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I recently came upon an old Martin "Handcraft" Bari. Probably hasn't seen the light of day for 40 years. Anyone know about these horns, would it be worth getting fixed up? The serial number is 109666, and looking at serial number lists it looks from about 1934. I played it a bit and it played not too bad, I need to get a real mouthpiece on it though to see what it can do. Can anyone help?
 

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It sound's like it's of a similar vintage to my bari, which I bought from Pete Thomas off these boards. Mine's a 1940, going by the serial number.

The downsides to a bari like this will be the keywork - it'll be 70+ years old, and maybe a little sloppy. There ergonomics on these too horns aren't amazing - the right hand thumb hook isn't adjustable and isn't placed in the most comfortable of positions. It'll also not have a front high F key - although mine has a rough'n'ready home-made one.

I did have problems with intonation - these horns are very mouthpiece picky. I've ended up with a HR Link, which Lance of MartinMods bored out for me last year. This has cured it, and the intonation is pretty close to great now - no more issues at all. I'm not too sure if you'll be able to get him to do the same for you though, given what I've read more recently, although there are lots of other large chamber options available. Be aware that without a mouthpiece like this, the intonation will be very nearly unplayably out.

Having said all that, I love my bari to death. It's old and worn, but it has bags of character, gets a lot of admirers and questions from punters on gigs, and most of all, has that thick, rich sound - almost a "bark" that I've not found on any other bari I've played. If I ever get another bari, this one will be staying :)
 

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What Tim said. Ergos aren't as bad as some. The sound, however, is beautiful. A dark, woody, thick-as-butter tone that serves well whether playing at home or serving as the foundation for a section.
 

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I just received a Graftonite that Lance customized for me. Having a Graftonite as basis, the costs were very reasonable.

I don't know yet if it will be better (intonation wise) than my EG modified Yanagisawa, but being a different design, I expect it to have a bit more edge.

Unfortunately I'm about 200km away from my sax right now, so I'll only have the chance to test it next week.

Btw, I can recommend the EG double chamber mouthpieces for the Martin bari from experience; a much better match than modern medium to small chamber mouthpieces.
 

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Definitely worth fixing up.
I played one of these for years - it's a giant-killer, and despite its vintage origins is more than capable of punching out a contemporary tone.

There are two main drawbacks: The less-than-slick action, and the possibility that some of the soldered-on tonehole might be leaking.
You can get used to the action once it's been properly serviced and set up, and there's a simple test for leaking toneholes which can be found in the article linked below:

http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/HandyHints/Martin_toneholes.htm

Regards,
 

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These are great horns. I recently baby sat a Handcrafted Troubador model Bari for a friend.
It some ways I liked it better than be Comm III.
how many RH side keys does your horn have?
 

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Ok, I took some time today to play test Lance Burton's bari mouthpiece. First impressions:

- Lance's mouthpiece looks very good, and intonation with a "The Martin" bari is great
- if you already have an EG modified "double chamber" mouthpiece, and you are happy with that, you probably don't need Lance's piece, unless you are looking for a different sound concept (he modeled it like a medium bright Berg, while Erik's piece is much darker)
- The EG piece and Lance's piece require very different positions on the cork, but both make it easy to play the sax in tune

If you don't have a matching mouthpiece for your "The Martin" bari yet, it is definitely worth to give Lance's mpc a try. I understand that he also created more OL Tone Edge like models.

My personal preference is for Erik's "double chamber" design, but I probably would prefer Lance's piece if I played modern jazz mostly. You cannot go wrong with either one, I guess.

I never tried a RPC large chamber piece, but I understand that they are a good match to "The Martin" baris as well.

It's a good thing that there are still so many options for these horns, since they sound truly great!
 
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