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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Today I looked at a Martin "The Martin" bari (1956), plus also two more modern baritones. I don't have any real experience with bari saxes (I am an alto player), but I can first rent the instrument before making a final decision.

The sound of the Martin, combined with a Meyer mpc, is awesome! Much fuller than the other horns, but I am probably biased because my alto is also a Martin. Anyway, the horn sounded wonderful, given my limited experience in playing bari. No, of course I didn't sound wonderful all the time, but playing long notes and concentrating on breath support and correct embouchure made it really sound big and full and rounded.

Here are my doubts;

- it doesn't have a low A, and I intend to play it in a big band. How many pieces really include the low A?
- it doesn't have the side valve for the F#2. while that one is handy, it is not the biggest concern for me.

So, would a vintage Martin bari be a good choice for everyday playing, especially in big band music? Or should I go looking for a more modern horn?

Thanks for your advice!
 

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The Martin Committee model is my Baritone of choice (and Tenor as well), and I have a number to choose from. As long as you don't need the Low A (and I very much prefer the Low B flat Baritones), the deletion of the chromatic, side F# key is a minor nuisance if that.

They are very mouthpiece friendly as vintage horns go, too.

The tone can't be beat in my opinion.
 

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for achieving low A on a low b flat horn, try resting your foot in the bell,
(cross your legs and do it)
and you get a good, clear fairly in tune low A and then you can still benefit from a low Bflat horn.
since you will be sitting down in big band that is made a lot easier.
 

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9 times out of 10 if you're playing a low A in a big band it's doubled by the bass trombone so it's not really necessary.
In a sax soli you're almost always doubling lead alto in octaves so again, not really necessary. If you play in a classical quartet then you might want the low A.
 

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I have to echo Saxismyaxe, I play this horn as my horn, in big band too, and it really fits the bill great!

The lack of the side F is a mystery, but its very easy to deal with
 

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sjonesjrmd said:
I play a the martin bari in a big band and dont miss the low A at all. Plus it plays like a big tenor......responsive and a great horn......buy the Martin!!!:)
I play a low A bari(Mark V1) and there are many big band charts with many low A's. It is after all concert C. It's a powerful note and the extra length of the low A bari seems to add depth to the lower register. Without a low A, entire passages must be transposed up an octave. Check the music you are going to play to be sure you don't need it. If there were a demand for low Bb baritones, somebody would still be making them.
But the low A horn!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
jthole said:
Today I looked at a Martin "The Martin" bari (1953), plus also two more modern baritones. I don't have any real experience with bari saxes (I am an alto player), but I can first rent the instrument before making a final decision.

The sound of the Martin, combined with a Meyer mpc, is awesome! Much fuller than the other horns, but I am probably biased because my alto is also a Martin.

Well, today I talked to my teacher (via email), and she strongly advised against the Martin as a first bariton sax. Her choice would be to start with a neutral student instrument, and go looking for the sax that I really want when I have some more experience (remember that I only play alto until now).

So ... now it's my emotions (that Martin is great!) versus the very logical reasoning of my teacher. My "gut feeling" tells me to get that vintage sax, because I will regret it otherwise. But following her reasoning tells me to wait, because then I can make a more knowledgeable decision.

I really don't know what to do yet ...
 

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martinm5862 said:
If there were a demand for low Bb baritones, somebody would still be making them.
But the low A horn!!
people still do,
mauriat, and keilworth (i think) and other makes offer their top end baris without low A, as people offer altos and tenor without high F sharp.

just stick your foot in the bell dammit :twisted:
 

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You can play a Low Bb Bari in a modern big band, it is a much louder more present sound within the section than a Low A. A Conn Tranny Baritone fills the room and the lack of a low A can be worked around. A Conn Bari will outblow a screaming trumpet, no low A Bari other than a Martin Magna Low A will compete in this area.

The other benefit of low Bb is better projection in the middle range, A1 through G2. These notes are notoriouosly lost on Low A Baris.

If you are thinking of a Martin Magna Low A, this is a Holy Grail search but when you find one and play it, you will understand why it is that those who own them almost never sell them.

If you want low notes, buy a Bass sax and this will add depth to your section sound.
 

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I just played a Big band gig today on my bari, mostly modern arr with a few Low As, no problem.

I had a pep band perormance with my college band friday - Again played my Martin Bari and I could be heard with the rest of the band no problem. I was the only bari in a 100 piece band

Saturday was a gig with my Swing/jump blues/rock group, My Martin did great again.

My students have also played it from time to time, all of them have been able to handle the horn very well in a very short period of time

The Martin baris dont dissapoint!
 

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I played a "The Martin" baritone for 13 years.

Pros:
1. Very good ergonomics. Feels like a tenor under the fingers...when adjusted properly, a light quick action.
2. Very good sound. I agree with Bootman, who says a Conn baritone is the way to go (it is!) - but I think The Martin can hold its own when adjusted properly. With the right mouthpiece the horn can do anything you want.
3. Usually a very good price when compared to an equivalent Conn 12M or "Chu" model.

Cons:
1. Wonky intonation of D2-F2. On mine, those notes were generally +15-25 cents sharp. You can sort of work around it, but it requires a lot of practice. This odd problem is common among "The Martin" baris...you can find many related threads and workarounds in the Forum.
2. Soldered tone holes. These can be problematic if the horn has been banged around a lot. Over time, these solder joints can age enough to crack after too many accidental bumps, and then you've got a leak that's not a cheap fix.

Neutrals:
1. No F# trill key. In 13 years of big band/combo/R & B work, I never had a need for that F# trill, but others will disagree and state that it's necessary.
2. No low A. IMO, if you're going to be a working pro then you must have that low A. Otherwise you can live without the low A. Trust me, the charts will be fine.

If a teacher suggests that a "The Martin" baritone isn't a good choice, it possibly has something to do with the intonation quirks. Otherwise, "The Martin," when adjusted properly, will work in every type of ensemble from concert band and sax quartet to R & B and big band work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
MPL said:
If a teacher suggests that a "The Martin" baritone isn't a good choice, it possibly has something to do with the intonation quirks.
I thought about it, and I guess that is her concern (I'll ask today). However, the same problem (D2 - D2 way too sharp) occurs in the alto (at least in mine). The C3 (one finger) is too flat again, just like the F3. That is a matter of getting to know your horn, I think.

It's probably going to be that Martin for me ... I respect the reasoning of my teacher, but Martins are *the* horns for me, and I will regret it if I don't get that one (or another Martin).

Thanks all for your advice!
 

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Bootman said:
Intonation quirks can be ironed out with correct mpc choice. Have a look at a Lamberson for you Martin Bari, you will be very pleasantly surprised
Absolutely correct. I also recommend the Runyon Quantum for this horn as a good match, which is by the way what I use.
 

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My bari is a '53 "The Martin", which I use to play both big band and in a Blues/Funk/R&B band. As you can probably gather from the posts here, these are GREAT horns. As far as not having low A is concerned, I haven't missed it all that much. In a night's playing with the big band I'm in, there are probably two or three charts that have a low A and as several have mentioned, its pretty easy to work around. To me, low A is a "might be nice to have, but..." thing. Also, low A horns are several pounds heavier than low Bb. Although if I could find a Magna low A.....;)

MPL's summary on the pros and cons is right on. I have found that the horn needs a mouthpiece with plenty of chamber volume to ease the "wonky" (great word MPL) intonation issues. My solution has been to use Erik Grieffenhagen's V5 Double Chamber mouthpiece, which is a heavily modified Vandoren V5. You mentioned using a Meyer, which is my second favorite piece on these horns. Check out Glenn Shambroom (bari player with the Love Dogs) who has several CDs out under his own name. Shambroom uses Martin bari's exclusively (his primary horn is a Magna low A) and uses Meyer mouthpieces exclusively.

Good luck in making your choice. A "The Martin" bari is a professional level horn which you could use for the rest of your playing and in any situation.
 

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I've found that the Jody Jazz Classic 7 to be a good match for my '60 Martin Bari at a reasonable price (got mine used for $65) and good for doubling. I like the Rico Metalite M9 also but the JJ is a little easier on the corners for me and for blowing hard on rock gigs. The Martins are really great horns. And they can often be found at a very reasonable price (I got mine for under 1,000). I don't want to discount your teachers advice though. If at all possible (you said you could rent all 3). Bring each of them to your teacher and play them (both of you). Ultimately, the proof is in the putting (in your mouth and playing it).
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Bootman said:
Intonation quirks can be ironed out with correct mpc choice. Have a look at a Lamberson for you Martin Bari, you will be very pleasantly surprised
I recently switched from a Selmer S80 c* to a Meyer 5M on my alto, and that already was a big improvement. The S80 was excellent on the Selmer MkVI, but I never got used to it on my Martin.

The only real intonation issue that I could spot on that Martin baritone together with a Meyer 7M, was that the notes in the low 2nd register (like E2) are pretty sharp. But there my Martin alto seems to have the same behaviour (more than the MkVI, for instance), so it's probably a Martin quirk.

Anyway, I decided to get the horn :D and I hope to pick it up coming Thursday :) Even if I decide not to buy it, it allows me time to look around for other saxes.
 
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