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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Wow! What a mess this is.

It turns out it may end up costing quite a bit and take a long time to get that old King in playing shape. Possibly more funds and effort for a horn of dubious quality to begin with. I am faced with the probability of buying a playing condition bari and the more I read here on SOTW, the more I look at saxpics, the more I browse the likes of Kessler, USA Horns, Vintage Sax, Junk Dude, World Wide Sax, etc. the more confused I become.

Do I look for something like a Buescher 400 or Aristocrat. Do I keep an eye open for something like the Martin Cityscape that just sold on eBay? Do I just go ahead and buy a YBS-52 or Jupiter Artist.

Unless I'm willing to get on a plane, several planes, and visit the above mentioned shops the usual "try as many as you can" advice does me no good at all.

My requirements?
It needs to be playable out of the box (or with an absolute minimal amount of tweaking). It needs to have solid intonation (I'm not willing to fight with the horn's intonation regardless of how good the tone is).

Ergonomics? We'll, I grew up with a Selmer era Buescher Aristocrat alto and spent my teen-years playing a same vintage 400 bari. The new-fangled tilting pinkie cluster still feels a bit odd to me, but either will work. I don't want to fight the horn in this area either, but I'm a bit more accommodating here than with the intonation issue.

Low A? Bb? Much less important than the above.

What will I be playing on it? Community concert band and Rock/Pop.

My budget? I am willing to invest a max of $2500 (that includes purchase and required repairs). But bear in mind, my experience with local techs has left me with little confidence of getting anything but the most basic work done without shipping it off at much expense.

Oh wise and generous keepers of all knowledge bari, what are your thoughts and suggestions?
 

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Look for a used Vito VSP, which is really a Yanagisawa 901 in disguise. I got mine for $2500 at a local music store here in Seattle, and it's in nearly new shape. It's a low A horn, great ergonomics and intonation, ruggedly built and versatile. There might even have been more than one around here...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
saxmanglen said:
There's a Vito VSP on eBay now set to end tomorrow. It's in need of some TLC but worth putting some money into it if it's won at a decent price. I'm not affiliated with the seller or can I vouch for his honesty.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Yanagisawa-Vito-Bartione-Sax-Bari-Saxophone-w-Low-A_W0QQitemZ200165857258QQihZ010QQcategoryZ16233QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

"Upper neck loop replaced. Stock Yani part but an extra octave vent had to be sealed (see close photo)"
Something like that isn't cause for pause?

I'm so confused....
 

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Rowka...
Check out Paul Maslin at pmwoodwind.com
He has a lot of cool vintage horns on there (some of them in your price range) and he puts all of them into awesome playing condition before they leave his shop. I know a few people around here who have bought used horns from him and thet have never been disapointed. I bought a new horn from him and it is great! I was reccomended to him by one of the sax professors at UNF. Call the shop and tell them what you are looking for and they will help you. Save yourself the trouble and uncertainty of eBay and finding a repairman around here!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So, I got a call tonight from the tech. The King is ready, but is not great. He says the horn will probably need constant adjustments as the metal is quite soft. He also said he would not do any future work on it because of this and recomended getting rid of it.

He said he's got a new Buffet-Crampon 400 for about $3500. Is this a horn worth considering?
 

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okay, I'm not up on my Bari brands like I ought to be these days, but I will say
that I paid 1000 for my Buescher 400 and it is a very nice horn. :)
 

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It may not be as good a deal as markb's, but Sarge is offering a beautiful condition 400 at worldwidesax for 1999. He's top notch, so you know you'll be getting a very nicely set-up horn.
 

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Rowka: I understand your pain! I may be wrong but I was told that new Buffet saxophones are made in China. If that is true, I am not being negative or positive about that - merely passing along something to consider.

I regulalry visit a small music store in my community and enjoy talking to the guy who manages the store. He had a Buescher TT bari he overhauled but was not happy with it - clunky and poor ergos as he described it. He picked up a used Yamaha bari a while back and was very happy with it. Easier to play and better intonation.

The 400 mentioned above may be an interesting consideration. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well, I just got back from the shop. The tech missed an adjustment on the octave mechanism (body vent opens slightly when the G key is depressed without the octave key being engaged) so I'll have to stop back after work to actually pick it up. He really hates that horn ;)
All in all, though, I don't think it is as much of a basket case as he indicated earlier. It played pretty well all the way up and down. I had to blow hard to overcome the octave "leak", but otherwise no major problems. I could see what he meant about the metal being soft. I noticed a lot of flex in the RH side keys. We'll see how long it lasts.

I did play the Buffet 400 while I was there. Yes Dave, it is made in China, but it really played well. It was heavy. Not too heavy, but noticeably heavier than the King. The intonation was good. The key work was comfortable and felt solid. I think I would easily be satisfied with a bari of that caliber. Is it as good as a similarly priced YBS-52 or Vito VSP/LeBlanc 7190BA? I don't know. I don't know if I'd be able to tell the difference even if it's not.

If I go for a brandy-spanking-new horn, this will likely be my choice. I believe there is something to say about supporting the local little guy (especially if you buy from the same guy who will be servicing the horn).

Any additional thoughts, comments or caveats are welcome and encouraged.
 
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