John Beers Jr.

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« Reply #18 on: Feb 09, 2018, 08:21AM »

I was just a little worried about the closed wrap design on this early model

What's there to be worried about? You'll play it and decide if you like it or not.
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hyperbolica
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« Reply #19 on: Feb 09, 2018, 08:31AM »

I don't know about the plating on the inner slide tubes yet. I will get the change to play test it next week.
I was just a little worried about the closed wrap design on this early model, but people seem to like it anyway though the 613H gets the most positive reviews
Closed wrap is nothing to worry about. Ever see a tuba? The closed wrap turns out to be mostly a convenience for draining condensation, little if any effect on sound or backpressure.
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Matt K

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« Reply #20 on: Feb 09, 2018, 10:07AM »

In my experience, the problem with closed wrap horns - beyond the obvious problem of condensation from time to time - is that they have more solder points to get screwed up when getting built. But you look at some of the most coveted horns at the moment and they are closed wrap horns --- Mt. Vernon 36/42/50 & Elkhart 88Hs (and to some extent the straight versions of these).

That said, if you have a closed wrap horn that you don't like the way it plays... have a tech give it a look over.  I've done this to a variety of older horns and the results have been definitely worth it.  Some more minor than others, but some the change was unbelievable. 
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« Reply #21 on: Feb 09, 2018, 02:12PM »

In my experience the 61x basses could benefit from some work if you donít know how it was handled beforehand. A colleague of mine had work done on his and they straightened out some stress in the wrap with much improvement. And I felt it could use less bracing. Fine horns though.
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