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Martin "The Martin" bari versus Keilwerth New King bari

6414 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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Go for the tone.

I have not played a Keilwerth bari, so I can't comment on that, but I own a Martin Committee, and it's a wonderful horn. I have no problem with mouthpieces on this horn; at present I use a Berg HR on it for jazz gigs and a Lawton 8* for gigs requiring volume. Eventually I'll get my bari RPC, and that will be that.

Every time you mention the Martin, you praise its tone. That, as far as I am concerned, is the holy grail. Look no farther.
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