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Discussion Starter #1
Perhaps I'm losing my memory, but I don't think I've ever seen a low Bb S80II bari before today. I saw this Reverb ad from a seller in the Netherlands and thought there might be others who would be interested in seeing one. It says they first sold it in 2000 and the customer has sold it back to them. I'm guessing maybe it was a special order?
Apologies if someone has already posted about this horn, but I didn't see anything in a quick search. FYI, it's not mine and I know nothing about the seller just thought it was an interesting horn to share.

Meanwhile I'm anxiously awaiting the return of my Low Bb Mark VI from a complete overhaul. Mine is a former school horn so it should be a night and day difference now that dents and bends have been removed and post angles corrected!

https://reverb.com/item/21177394-selmer-paris-sa80ii-baritone-saxophone-low-b-flat

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Wow - had no idea that these existed. I thought Selmer stopped making Low Bb baris with the Mark VI.
 

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Perfect sax (unfortunately bad timing) - thanks for letting us know!
 

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Well, how about that? So does it maintain the low Bb tradition of knocking a big chunk out of the price tag?
Around $6100 US according to the Reverb listing. That's about what I'd expect for a horn like this- similar to what you'd pay for a Low Bb Mark VI bari in good condition from a dealer. It has a fair amount of scratching and some lacquer wear when you look at the close-ups but from 10ft+ like the pic that the OP posted it looks pretty good. It doesn't appear to have had any major damage but the pics are not really good enough to know for certain. It's such a rare instrument that I don't think they'll have any trouble getting that price for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think overall the market would prefer a Low A horn, but unlike the Mark VI there must be a tiny fraction of Low Bb S80's floating around so it is a pretty rare horn. I'd say this is an extremely viable option for those buyers looking for a "new" low Bb horn. How much does a Low Bb P. Mauriat or Keilwerth go for? I have no idea.
 

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How much does a Low Bb P. Mauriat or Keilwerth go for? I have no idea.
6Kish for the P. Mauriat, but apparently they cut corners with construction and not up to par with Keilwerth, Selmer, Yanagisawa and Yamaha.
 

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I think overall the market would prefer a Low A horn, but unlike the Mark VI there must be a tiny fraction of Low Bb S80's floating around so it is a pretty rare horn. I'd say this is an extremely viable option for those buyers looking for a "new" low Bb horn. How much does a Low Bb P. Mauriat or Keilwerth go for? I have no idea.
Well most of the manufacturers certainly agree with you but on the contrary most of the players I know who have spent significant time on both Low A and Low Bb horns prefer the Low Bb for sort of "general playing". IMO, Low A has become popular mostly due to the requirements of the music written over the last 50 years or so more than because of the players' preference.

Likewise, getting a Low Bb bari with modern keywork and intonation tendencies is really difficult especially in the US where the only choice for a new horn is likely one of the Taiwanese brands since nobody really stocks the Italian made Low Bb horns and getting a Keilwerth could take years from the sound of it. That pretty much leaves you looking for a VI or a "uni-horn" like this SA80 or the rumored Low Bb Yani bari that there are marketing pictures of but I'm not sure anyone has seen one "in the wild".
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I think you are pretty spot on there, Keith. I would love to hear from someone who has played one of these and the low A version. I suppose the general rule of thumb would still apply regardless of model.

I don’t imagine it makes much difference, but I presume the SA80II was designed as a low-A horn and modified to this Low Bb, kind of the opposite of most other baris. It probably is irrelevant and nothing more than an interesting side note. I wonder if the Taiwanese Low Bb’s are SA80II copies?

Now you have me wondering about the demise of the low Bb. I wonder what the sales ratio was on the Mark VI through it’s history? At what point did Low-A sales eclipse Low Bb? Did they? There seem to be a lot of late serial Bb horns floating around. Why did they decide to axe the Bb from regular production? Cost-savings? Demand? It would appear there wasn’t too much pushback from new horn buyers.

Boy, the things I ponder at 2 AM...
 

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Yep, totally agree - some market or combination of market forces which I'm sure from an economic perspective make perfect sense. At this point my guess is that the major manufactures (I'm counting Selmer, Yamaha, and Yani here) sell the vast majority of the baris they now make to schools. I believe the schools in general have very little interest in Low Bb horns (though the middle schools should since a Low A bari is way too big a horn for most kids that age to play) making it difficult to justify. Likewise when you look at the pros who play sax there are a lot more bari doublers than guys who play bari exclusively or even most of the time. These guys are either very price sensitive since they don't play bari full-time or they want/need the Low A so they can take gigs that require it or both. While many of them will own a couple of altos and tenors most will want nothing to do with owning multiple baris.

In the end I don't think things are going to change much anytime soon. The idealistic part of me would like to believe that there are enough guys out here who want a good playing Low Bb bari with modern keywork that they would pay $5500 for one if Yani would make a Low Bb version of the B901 but the logical thinking part of me admits this is probably not viable. It's a small niche market that's being completely under-served but the economics are such that it's unlikely to change.

Meanwhile I'll stick with my Taiwanese Low Bb Barone that has better keywork and fewer intonation issues than the vintage American baris I've played as well as a better sound than most of the vintage Selmers I've tried. It's really a very good horn that could be a fantastic horn with a bit of additional effort but even the Taiwanese don't seem to be interested in making a really great Low Bb bari when the mid-price Low A market has far more buyers.
 

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Around $6100 US according to the Reverb listing. That's about what I'd expect for a horn like this- similar to what you'd pay for a Low Bb Mark VI bari in good condition from a dealer. It has a fair amount of scratching and some lacquer wear when you look at the close-ups but from 10ft+ like the pic that the OP posted it looks pretty good. It doesn't appear to have had any major damage but the pics are not really good enough to know for certain. It's such a rare instrument that I don't think they'll have any trouble getting that price for it.
I wrote to them and asked for pics without the brace and details about the condition. I figured that I would buy it providing proper reassurances. They posted a couple of pics but didn't answer. I always find this bizarre. I don't mind lacquer wear much but I don't want to pay this kind of money if there is structural damage. It doesn't help that some sellers seem to think that on baritone normal wear somehow includes dents; not a sentiment that I agree with. There is also a fantastic looking low Bb on Tenor Madness but if Randy Jones cannot decide if the silver plating is original, which the description suggests, then it does make me worry about spending that kind of money. Not that I would have terrible issues with a replete providing the horn hadn't been buffed or, even worse, re-engraved. One thing is for sure, buying a low Bb bari without damage is not an easy task and major repairs come at high expense where I live.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yeah, at that price tag I'd expect to answer all sorts of questions if I were the seller. You might ask Milandro if he knows anything about the seller. Any chance you'll be over there any time soon to check it out?

My Mark VI was pretty beat when I acquired it, but the price was so good I knew I could afford a major overhaul and still be ahead. It also played well as-is, but it received the standard school ‘band-aid' repairs for decades. Things like bending keys and posts rather than removing a bend in the body.

Keith seems pretty happy with his Barone Low Bb. I'd like to try a Taiwanese bari sometime, but I think I'll be pretty satisfied once I get the VI back.

Keep us posted if you hear anything from them. Sounds like it came from a regular customer, maybe they can put you in touch (assuming they ever respond).
 

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That's the way to go - if you can get a good sounding VI bari at a low enough price to put the money into it and not feel like you're way under water with the thing when it's done that's about as good as you're going to do. I've played some vintage Selmer baris that I really liked and several that sound like a bassoon crossed with a cello or bass clarinet - probably desirable for classical playing but not the sound I'm going for. You could put a brighter piece on them but I think they'd just sound like kazoos. I've played a bunch of Low A Taiwanese baris but not many other Low Bb baris and most I didn't care for much for one reason or another.

In the end, as brasscane states above, buying a Low Bb bari is no easy task. The more I've looked the more satisfied I've become with my Barone as anything I've played that's in the same class for me would easily be three times the price.
 

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I paid $1500 for my low Bb Mark VI and another $2000 to get it in playing condition (including a new SII neck), and it PLAYS! :)

There was a low Bb Yani (B880 I think) for sale in Sweden last year, so they do exist.
 
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