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I typed up a pretty long review, but it sounded too wordy to me so here's an abbreviated version.

I bought a Phil Barone Classic Tenor in the silver plated finish from Sax Alley 6 months ago. At the time Phil had a 12 week lead time and I was GASing for a new sax pretty bad. The only downside of buying through Sax Alley is you don't get one of Phil's mouthpieces when you buy from them, but I already had a 10mfan robusto that I really loved so it really came down to deciding between a mouthpiece I new I wouldn't use or waiting 12 weeks.

Long story short, the PB is a good sax. The tone and response on it are definitely better than the YTS-23 it replaced. The keywork and build quality are also top notch. In the 6 months I've had it I haven't had to get it worked on or adjusted at all. It played well out of the box and still does. I play in two community bands- one's a big band and the other's a honk band. The PB sounds better in both of those groups than the Yamaha did, especially in the big band.

The only downside for me is the ergos. The Yamaha just fits my hands in a way that the PB doesn't. Like I said, the keywork on the PB is good and better than my Yamaha and the PB's action is nice, too. Unfortunately it just doesn't fit my hands as well as the Yamaha does. I didn't touch my Yamaha once in the six months since I bought the PB, and the Yamaha felt instantly more comfortable when I went to try it again a few days ago.

In almost every aspect I like the PB better than my Yamaha, and the one thing I don't like was not enough to prevent me from thoroughly enjoying this sax for the last 6 months.

If you're considering a PB sax, definitely go for it. For a brand new horn, the price can't be beat. My only caution would be if you know for a fact that you prefer a Yamaha style key layout then this horn might not be for you.
 

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TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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You would think the PB, being a Chinese or Taiwan horn, would have the typical Yanagisawa-style ergonomics - I've never heard of one of these horns made in the last 15 years having an odd layout. Sax brands usually have minor differences in this respect including the premium ones from the 'big 4'. Typically when you get a new sax there is an adjustment period of varying length depending on how much time you spend on it. So after six months you are still pining for the Yamaha feel? That is kind of odd - by this time the Yamaha should feel weird, not the other way around.
 

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Many of the Taiwanese horns have more reach especially in the pinky tables. They also tend to have slightly higher key heights and often are sprung a bit stiffer as well. The overall effect makes the horn feel a little bigger and the keywork a bit more spread compared to a Yamaha or Yani. I played a Yamaha 875 Custom from 1993 - 2008 before switching to my Barone Classic. Occasionally I take the Yamaha out and blow it a bit; even after 10 years playing the Barone almost exclusively I'm surprised how nice the Yamaha feels after just a few minutes. The Yamaha feels better but the Barone sounds better so what's the answer? It's a bit expensive but for me the Tenor Madness Custom tenors are as close as I've found to a marriage between the two. I still play the Barone much of the time because it's become my gigging horn for funk/rock gigs but I really like the TM for jazz and when I'm just playing for myself.
 

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I have a Barone Classic as a back-up tenor. Ironically my main tenor is a Yamaha 82Z with an older Barone aftermarket neck. Great 82Z ergos and flexibility with a more open and sound due to the neck. Best of both worlds but I would not hesitate gigging on the Barone either.
 
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