F. Besson Herald C/D Trumpet
The F. Besson Company was the pioneer of the modern trumpet. Their original trumpet designs from the 1880's became the benchmark against which all 20th century trumpets were measured. Many famous American trumpet makers like Vincent Bach, Elden Benge, Reynold Schilke, Domenick Calicchio, and many others all took inspiration or directly copied the French Besson trumpet. F. Besson trumpets were preferred by symphonic, studio, and jazz musicians alike, and still fit in nearly any musical situation. Recent research by Josh Landress has indicated that the cutoff for pre-war Bessons is closer to serial number 95,000, which means this trumpet is a pre-war model.
This is a herald trumpet in the key of C. It has a very narrow bell flare, similar to pre-WWI Besson C trumpets, and produces a clear, sweet sound. This trumpet has an underslung 3rd slide and decent ergonomics for a herald trumpet, although it is still front-heavy. This trumpet has very good intonation for a vintage C trumpet, but a little bit of slide work is still needed for C# and D below the staff and top space E and Eb. The upper register is easy and has great projection, no doubt due to the tighter bell flare.
This trumpet is finished in raw brass with a small amount of patina. The stamping on the bell and valve block is quite sharp, which means this trumpet has not been refinished in its lifetime. The pistons are nickel plated, and the plating shows very little wear. The valve compression is good for a horn of this age, but not as tight as a modern trumpet. There is evidence of a crack at the rim which has been soldered (see pictures). The metal at the rim is quite thin, measuring just .010" thick.