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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I received a Phil Barone NY a couple of days ago from a fellow SOTWer and here's my first impressions for anyone intested:

The piece was made in 1996, so has seen a bit of action, which was evident by the dirty condition when it arrived (the previous owner said it was even worse when he got it). I took a toothbrush and some detergent to clean it up a bit (then sterilised it), so I could get a better overall look at the condition. The facing looked a little worn to the naked eye but close inspection under a magnifying glass showed it not to be as bad as I first thought - couple of very, very minor nicks only in the facing. The tip rail looks a bit undefined to me but as this is my first sight of a Barone, perhaps that's just the way they are made.
There is a bit of mild pitting from the original casting process over the body and the baffle but none of the cosmetics bother me at all.

Could only find a couple of ligs in my collection to fit but the Rovner Eddie Daniels I finally chose seems to work well with it. Several reeds later and I've settled on 2.5 V16s, which seem to project the best and provide the best resistance for me. The piece is quite free blowing (rollover baffle and huge chamber) but there's just a hint of resistance, which suits me as I like a piece I can gently push against. And it doesn't require huge lung power like a Link.

When I first blew the piece I was rather surprised at how refind it sounded. I've read a few reports on the forum suggesting the NY was quite a bright piece, so was expecting something harsher as a consequence. However, the tone of this piece is what really sets it apart for me.

It has a deep rich centred focus, with plenty of complex harmonics evident. I play a Ref36, so this slight centering is a welcome aspect on a horn with such a normally spead tone.

It's especially pleasing at the low end of the horn - fat and resonant and plays with consumate ease - low Bb right down to ppp is just effortless. I think it even outplays my trusty V16 T77 in this respect (which is really saying something, as I never expected anything to out-do the Vandoren in this respect).

The mid range retains that core richness of tone but it's here that a brightness of character starts to reveal itself but not in an overstated manner. The harmonics are still there to tame it and the tell-tale stuffy D2 is nonexistent (which is a very good sign for me on tenor).

I struggled at first with the high end of the horn (F3 and beyond) and thought the undefined tip rail might be the culprit in this area as I had difficulty getting the notes to start cleanly. I also had a tendency to squeak, so was evidently biting too hard. However, after a few days relaxing with it (and taking in more mouthpiece) it seems to be more reliable and stable, so only time will tell.

The only real bugbear I have is the bare material. This is the bronze model and my hands smell of brass after I finish fixing on the reed and attaching it to the crook. Worse still - I get a strong metallic taste in my mouth when I'm playing. In fact, after a session, my saliva has stained the beak a dark brown colour. I may have to see about getting the piece gold plated if I don't get used to this aspect but will persevere for now.

It's early days yet but I'm already having more fun on tenor than for a long time. And that surely is the whole point!

Regards

Graeme.
 

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Yeah that was after it sat overnight in a vinegar and salt solution for no less than three nights - and you should've seen the colour of the vinegar each time afterwards! :shock: I wished after I'd done it that I'd taken before and after photos. I think it might be a good idea to get it plated.

I'm very glad you like it because I knew it was an exceptional mouthpiece, I just wish I had the chops for it. Maybe Phil will make me something in an .090 Jazz one of these days when I can summon up the courage and the cash to ask him...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The Barone definitely packs more punch than the V16. I haven't got the Guardala Crescent anymore for comparrison but I don't think it's quite in that territory.
 

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gelliot2 said:
I received a Phil Barone NY a couple of days ago from a fellow SOTWer and here's my first impressions for anyone intested:

The piece was made in 1996, so has seen a bit of action, which was evident by the dirty condition when it arrived (the previous owner said it was even worse when he got it). I took a toothbrush and some detergent to clean it up a bit (then sterilised it), so I could get a better overall look at the condition. The facing looked a little worn to the naked eye but close inspection under a magnifying glass showed it not to be as bad as I first thought - couple of very, very minor nicks only in the facing. The tip rail looks a bit undefined to me but as this is my first sight of a Barone, perhaps that's just the way they are made.
There is a bit of mild pitting from the original casting process over the body and the baffle but none of the cosmetics bother me at all.

Could only find a couple of ligs in my collection to fit but the Rovner Eddie Daniels I finally chose seems to work well with it. Several reeds later and I've settled on 2.5 V16s, which seem to project the best and provide the best resistance for me. The piece is quite free blowing (rollover baffle and huge chamber) but there's just a hint of resistance, which suits me as I like a piece I can gently push against. And it doesn't require huge lung power like a Link.

When I first blew the piece I was rather surprised at how refind it sounded. I've read a few reports on the forum suggesting the NY was quite a bright piece, so was expecting something harsher as a consequence. However, the tone of this piece is what really sets it apart for me.

It has a deep rich centred focus, with plenty of complex harmonics evident. I play a Ref36, so this slight centering is a welcome aspect on a horn with such a normally spead tone.

It's especially pleasing at the low end of the horn - fat and resonant and plays with consumate ease - low Bb right down to ppp is just effortless. I think it even outplays my trusty V16 T77 in this respect (which is really saying something, as I never expected anything to out-do the Vandoren in this respect).

The mid range retains that core richness of tone but it's here that a brightness of character starts to reveal itself but not in an overstated manner. The harmonics are still there to tame it and the tell-tale stuffy D2 is nonexistent (which is a very good sign for me on tenor).

I struggled at first with the high end of the horn (F3 and beyond) and thought the undefined tip rail might be the culprit in this area as I had difficulty getting the notes to start cleanly. I also had a tendency to squeak, so was evidently biting too hard. However, after a few days relaxing with it (and taking in more mouthpiece) it seems to be more reliable and stable, so only time will tell.

The only real bugbear I have is the bare material. This is the bronze model and my hands smell of brass after I finish fixing on the reed and attaching it to the crook. Worse still - I get a strong metallic taste in my mouth when I'm playing. In fact, after a session, my saliva has stained the beak a dark brown colour. I may have to see about getting the piece gold plated if I don't get used to this aspect but will persevere for now.

It's early days yet but I'm already having more fun on tenor than for a long time. And that surely is the whole point!

Regards

Graeme.
Dear Graeme,

That's a NY model, not a Jazz model and it's a VERY early NY model too. My new NY and jazz models blow the old ones away but in all honesty it's not hard, at least for me, to flatten a Vandoren but I have the advantage of spending much more time on each piece. If you could post more pictures I can tell you more, and the date too. Phil
 

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Phil Barone said:
Dear Graeme,

That's a NY model, not a Jazz model and it's a VERY early NY model too. My new NY and jazz models blow the old ones away but in all honesty it's not hard, at least for me, to flatten a Vandoren but I have the advantage of spending much more time on each piece. If you could post more pictures I can tell you more, and the date too. Phil
Never mind about the jazz model part of my post, I misunderstood. Phil
 

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gelliot2 said:
It's especially pleasing at the low end of the horn -

...and the tell-tale stuffy D2 is nonexistent (which is a very good sign for me on tenor).

I struggled at first with the high end of the horn (F3 and beyond) and thought the undefined tip rail might be the culprit in this area as I had difficulty getting the notes to start cleanly.
Graeme, thanks for the report. I especially like the way you described the richness of the sound. I'm getting the same quality out of my NY. OTOH, referring to the quotes above...

- of the four really good tenor mpcs I have (Berg, Link, Ponzol, Barone), the NY has the least accessible low B and Bb, while the others you can whisper on. I have to work a little harder on the Barone but it's there; it's not difficult.

- my D2 (as well as E2) is somewhat stuffy on the NY whereas it is clear on the other three mpcs

- again, compared to the other three, the harmonics (altissimo) are easier on the Berg and the Link, and it's about the same as on the Ponzol. This is not to say the NY is difficult, only that, like the low end I mentioned above, I have to work a little harder at it.

I need to point out to readers who might not take this into consideration, that I'm intimately familiar with the Berg, Link and Ponzol and I've only had the Barone for a couple of weeks. However, I wonder if the accoustic properties which give the Barone a more "complex" and richer quality to it has anything to do with the differences in response in the other areas.
 

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gary said:
Graeme, thanks for the report. I especially like the way you described the richness of the sound. I'm getting the same quality out of my NY. OTOH, referring to the quotes above...

- of the four really good tenor mpcs I have (Berg, Link, Ponzol, Barone), the NY has the least accessible low B and Bb, while the others you can whisper on. I have to work a little harder on the Barone.

- my D2 (as well as E2) is stuffy on the NY whereas it is clear on the other three mpcs

- again, compared to the other three, the harmonics (altissimo) are easier on the Berg and the Link, and it's about the same as on the Ponzol. And the difference between the first two and the last two is not slight. This is not to say the NY is difficult, only that, like the low end I mentioned above, I have to work a little harder at it.

I need to point out to readers who might not take this into consideration, that I'm intimately familiar with the Berg, Link and Ponzol and I've only had the Barone for a couple of weeks. However, I wonder if the accoustic properties which give the Barone a more "complex" and richer quality to it has anything to do with the differences in response in the other areas.

It seems you should be used to it by now. Maybe one of the mouthpiece refacers should have a look at it.
 

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Also, I've found that the Barone's aren't so much "reed picky" but rather, embouchure picky. I find that the more I'm using the "smile" embouchure, the better it responds, even in the low end. This is to say that it merely (like all good equipment) allows me to expose my flaws as opposed to covering them up. IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My piece has December 23, 1996 engraved on it and the number 59. I'd guessed there was a design change at some point based on the photos from Phil's website and Gary's other thread about the NY and Jazz models.

The bite plate is different on mine and it has thinner walls compared to the newer ones. The outer dimenions are also smaller than my STM Link. Anyway, here's some more photos as requested by Phil:
 

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Hey,

I believe I was the original owner of this mpc, although I cant really remember the serial number.


A few years back I had a rather challenging time, financially, and had to let go of alot of my equip & mpc collection. This was sold at the tail end of that period.

I sold a bronze ny 108 on ebay, around 2 yrs or so, ago, to someone in New Orleans, and I believe he sold it to Rick Adams here. (I think)

I picked it out at Phils, back in early 97 and used it for a couple years, before going to a vintage Link, which was a little smaller and felt a bit more comfortable.

I used it, in 98, on a 4 month gig in Tokyo, with a Latin salsa singer from NYC. The sound guys had made a few really good tapes of that gig, but I never got my hands on them, as the singer was very controlling. I since lost contact w/her, but wish I could post some so you guys could hear the potential of this piece. (If I may be so modest:) )

ANyway, if this is the same mpc, dont waste your time refacing. Get a rico select 3M or a vandoren ZZ or V16 3 & put some practice time in.

Let us know how you like it in a couple months. Enjoy!
 

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I think it is important to look at how many time that alleged mouthpiece has changed hands--what 3, four owners? It may not be playing anything like when it was new, so why not at least entertain the possibilty the thing is playing poorly by now? FWIW, I briefly had a Hollywood model that really played poorly, and when I had a tech. look at it the rails didn't even measure evenly. I don't fault Phil directly for this, though, as I was at least the 3rd owner of that piece and I had no idea what may have been done to it since phil originally made it....
 

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"More lasting than bronze..."???

gee, I wonder what that means?? I seriously thing a facing in bronze is not going to change much in 10 years, but, hey Im only a saxophonist, not a metalurgy expert.
 

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Well out of the four people we think might have owned it three of them thought it was great and the 4th (the guy between me and Selmer's Glue) we don't know the opinion of. I sold it because as a beginner I'd made the fatal tip opening size mistake, SG sold it beause he had to and Graeme describes it as making playing tenor fun again, so I don't think he will be worrying too much about whether it's a good 'un ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Oh there's no doubt in my mind that it's a good 'un and I have no intention of refacing it whatsoever. I had a couple of hours on the tenor today and came away with a smile on my face.

A bit more reed experimentation will of course be in order (I'll certainly follow-up on those suggestions from Selmer's_glu) and lots more shedding :)
 

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I'm just saying you can't verify that the piece hasn't been modified or something--I would hope that was the case with the Hollywood I had. Anyhow, I find it hard to believe a piece that has changed hands 4 different times is a great player, you'd think if it was someone would have held onto it....
 

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Harder than to believe that me, Selmer's Glue and Graeme are in some kind of conspiracy plot to try and persuade people that a mouthpiece that is no longer for sale nor likely to be is better than it really is? Why? :?

(I'm just idly curious incidentally, not having a go at you :) )
 
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