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Bought a Barone Vintage alto, bare brass, in my search for a workhorse horn so I don't have to bring out the Mark VI alto and tenor, which IMHO are now too expensive to justify leaving in cars and on bandstands in smoky clubs with open back doors etc. Being one who feels vintage horns offer "pro equipment at student prices" I'd previously tried to replace the Six with a 1947 Martin Comm III (The Martin), on which I put Saxmedic white roo pads w/star-shaped brass resos. The Martin kicks it, but there was still "something" in the sound that I was missing. After a very easy time dealing with Phil, I went for the Barone vintage alto. The horn arrived Friday.
I had to leave for a gig with a 10-piece Salsa band but was able to spend about 40 minutes with the horn before I had to go. The first 20 were spent finding and removing the shipping corks. The next 20 were spent A-B'ing the Barone and the Martin. The Martin held up quite well. Better than the 6 would have, actually. But guess which one made it to the gig?
Correct: The Barone. And it was a no-brainer.
Literally right out of the box and onto the bandstand. It performed flawlessly all night, plus it gave me the sound I was looking for, along with spot-on intonation.
The Martin will be going up for sale soon. The six has to stay for sentimental reasons, since I've had it since high school (1976....) But I don't plan on playing it any time soon.
If you are one of those folks who are considering the vintage/modern horn connundrum or the big-four-vs.-Barone riddle, or any enigmatic combination thereof, let me assure you, as the owner of a WELL PLAYING Mark VI alto and an equally fine example of a vintage Martin alto (that I want to sell!), that the Barone represents not only the best value, but the best horn. Not the best horn for the money, the best horn.
A while back I went on the same oddyssey with the tenor, replacing my Mark VI first with a Super 20 then with a Conn tranny 259xxx. I loved the Super 20 but ultimately the Conn won out, producing the best and biggest sound and, again, unrivalled intonation. Just don't have any desire now to play the King or the Mark VI anymore. Good thing I replaced my tenor before discovering the Barone alto. Otherwise I'd have never tried the beloved Conn because I would have gone right out and gotten a Barone tenor. (May still do it...though Conn will definitely stay)
I won't get into the (subjective) nitty gritty details about tone/timbre/response/ergos etc etc. The (objective) fact is the Barone went to the gig while the others stayed home. 'Nuff said.
Oh, and I have a rehearsal with another band (jazz/funk) tonight. Guess which alto is in the car?
THANK YOU PHIL!!!!!

p.s. you should see the molded flight case the thing came in, along with the Barone mpc. pretty sweet.
 

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That's a good call. One could go on at length about ergos, intonation, focus etc etc, but in the end it's about which horn comes to the gig and which little piggy stays home.
 

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Bought a Barone Vintage alto, bare brass, in my search for a workhorse horn so I don't have to bring out the Mark VI alto and tenor, which IMHO are now too expensive to justify leaving in cars and on bandstands in smoky clubs with open back doors etc.
I think that is absolutely the smart play. If I could even afford a minty Mk VI (which I can't), no freakin' way would I take it to a smoky bar of drunk and falling over dancing people, just to try to fight to have the nuances of its tone color even perceived over an amplified guitar-- all for a $50 take. Not when I can get 96% of the sound (or 100% of what the audience would end up hearing) for a fraction of the value of a VI. However, there are some on SOTW who would accuse you of short-changing your audience if you brought any horn to a any gig that was not the absolute BEST. However in your case, the Barone IS the best! Good for you.
 

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Bought a Barone Vintage alto, bare brass, in my search for a workhorse horn ........
Exact same model with me. Got mine last week. Already played about four times in church service this past one week and making big impact. My sax teacher was impressed with the sound. I'm impressed with the sound too.

Since you seem to use this PB intensely, why not compete which one of ours tarnish faster. With mine, the two thumb rests are showing darker thumb marks and will soon turn brownish. Some parts of the body is already showing some discolouration and spots. That soon huh...

BTW, I think I can also attribute this impressive Vintage sound to the PB New York mpiece that came standard with it. When I put on this PB mpiece on my CustomZ, it also sounds so good.
 

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Great review! Thanks.
 

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Well there is a growing number of voices who rate these horns extremely highly including me. I hope that Phil will continue to provide them well into the future; They are now definately "deserved of wider recognition" and could potentially top a readers poll. Well done Phil.
 

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I think that is absolutely the smart play. If I could even afford a minty Mk VI (which I can't), no freakin' way would I take it to a smoky bar of drunk and falling over dancing people, just to try to fight to have the nuances of its tone color even perceived over an amplified guitar-- all for a $50 take. Not when I can get 96% of the sound (or 100% of what the audience would end up hearing) for a fraction of the value of a VI. However, there are some on SOTW who would accuse you of short-changing your audience if you brought any horn to a any gig that was not the absolute BEST. However in your case, the Barone IS the best! Good for you.
+1 - my thoughts exactly which is why I'm thinking about getting a bari from Phil as well. I play with a 14 member funk/ horn band (TOP, Steely Dan, ect..) My Yani B992 is now worth almost $9k and I worry about it being damaged or stolen while gigging.
 
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