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This is my fourth purchase from Phil Barone. First, I bought one of his Vintage model tenors that replaced my Selmer Mark VI tenor of many years which became my backup. The Vintage actually blew my VI out of the water and after trying many horns decided on Phil’s.

My second purchase was one of Phils Vintage model altos that replaced my Mark VI and it ALSO blew my vintage Selmer out of the water.

I was so happy with the two horns that I decide to buy one of the last Super NY tenor mouthpieces at half price. It destroyed my vintage Otto Link Super Tonemaster and I’ve probably played a couple of hundred of them in the twenty some odd years of playing professionally. It’s truly outstanding and I have to say what a shame it is that he’s not making them anymore. It’s a real loss to the saxophone community.

After thoroughly settling in on the above, I decided to sell my Mark VI tenor and buy one of Phil’s Classic tenors as my backup which gave me a lot of leftover money to work with. Phil describes his Classic model as being more like a phenomenal Mark VI and his Vintage as being more like a Conn 10M and after owning both I have to agree although I think the Classic is better than any Mark VI I’ve ever played and I’ve played more than a few.

I received the new Classic tenor about a month ago and have put it through the ringer on a variety of gigs. I did a R & B gig that I’ve been doing for a number of years and I also did a trio gig and big band gig and the Classic performed remarkably on all the gigs although I probably prefer the Vintage on the R & B gig but on the Jazz gigs I think the Classic is better because the sound has more color in it and more expression but both of Phil’s horns perform better overall than my old VI hands down.

To begin with, the Classic tenor, as is the Vintage beautiful! It’s gorgeous to look at and the quality of the workmanship is outstanding. I got a silver-plated one. There’s no rough edges and everything is cleanly polished even in the areas that are hidden underneath keys. This is a very high quality instrument and before buying one I looked at all of them. I played the new Selmers, Yanigasawas, Yamahas, Keilwerths, Cannonballs and P. Mauriats and found that while I liked the Mauriats that my Selmer Mark VI was just as good. I found the others while easy to blow and very well in tune without character and didn’t have much color or personality in the sound. Fine for certain work but definitely not what I think the saxophone should sound like.

The ergonomics on the Classic is excellent, better than my VI. I have small hands and every key is easily accessible and the high notes and spatula keys are right where they belong so it’s a pleasure to play both tenors.

Sound wise, the Classic, while it’s DNA is heavily based on a Mark VI has more volume and more of that Mark VI color and overtones and personality in the sound unlike the rest of the modern horns I’ve tried. It’s also just a little more free-blowing and the high notes are fatter. They don’t thin out no matter how hard I push or bare down and they are beautifully in tune whereas with my VI, I just slightly struggled with the upper and extreme register unless I was really focused. This allows me to express myself musically instead of having to worry about things like the technical aspects of playing so I’m not struggling so much like I was with the VI.

Phil’s horns also came with one of his hard rubber mouthpieces that he normally sells for $250. You have a choice of two models, the Vintage and the Soundmaster in choice of tip opening. I chose a Soundmaster since I already received a Vintage with my Vintage tenor purchase. Both are excellent mouthpieces for certain gigs and I’ve used them on a big band gig a couple of times. It’s dark, blends well and is nicely in tune but I gotta say, I’m in love with my Super NY and I prefer the smaller profile of metal. Both my tenors also came with one of Phil’s necks which I’ve tried on other horns and is really remarkable. I never really considered necks so this was enlightening. In addition to the mouthpieces and neck, it also came with a great case. It’s compact, light and rugged. I throw it in the trunk all the time.

All in all, I’m thrilled with the Classic and for that matter, all of Phil’s products. Everything he makes is first rate and after playing many, MANY horns and mouthpieces in my career I can honestly say that I’ve never been happier. I have to admit, I was definitely convinced that vintage equipment was the way to go but not anymore. I’m no longer hung up on old stuff.

In the end, I sold both my Mark VI’s, got superior gear and pocketed a ton of cash and I feel a new enthusiasm for my music. And BTW, Phil is a pleasure to do business with. He’s personable, answered a ton of bloody questions (I was a pain) and I received all my purchases within a few days.

Next I’m going to get one of his Classic altos.

Kristy
 

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VENDOR "Innovation over imitation"
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I have had a Barone tenor here for over a decade. I try different finishes and I trade up. I always have one here that I use and they are absolutely fantastic.
 

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I've had my gold-plated Classic since 2008 - before it was actually called the "Classic" and it's been a great horn. I paid about $1250 for it new then and feel like I stole it ;) I've played hundreds of gigs on it and made thousands even though I'm just a weekend warrior. It's paid for itself 10X over.

I've played loads of different horns(tenors) having spent way too much time hanging out at Sax Alley and USA Horn when I'm in NJ visiting my family and I presently own 5 tenors. I prefer my Tenor Madness Custom a bit for jazz combo gigs but I'm so used to playing the Barone now that I still reach it most of the time as there isn't that much difference.
 

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My son has a Barone curved soprano, an alto, and a bari. He's been happy with all 3. Intonation was spot on with all of them.
 

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Forum Contributor 2014-2017
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SaxyGirl82 -

I have the Barone Classic tenor in silver plate too. It’s gorgeous and still beautiful after 4 years of playing. And I’m playing it with my new Super New York also. A great match.
 

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Had the opportunity to play test a few horns locally at music store. I got my hands on a P. Mauriat 76 tenor. I am so grateful that I found the Barone Vintage when I did. It elevated my tenor playing by leaps and bounds. My experience with the P. Mauriat: it was OK, but my horn fits me and sounds better. I might add, I tried a load of alto horns as well, the only one I really was digging was the Yamaha Custom 82Z (didn't like the color of it). I'll be calling Phil shortly for the Vintage alto. If it has the same affect on me as the tenor I will be ecstatic!
 

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Forum Contributor 2015-2017
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I picked up a used Barone Vintage tenor recently. It truly looks like new, and plays very, very well.

I bit brighter than the Yany TWO1 (or any of the Yany tenors, really), but plays all the way down effortlessly, altissimo is possibly easier than on the Yany, intonation is quite good, and I would buy another if I were to need another sax.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
alto: 82Zii/Medusa/Supreme, tenor: Medusa, bari: b-901, sop, sc-990
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This is my fourth purchase from Phil Barone…
Thanks for taking the time to review these instruments with your very thorough evaluation.

It's also just a little more free-blowing and the high notes are fatter. They don't thin out no matter how hard I push or bare down and they are beautifully in tune whereas…
That's the kind of thing often missing from reviews. and I know what you mean by high notes thinning out. That is a common problem.
 
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