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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all!
Good news, I'm going to buy a baritone.
At the moment, the only ones available into my budget are a late King Voll True and an old Grassi.
I have no experience with these instrument makers and with baritones.
Sellers live far from me so I'd like to know which is the saxophone to try first and, hopefully,to buy.
I'd like to avoid to make more than one journey 'cause unfortunately for working reasons I don't have too much free time .
Thank you!
 

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I don't know anything about old Grassi baritones, but I would steer clear of an old King Voll True unless you are an experienced bari player and know exactly what you're getting into. These may not even be keyed to high F. I know the tuning of Voll True tenors can be "interesting".

I think that at least in the USA the best bet for an inexpensive playable baritone is an old Buescher 400/Bundy/Selmer USA (the ones with the bell keys on the right side but in between the bell and the body). I regularly see these in "look more or less playable, after you put some pads in" condition for less than $1000. There are a lot of them around.

As far as I can tell there aren't really any low A baritones in that price range. The low A vs. no low A issue has been hashed out here ad infinitum.
 

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Hi all!
Good news, I'm going to buy a baritone.
At the moment, the only ones available into my budget are a late King Voll True and an old Grassi.
I have no experience with these instrument makers and with baritones.
Sellers live far from me so I'd like to know which is the saxophone to try first and, hopefully,to buy.
I'd like to avoid to make more than one journey 'cause unfortunately for working reasons I don't have too much free time .
Thank you!
OK, if that is the VT on eBay......you may wanna tack several hundred dollars of repair onto the final price of that puppy.....
If it isn't, and the seller guarantees it plays well, then disregard this comment. It's keyed to high F but is absent the front F.

As noted by Turf...as far as a King Baritone, the VT-I has some 'flex' to its core.....the Zephyrs were more refined in most respects, and are easier to intone well on.

"Old Grassi"....can mean many things. Grassis became good in the late 70's-early 80's...that is when they stopped using the generic European parts which you see on many brands of the 60's/70's and started using their own parts and keywork.

So...if it is an 80's or later....VERY good horn. If earlier, it would be akin to a Malerne or Orsi - solid enough and well-built, nice tone, but the keywork isn't that responsive. Not a bad horn, but maybe only carrying a $900-1000 market value. in good playing shape.

Can you post a photo of the Grassi ? It'd be pretty important to determine its era in order to answer your question.

May I ask...what is your budget ?
 

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Just a few thoughts, my opinion as a Bari player, for what it's worth. The last horn you want to compromise on is Bari. Everything is more expensive from reeds to repads and beyond. Any repairs needed will cost more and they're more susceptible to damage, especially in shipping. Mechanics on some of the vintage and lesser brands can be described as clunky at best. Even though there is some "discussion" around this, if you are going to play modern charts, low A comes up a lot. If at all possible, try before you buy. Horns that I would recommend your saving for: Any Japan made Vito or Martin,(made by Yanagisawa), Yamaha YBS 52, Couf,(made by Keilwerth).Not my Favorites but decent, Selmer USA, Bundy, Buescher Aristocrat group with low A. Keep in mind that a full repad on a big horn can run $1000.00, depending on where you live.

Here's a list of stencils which includes Yani. I believe these can be real bargains since they are essentially identical to the Yani labeled horns.

http://bassic-sax.info/version5/vintage-saxes/stencil-saxes/stencil-saxophone-names-links/
 

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Discussion Starter #5
@JayeLID
OK, if that is the VT on eBay......
No, it isn't, it's another VT but it's the same model.
"Old Grassi"....can mean many things
It is a saxophone with no model name engraved. Anyway it's made with Ida exclusive parts, as the one to the link below (but with black rollers):
http://photobucket.com/gallery/http.../user/sonofjabba/media/Horns/Bari001.jpg.html

Have you ever tried a Ida bari?
I'm afraid that the tone is not really satisfactory.
Once I tried a tenor (a Pro 2k) and it was nice, but this bari is an older production and I can't compare a bari with a tenor.


@spike421
Thank you for your suggestion. I know bari saxophones are delicate and need to be well built.
At the moment I'm saving money for “real life” things, a bari it's just for fun. So I really can't spend too much.


@turf3
Indeed it's the tuning of the VT that makes me feel uneasy. Not 'cause it's a King, just because it's a '30s saxophone, eh eh.
Is the front F useful in a bari?
 

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@JayeLID
It is a saxophone with no model name engraved. Anyway it's made with Ida exclusive parts, as the one to the link below (but with black rollers):
http://photobucket.com/gallery/http.../user/sonofjabba/media/Horns/Bari001.jpg.html

Have you ever tried a Ida bari?
I'm afraid that the tone is not really satisfactory.
Once I tried a tenor (a Pro 2k) and it was nice, but this bari is an older production and I can't compare a bari with a tenor.
It looks worthwhile.

It should have the sort of table which looks like the attached photo (minus the green rollers probably), or their later modern table. It looks like it does but hard to tell from that angle. These are good horns. I would go see it as opposed to the King, IMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yes you're right. The left hand table is like in the picture.
Thank you very much for your opinion :)
 

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@JayeLID

No, it isn't, it's another VT but it's the same model.

It is a saxophone with no model name engraved. Anyway it's made with Ida exclusive parts, as the one to the link below (but with black rollers):
http://photobucket.com/gallery/http.../user/sonofjabba/media/Horns/Bari001.jpg.html

Have you ever tried a Ida bari?
I'm afraid that the tone is not really satisfactory.
Once I tried a tenor (a Pro 2k) and it was nice, but this bari is an older production and I can't compare a bari with a tenor.


@spike421
Thank you for your suggestion. I know bari saxophones are delicate and need to be well built.
At the moment I'm saving money for “real life” things, a bari it's just for fun. So I really can't spend too much.


@turf3
Indeed it's the tuning of the VT that makes me feel uneasy. Not 'cause it's a King, just because it's a '30s saxophone, eh eh.
Is the front F useful in a bari?
I understand the money thing. I've been there myself.

The front F on Bari is just as useful as it is on any other saxophone. IMO and especially for me , modern key work on a Bari is more important, unless you plan on just playing the O0M PAH parts in a concert band using an old library of arrangements. You will have to play as fast throughout the range of the horn as the rest of the Saxes and you will also get to spend a lot of time with the Trombones and Bass Trombones putting a bottom on the band.
 

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As far as the front F, if you have hopes of being a full service baritone sax player you need to be able to play the full range of the horn with the same facility (or darn near) as alto or tenor. There are an awful lot of things up in palm key land that go tremendously easier with the front F. Unfortunately, other than Buescher and Selmer, the other manufacturers were generally slow to add this key to their baritones. I do believe that it's not a particularly difficult mechanism to add, but it requires someone with some real skill to do so.

Arguments about "old clunky" mechanisms for the LH continue. Personally I prefer the Conn style LH mechanism and find the Selmer style very difficult to manage, especially the versions with the tilting low Bb. Legions of players disagree with me on this and a few very fine players agree with me. I say this just to let you know that the matter is NOT settled, though there are those who claim it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you turf3 for your opinion.
For the left hand mechanism honestly I don't care too much.
I'm far to be a highly-skilled musician so at the moment I can do what I want with both mechanisms without problems.

I'll keep you updated about the deal.
 

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Modern keywork on a Bari is useful but by no means a necessity.
50-60’s keilwerth bari’s have modern looking keywork, but it is mostly just looks as they are not hinged like a modern horn and are still heavy in comparison.
Conns, Kings etc don’t look modern and they aren’t, but they are perfectly fine to work with unless you can’t get past a Selmer look table.
If I were you I would go for the Grassi.
As this will have a more modern feel, (which I’m guessing is important to you) and will allow for a sloppy embouschure where you can blow a modern chainsaw baffled piece without too many issues.
Personally I prefer the older so called hard to play in tune baris where if you put in the time, tuning isn’t an issue.
I had a Grassi Tenor for a while which although it had a modern looking table, it was a clunky horn to get around on.
I bet an old King Bari would blow rings around that Grassi in terms of tone.
But you have to weigh up what is more important to you and how much time you’re willing to put in on the horn.
 

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As far as the front F, if you have hopes of being a full service baritone sax player you need to be able to play the full range of the horn with the same facility (or darn near) as alto or tenor. There are an awful lot of things up in palm key land that go tremendously easier with the front F. Unfortunately, other than Buescher and Selmer, the other manufacturers were generally slow to add this key to their baritones. I do believe that it's not a particularly difficult mechanism to add, but it requires someone with some real skill to do so.

Arguments about "old clunky" mechanisms for the LH continue. Personally I prefer the Conn style LH mechanism and find the Selmer style very difficult to manage, especially the versions with the tilting low Bb. Legions of players disagree with me on this and a few very fine players agree with me. I say this just to let you know that the matter is NOT settled, though there are those who claim it is.
I absolutely agree with the tilting table being a pain on baritone.
But I equally hate it on Tenor and alto also.
The Conn style table is far more workable for me.
Although my The Martin is certainly my favorite horn these days.
For my modern low A baritone I have a YBS 61.
No tilting table, a better tone and a better key spread than the more favoured YBS 62.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
As this will have a more modern feel, (which I’m guessing is important to you) and will allow for a sloppy embouschure where you can blow a modern chainsaw baffled piece without too many issues.

Yep you're right, that's the point!
 

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Have you ever tried a Ida bari?
I'm afraid that the tone is not really satisfactory.
Once I tried a tenor (a Pro 2k) and it was nice, but this bari is an older production and I can't compare a bari with a tenor.
Hi,
if you are looking for a great tone, go for it. I have got a 'Professional' engraved model (which is quite similar to this one you put a picture of) and the tone is absolutely great. Mechanics is very good too IMHO.
 
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