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Martin "The Martin" bari versus Keilwerth New King bari

6407 Views 14 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  milandro
Please help me decide :)

Today I played two bari saxophones side by side; a Martin "The Martin" bari (my current rental instrument) and a Keilwerth New King, with the plastic key guards.

The advantages of the Martin (1956):

- the Martin sound; full and dark
- the keywork; I think the Martin keywork is very comfortable, even if it's old fashioned

The advantages of the Keilwerth (1960):

- a low A
- far better lacquer condition (not relacquered)
- a bit more even intonation

Both instruments are in the same price range, and both feel and sound very good. The Keilwerth is a bit brighter, where the Martin has a very impressive low end. Intonation of the Keilwerth is a bit more even than the Martin (but not perfect). Both instruments are overhauled, and come with a 1 year warrantee.

I have the Keilwerth reserved for one week. Since the time I play that Martin, I have tested 7 other baris (vintage and new), and this Keilwerth is the only one which is really comparable. The Keilwerth sounds very different from the Martin, but it has a comparable power and richness of tone.

I'm very interested in hearing your opinions :)

Btw, I also played a modern Cannonball and a Jupiter Artist, but I wasn't really impressed with both of them. The Cannonball has a nice sound, but not better than the Keilwerth (definitely not worth the price difference for me), and the Jupiter was disappointing. It lacked bottom power and had a very thin upper range.
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That's a Tough Call. . .

Interesting. That's a tough call. I had a Martin bari that I bought and had overhauled. It was a great sounding horn. Big sound and great tone.

But I now play Keilwerth baris now (a Couf Low A and an SX-90 low Bb).

I loved the sound of the Martin. The drawbacks were: It seemed kind of mouthpiece picky. Mine didn't like baffled pieces, that's for sure. The ergonomics were fine except for one thing -- the left hand pinky table. It was just in a strange place for me. I could not get used to it. Kept missing the table entirely.

I have tried a bunch of different baris, including a Yamaha 62 and a Mark VI low Bb. To me the Keilwerths are top of the class. They have a depth of tone and a low end that is pretty hard to beat.

Until a few months ago I was happily playing a VI low Bb bari. One day I made the mistake of walking into a music store that had a brand new Low Bb Keilwerth SX-90. It had sort of gotten lost in there stock room. Long story short, I would up leaving the VI and walking out with the Keilwerth. I have not regretted it.

I don't really need a low A for the stuff I play. The Keilwerth Low Bb baris are smoking horns in my opinion. Some people don't like the keywork on the Keilwerth baris, but it's just right for my mitts.

Nice problem to have I guess, deciding between two fine baris.

For me its Selmer tenors, but I prefer Keilwerth baris. I don't like the left hand position of the SX-90 tenors and altos. But for some reason it does not bother me on the baris.

Good luck!

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