One of the greatest pleasures for the Bennings has been the making of new instruments.
Initially Paul Toenniges, founder of Studio City Music and father of Nancy Benning, 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 instrument making has reached its third generation and Eric Benning has now crafted over 100 instruments with many more on the way.
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 by having an excellent selection of raw materials to begin with.
Violins made by the Bennings are made primarily on Stradivarius, Guarnerius and Balestrieri outlines. Cellos are made after Stradivarius, Amati, David Tecchler and a small Guadagnini model. Violas also follow the Stradivarius outline in a comfortable 16 1/4" model as well as an ergonomic model based on an "oak leaf" pattern.
Inquiries about custom Baroque instruments along with special carvings is also encouraged.
Most of all their instruments are varnished with a slight antiquing, 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 achieve. When encountering prejudice towards new instruments, Hans is heard frequently saying, "Stradivarius made new instruments".
Benning instruments may be ordered with usually less than a year for your order to be completed.