Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Forum Contributor 2013-2019
Joined
·
1,031 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had been looking for a used tenor for about $2K for traveling so I could leave my VI and Z at home. I looked at a couple of nice used Yamaha 62s whose sound I didn’t like, tried to locate an old SA80 at a reasonable price with no luck, and after reading all the great reviews of Phil’s horns decided to go that route. I’ve purchased a few mouthpieces and a case from Phil and always enjoyed dealing with him. He’s a straight shooter and a good guy, so I was not worried about quality.

I emailed Phil with a couple of questions, and as always, he replied immediately. I placed my order for a Classic honey-gold tenor yesterday morning, and the sax arrived today. That is some pretty amazing service right there.

It was well packed in the case (a very cool travel case) with corks in all the right places and wrapped in bubble wrap.

I’ve played it for about an hour and a half so far and here are some first impressions (which are pretty similar to all the other positive reviews poster on SOTW):

Construction and quality: This is really a beautiful horn. The lacquer is perfect. The horn feels very solid and seems to be very well constructed. No burrs or obvious imperfections.

Ergonomics and playability: I was astounded at how easy this horn was to play. I actually felt that my playing/technique improved immediately. It feels easier to play that either my VI or Z (not by a huge amount, as those are great horns, but none the less it’s very noticeable). It is highly responsive and just feels very comfortable to play. Maybe some of this is the “new toy” syndrome, but I’m pretty excited to spend more time with this horn.

Sound: This was my most important criterion (and why I rejected the other fine used saxes I was considering). Plainly put, this sax kills. I love the sound. I place the sound somewhere between my 82z and VI – brighter and more focused than the VI but not as much as the Z, but close. The sound is more complex than the Z, more like the VI in that regard. I play in jazz bands, funk/R&B, a jam band, and sit in with some cover bands, so I wanted a versatile horn and this one seems like it will fit the bill. It is very responsive to the brightness/darkness of my different mouthpieces and reeds.

Value: Huge. For $1780 including shipping, I got the sax and a choice of either a Barone Vintage or Soundmaster mouthpiece (I got the Soundmaster, which Phil sells separately for $265). This is a great deal, especially compared to the $2000+ that folks were asking for used YTS62s which did not sound or play as well (IMHO).

Overall, I’m very pleased with my purchase so far. In fact I could see the Barone becoming my main horn and the Z becoming my backup/travel horn. My band is playing at a local jazz festival tomorrow night, and I plan to use my new Barone to really put it to the test. More to come….
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,098 Posts
Yes, the Barones are very similar to Mauriats in many regards. If you like the Sys-76 you'll probably like the Barone Classic model and if prefer the 66r you'll likely find the Vintage models agreeable. The price of the Barones makes them even more likable;)
 

·
Forum Contributor 2013-2019
Joined
·
1,031 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
One more thing I forgot to mention: the high end sound from the palm keys up through altissimo is very fat and full - much more so than my VI or Z.

My wife, who knows very little about music and can’t shut the door to the basement fast enough when I go down to practice volunteered that she thought the Barone sounded great - and much “smoother “ sounding than my other saxes. First time she ever commented positively about my playing. Thanks again, Phil 🙂
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,098 Posts
One more thing I forgot to mention: the high end sound from the palm keys up through altissimo is very fat and full - much more so than my VI or Z.

My wife, who knows very little about music and can’t shut the door to the basement fast enough when I go down to practice volunteered that she thought the Barone sounded great - and much “smoother “ sounding than my other saxes. First time she ever commented positively about my playing. Thanks again, Phil 🙂
Yup - this more than anything else is why I play my Barone and Tenor Madness tenors over my Yamaha. I struggle to keep the sound from getting thin up in the palm keys on VIs and horns that are good copies of VIs. I find it comes at a bit of a cost as the Barone requires more air and more support than my YTS-875 so there's no free lunch but it's worth it for me. You may also find the intonation tendencies a little different as well. For me, the D2-F#2 notes are right in tune with virtually no adjustment needed but the G2 & G#2 blow a bit sharp. It took me a little time to get used to that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Thanks for the great review mi000ke. I recently purchased the PB Vintage model in dark vintage lacquer, and loving it! I compared the sound to a Selmer Series III, SA80 II, YTS-875EX, YTS-62III, and YTS-82z, and preferred the PB hands-down. I'm actually considering purchasing a Classic tenor as well just to compare the two models. I really struggled with the decision of which model to purchase, and just can't shake the thought, 'what if I had gone with the Classic?' Mr. Barone was very helpful in answering my questions via email. I am so impressed with the sound I get out my Vintage tenor that I've considered selling my other horns. Yes, it's that good.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2013-2019
Joined
·
1,031 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So I decided to take my new Barone Classic to my tech for a quick inspection instead of gigging right away with it as I originally planned, just to make sure it was it top shape. It ended up needing a couple of minor adjustments - probably due to shipping - and I just got it back a couple of days ago. I had another jazz gig last night, but did not get to try out the sax until a few hours before the gig (bad cold the last couple of days). I spent about an hour with it and it was playing even better than when I first tried it, especially at the low end. So with almost no time on it, I decided to gig with it anyway, and glad I did. The sound just killed - it projected nicely through the room, and the sax was just so easy to play. I really felt inspired to play better and got a lot of good feedback from some of the patrons after the gig. A sax player I know stopped by to hear our second set and also said the sax sounded great. He said just had his sax overhauled at a cost of about 75% of what the new Barone cost. It would have been cheaper to sell his sax and buy a Barone, and he would have had a better axe in the end.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2013-2019
Joined
·
1,031 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the great review mi000ke. I recently purchased the PB Vintage model in dark vintage lacquer, and loving it! I compared the sound to a Selmer Series III, SA80 II, YTS-875EX, YTS-62III, and YTS-82z, and preferred the PB hands-down. I'm actually considering purchasing a Classic tenor as well just to compare the two models. I really struggled with the decision of which model to purchase, and just can't shake the thought, 'what if I had gone with the Classic?' Mr. Barone was very helpful in answering my questions via email. I am so impressed with the sound I get out my Vintage tenor that I've considered selling my other horns. Yes, it's that good.
Ha Ha! I'm thinking the same thing in reverse. I also was not sure which to buy, and while I am totally thrilled with the sound of the Classic, I would love to hear what a Vintage would sound like. I am actually thinking about selling my VI and getting the Vintage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,098 Posts
It does create a stange sort of dichotomy as the Barone is the better playing horn for me but I still use it for bar gigs and traveling since my 875 is worth nearly 3x the price on the used market.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2013-2019
Joined
·
1,031 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Guess you'll be leaving the Barone home now and travelling with that "cheap" Yamaha, right?
That is the conundrum I’m trying to resolve.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2013-2019
Joined
·
1,031 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Guess you'll be leaving the Barone home now and travelling with that "cheap" Yamaha, right?
Well. it's now two months and a bunch of gigs since my first post, and the horn keeps getting better. I have, in fact, decided I will be traveling with the 82Z and keeping the Barone at home.

I was having a bit of a time getting used to the intonation differences between the Barone and my other saxes and was also struggling just a bit with low D, but those are pretty normal issues for a new sax and have totally worked themselves out. Plus I'm getting a better hold on the right reed/mouthpiece combination (so far, 10mfan black widow + either Legere sig or forestone hinoki), but I do have a Barone Jazz coming tomorrow, so we'll see.

Btw, another thing I've noticed is that the Barone seems more forgiving or more flexible regarding mouthpieces. My VI and especially my 82Z are a bit more picky about which pieces work well. The Barone seems to make even my "lesser" or more difficult pieces work better and sound more robust.

The first time I brought the Barone to one of my jazz group rehearsals, the bass player commented that my playing sounded way more even and under control. I tend to get ahead of the beat sometimes on my other saxes. I have no idea why, but when playing the Barone I am playing slightly behind the beat, which is what I strive for.

So, at this point, no regrets.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top