i am selling a benge but dont know history

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i would like to add some history to my benge symphonic 175 with f trigger.(not a 175f).   from what i have found , it is a .525 bore and 8"bell.the serial # is 194715.  could someone advise what happened to the model? and what it morphed into? bach? king? it is no longer listed in any catelogue so cannot tell the age or playing characteristics.  thanks

denny seifried:

The Benge trombone which you are looking for information, is, sadly, no longer being manufactured, up in Eastlake OH. The Benge line of trombones were produced to fill a void in the professional trombone market, when Conn professional trombones were being built down in Abelene TX, and the quality began to suffer on models such as the Conn 88H. Some professional trombonists would no longer purchase new Conn pro-level trombones, after the move to Abelene; so, the Benge line was developed to fill the void in the market, left by poor Conn quality.

Seems like Benge was able to obtain a lot of professional trombonists to endorse and perform on the new Benge line of trombones. I know that several very high profile players were using Benge trombones, with guys like John "Doc" Marcellus, Alan Raph, Gary Carney, The Cleveland Orchestra Trombone Section, and Jim Pugh, to name just a few.

I do believe the Benge line of trombones was created with the assistance of design people like former UMI designer and current brass guru, Chuck Ward, of Chardon OH. They produced an entire line of trombones, in .500 bore, .525 bore, .547 bore, and a .562 bore bass trombone. Several of the models came with attachments. I believe the Benge trombones might have shared some commonality with some of the King line of trombones; however, there were some slight differences, like brass slides and some gold brass bells, where King were brass bells and nickel silver slides. Some trim items, bell mandrels and valves may have been shared with King or very similar designs to King.

I have always felt that several of the Benge trombones are some of the BEST bargains going, on the used trombone market, especially the Benge 190F, as I see these horns going fairly inexpensive, for the great playing horn they have been and always will be. A couple of years ago, I passed-up a chance to get a 190F for around $800, in great shape and a great player, to boot!

If you want to talk to a very unhappy individual, talk to Chuck Ward, and he will lament, sadly, that when all of the combinations of UMI-Holton-LeBlanc-Selmer-Conn-King all merged, Benge was the looser and trombone production was ended, for good.

That's about all I can tell you, about your Benge trombone.

The Benge line of trombones were introduced by King in the early 1980's as a Symphonic Trombone to compete with Bach and Conn.

The 170 was a straight 0.500" bore trombone with 8" bell.

The 175 was a straight 0.525" bore trombone with 8" bell. (Bach 36, Conn 78H)
The 175-F was a 175 with an F-attachment. (Bach 36B, Conn 79H)

The 190 was a straight 0.547" bore trombone with 8 1/2" bell. (Bach 42, Conn 8H)
The 190F was a 190 with an F-attachment. (Bach 42B, Conn 88H)
The 190C was a 190 that was convertible.

When King and Conn merged to form UMI, the Benge trombones seem to have disappeared (with the exception of the 290 Bass).

The Benge 175 spelled the death of the first King 3B+ series (2125 and 2125F).
The Benge 190 was supposed to replace the King 4B, but it didn't.

These were good playing horns, but never got the credit they deserved.

Bruce's info pretty much agrees with what I remember hearing over the years. The Benge 'bones do share some components with Kings; my 290 bass is clearly a close relative to the King 2107 and 2108. My understanding is that they were pretty much intended to go head-to-head with the Bach line

The most obvious differences from their King cousins were the outer slide material (Benges use brass rather than nickel silver), the straight bell brace, the f-attachment wrap, and (in some cases) the bell material.

Here's a some info from trombone-l:

In addition to the models Bruce mentioned, there were also the 165/165F (.547" bore "basic pro") and 160 (.525"; possibly also "basic pro", but I'm not sure).

Quote from: "BGuttman"

When King and Conn merged to form UMI, the Benge trombones seem to have disappeared (with the exception of the 290 Bass).

Not quite true. Yes, the early Benges were sold under the King umbrella (and even came in cases with the King nameplate on them), but when UMI was formed, the Benge like continued to be produced. My 190f is a "UMI" Benge (the nameplate on the case even has the UMI logo on it).

The Benge line was slimmed down over the years, to where all that remained by the end was the 165f, 190f and 290 bass, but the brand remained in production, from the best info I can gather, until late 2004 or early 2005, after the UMI/Steinway merger (perhaps that's the merger you really meant to say rather than Conn/King).


These were good playing horns, but never got the credit they deserved.

In total agreement! Wouldn't trade my 190f for anything (well, maybe for one of the prototype 190s).


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