Besson 2-20 Tenor Horn?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by mclaugh, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. mclaugh

    mclaugh Member

    The french horn player in my church's brass ensemble has moved away, so I'm shopping for an intermediate level tenor horn to use to cover the french horn part. (I'm moving up from euph.) Unfortunately, good quality, reasonably price tenors are hard to come by in the US.

    I've found a Besson 2-20 that is in good mechanical and cosmetic condition: original lacquer is 95% plus, no dents or dings, excellent valve compression and slides. The asking price is US $300, which appears to be a bargain.

    I realize that the 2-20 dates from the late 1940s to early/mid 1960s, but, having owned a late 1960s B&H Imperial for 30-some years, I'm less concerned about the age than the playing characteristics--intonation, blow, responsiveness, etc. How does it stack up against current intermediate-level tenor horns? Any problems with the 2-20 to watch out for?

  2. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  3. mclaugh

    mclaugh Member

    Hmm ... interesting.

    The 2-20 I'm considering has upright valves and does not have the extra plumbing for F. It looks like this one on, but in lacquer:


    Any thoughts/opinions on how it plays?
  4. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    In all honesty, it looks like an F alto horn with a crook to lower it to Eb.
  5. mclaugh

    mclaugh Member

    Maybe I'm overlooking something obvious here, but the horn I'm considering plays in Eb. Are you saying that it originally came with an additional, shorter main tuning slide that put it in F?
  6. Independent Silver Band

    Independent Silver Band Active Member

    Many of them here in the states do have dual slides, as most parts here are for French horn in F.
  7. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I was at work bypassing the filters and never saw the pics. Definitely Eb.
  8. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    yep its def an Eb, do you have an option to play it before you buy? it's very hard to tell from pictures alone how those older instruments will play until you put air through it.
  9. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Don't you think it resembles the New Standard model?
  10. Soundman

    Soundman New Member

    Because of it's age. i.e. pre- 1965, it would be wise to check that it is not in the old "High Pitch". If it was made in the '50s or later, it should have the prefix L.P. (for Low Pitch) before the serial number. This can usually be found on the bell.
  11. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  12. mclaugh

    mclaugh Member

    I owned a 1975 New Standard euph until I sold it earlier this year, and the hardware (valve caps, finger button) are the wrong style for New Standard.

    Between that and the fact that it has 2-20 engraved on the bell below the BESSON, I'd say it's definitely a 2-20 rather than a New Standard (unless someone went to the trouble of engraving "2-20" on the bell :eek:).

    I'm going to pass on this one unless I can get the price down below US$ 200 because, as a friend pointed out, if anything happens to it, it'll be darn near impossible to get spare parts.

    Thanks for the help.
  13. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    It's similar, not exact. The New Standard may have evolved from that design concept. I never really tried the NS though.