|One of the greatest pleasures for the Bennings
has been the making of new instruments. Initially Paul Toenniges in his
lifetime made 50 double basses. Hans and Nancy Benning have collaborated
on making over 150 violins, violas, cellos bass gambas, tenor gambas and
viola d'more. This passion for making has reached its third generation
and Eric Benning has now made over 50 instruments with many more on the
Each step of the new making process is done with carefully thought out accuracy. The wood chosen is well seasoned Bosnian maple for the back sides and scroll, and the top is Bavarian or Bosnian spruce. Most of their wood that is used has been aged for at least 25 years. Years of foresight and many trips to Europe to hand select each piece of wood, has benefited the Bennings in having an excellent selection of raw materials to begin with.
Violins made by the Bennings are made primarily on Stradivarius and Guarnerius outlines. Cellos are made after Stradivarius, Amati, David Tecchler and a small John Betts model. Violas also follow the Stradivarius outline in a comfortable 161/2" model. Inquiries into their Baroque instruments along with special carvings is also encouraged.
Most of all their instruments are varnished as new instruments, with the exception of special order copies. The Bennings feel that the unique wear that occurs over time is the best form of patina that an instrument could get. When encountering prejudice towards new instruments, Hans is heard frequently saying, "Stradivarius made new instruments". Benning instruments can be ordered with usually less than a year for your order to be completed.