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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking at getting either a Mark VI Bari (low Bb) or a SA80 series 1 Bari (low A). Can anyone tell me the differences they may have noticed between these two models? Which would you pick?
 

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The low A note is very useful almost essential if you are going to be playing in sections or contemporary big band. It depends what your demands are. I sold my low A V1 ( to Phil Todd) over twenty years ago and bought a low Bb V1 the same day and have never regretted it. The low Bb has a slightly better over all response and a slightly lighter sound than the low A which I've always felt had a bit more resistance. It's a trade off really. If you can please yourself what you play and are more of a soloist I would get the low Bb. On recent recordings I had to lower my low Bb to A with studio trickery quite a few times.
 

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I find the keywork and general construction much better on the MkVI than the SA80II, though neither of them have the best low A mechanism. The MkVI is more comfortable to use, but the linkages are too thin so you will feel a lot of flexing (Yanagisawa baris have the same type of low A mechanism being largely based on the MkVI bari design).

The SA80II has one of the worst low A mechanisms to use and to adjust, their construction has done away with the strengthening cross bracing between the bell and body which isn't ideal considering how the bell keys are mounted (and the weight of the instrument) - they're mounted between pillars on the body tube at the top end and pillars on the bell at the lower end, so should the bell twist, the bell keys will become sloppy.

What's really laughable about the SA80II bari is where they've positioned the marching lyre attachment - on the crook socket! On most baris it's solderd to the front of the instrument (near the top of the main body tube) so a standard sax lyre can be used. On the SA80II you'll need a lyre with a long stem with all manner of bends put into it so it's at a good distance from you instead of a straight lyre which places the music right in front of your face. But that's only applicable if you plan to march with one.

When I was on the market for a bari I had two in mind - a low A MkVI (as I regularly borrowed a low Bb one, but needed a low A bari) or a Yamaha YBS-62. I went for the Yamaha 62 as I couldn't find a low A MkVI, didn't like the SA80II and still reckon I made the right choice - keywork, construction, design, tone, tuning, etc. are all there.
 

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I find the keywork and general construction much better on the MkVI than the SA80II, though neither of them have the best low A mechanism.
The OP was asking about SA80 Serie I. Not sure what changes were made between Serie I and II, but knowing Selmer they have carried on developing the keywork though the run of what is designated as the same model.

I find the spacing of the buttons on my Serie II bari to be not very comfortable, different between LH and RH and noticeably different from other SA80 II 's that I have tried out. The MkVI feels exactly right to me.

Rhys
 

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The OP asked about a MKVI with low B...

I play a SA80 series I baritone with a wind orchestra - compared to my own Yanagisawa B-6, it's neither very responsive nor very robust in tone, but with the right mouthpiece, it blends quite well and has a roundness to its tone that's really nice for classical playing - without being dull and soft (though it's still too mellow for my personal taste). The low A keywork is a bit clunky, but playable; it needs an adjustment about once a year - again, the B-6 doesn't though it gets the rougher treatment (the horn travels quite a lot). Furthermore, I just had the opportunity to play a freshly overhauled MKVI with low B last week, so I put it through its paces - extremely nice sound indeed, very smooth and "cantabile", but alas, not a lot of bite. Still worlds above the SA80I in my view - a lot more cultivated and musical; a joy to play in any setting that doesn't require bark... Responsiveness and resistance were quite similar to the SA80I (maybe just a little lighter on the MKVI). That said, I like my B-6 over both of them - it's just a lot more powerful and more versatile than both of the Selmer saxophones, and it responds a whole lot better. Still, the MKVI was a tempting blow and a slick play - and an absolutely beautiful and handy instrument, too. Had I not been allowed to blow a truely exceptional Conn bari during the same session, I might have chosen this MKVI...

To sum it up (IMO): For orchestra situations that require a low A, the SA80I is well suited - but if you don't need the low A, the MKVI is probably the better instrument.

M.
 

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The OP was asking about SA80 Serie I.
Oops! Should've gone to Specsavers! I think the original SA80 baris were more like MkVIs in their design, so should be more comfortable under the fingers than an SA80II.

I know I'm in for a treat (and not a pleasant one) whenever I work on an SA80II anything - especially so with sopranos and baris!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the input guys! I decided to go with the Mark VI low Bb. It's an 84,XXX relacquer. It should be here later this week. I'm very excited! I've always had to borrow baris and it will be great to finally have my own!
 

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Great choice--I play a 95XXX low A(workin man's horn) and 69XXX Bb for small group work--to me the Bb has a more beautiful and dark tone on low subtones--the low A is a "barn burner" for that "Club Sound"--bold and brassy--just my 2 cents
 
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