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I received my Phil Barone tenor about twelve weeks ago and I’ve put it through its paces long enough to write about it. I’ve done gigs in different size rooms with and without a mic and the sound really travels. In fact, people have told me how much better I sound and one person that heard me play who doesn’t know anything about saxophones or sound told me I never sounded better. It’s an amazing horn, better than my Mark VI in every way. I bought it as a backup but now it’s my primary so I’m considering selling the VI, pocketing a bunch of cash and buying a Classic model of Phil’s which he tells me is like a fantastic Mark VI but with a fatter upper register. So enough, here’s my review:


Sound-I just have to say that it’s incredible. The low register is huge, in fact the whole register is, and I can get all of the harmonics out effortlessly. The high notes are fat and the middle D is much more clear and less stuffy than my VI. I’m using a metal Link mouthpiece on it which has been my only mouthpiece now for over ten years and this sax just enhances the sound of the mouthpiece. I actually have two mouthpieces, the Link and a D chamber Dukoff which I use on occasion and the horn sounds great with both of them.



Finish-I bought the antique bronze finish and it’s beautiful to look at if that’s important to you. It isn’t to me, but it does inspire me to play more since it’s such a beautiful instrument. It also has turquoise abalone mother of pearls which are beautiful and make the sax unusual and stand out. The horn itself is of great quality and there’s no rough edges to the finish and everything is obviously well put together. It’s great quality stuff, as good as my Selmer, maybe better.



Ergonomics-Fantastic, the horn fits like a glove in my hand and the spatula keys are easy access and I can move around on them easily. The right and left hands also are very comfortable unlike a Conn I once had. The high D, Eb, E and F are just right in my palm and I can play more freely than my VI and don’t struggle with playing them. The Mark VI just wasn’t big enough in the left hand although my hands aren’t very large at all. The position of the high notes is just right and I’m using it more now that it’s so comfortable. The horn also has a metal thumb hook and metal thumb rest, the metal thumb hook is very comfortable.



Accessories-The sax came with a beautiful and rugged flight case which is very compact and easy to carry. It also came with a strap to carry it, a neck strap, polishing cloth and one of Phil’s mouthpieces of which I had a choice of two, either the Vintage or the SoundMaster. I chose the Vintage which normally sells for $250. It’s a great mouthpiece but I’ve been playing my Link for so long that I don’t think I’ll ever switch and I don’t like hard rubber and I never switch mouthpieces nor do I have any interest in switching. Been down that road.



Service-Right on par with the sax. Phil promptly answered my emails and when I was ready to buy I called him at which time I asked him more questions. He was very polite and direct which I like, and I was a pain in the neck. Phil is obviously from New York. Phil’s website is elegant and easy to use and he takes major credit cards. By the way, I received my horn in three days from the time I ordered it.



Value-Nobody does it better. These horns are very similar to the P.Mauriat. However, I looked at Mauriat’s and they were more than a thousand dollars more and didn’t come with a nice case or mouthpiece and Phil’s horn plays just as good if not better. I have to admit that I was suspicious when I looked at them and I was afraid that they were Chinese but they’re not, they’re from Taiwan and I understand that there’s a big difference. Phil apparently just sells to the public, no stores. I guess that’s how he keeps his prices down.


That’s about it, the horn is an easy 10 out of 10. If you’re looking for a sax check him out on the net. I’m very happy with my purchase. Next, I’m getting one of his Vintage alto’s.

Kristy
 

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Sounds like you got yourself a sweet deal on a great horn. It's nice playing on something that does everything you'd like to be able to do with it. Never played on one of his horns but heard nothing but good things about them

Good luck with your new horn! May it bring you many years of pleasure
 

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Great review! I've been eyeing up a PB tenor for a while and post like this keep pushing me closer and closer.

What was the deciding factor for you to go with the Vintage over the Classic model?
 

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Nicely written review. I appreciate that you waited until you had played the horn for a few months before penning a review letting the "honeymoon" period expire. Reviews written after several weeks or months always seem a bit more objective to me than those written within hours or days of delivery.
 

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This review is not good for my recent case of GAS. Sounds like you got a great horn!
 

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Great review. Congrats on choosing the best kept secret among saxophones. FunkyHorn626 summed up Barone horns perfectly:
It's nice playing on something that does everything you'd like to be able to do with it.
I can't say enough good things about Phil Barone, his mouthpieces, and Phil Barone horns. I've had one of his Classic tenor models for 5 years and its sound, intonation, and playability are a match for any of my other horns including my Yani 992. Huge bottom end, clear upper register, great projection, fast action, quality build, and outstanding intonation in all registers. It was my first saxophone. Had I known then what I know now I would have avoided GAS and just stuck with my Classic 'cause that's what I'm usually playing today.

Plus, Phil has always been great to work with. He's a class act.

- Paul Panella aka "bluto"
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Icantreed, Thank you! You definitely should make the leap if its something you have been considering. I couldn't be happier with mine.I felt my last tenor was a bit too bright, so was looking for a bit of a warmer sound that was the main reason. I will admit though a bit was aesthetics, I liked the engraving on the vintage as well.
Thanks!
Kristy
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Nicely written review. I appreciate that you waited until you had played the horn for a few months before penning a review letting the "honeymoon" period expire. Reviews written after several weeks or months always seem a bit more objective to me than those written within hours or days of delivery.
Thanks Keith! I think its important to get to know a horn before telling everyone else about it. I think all new horns are exciting initially, there was obviously something we liked about it or wouldn't purchase it. But i've had a lot of horns where that excitement wears quickly and I find things I wish i'd have considered more, so I find it important to give it some time. The more time I spend with this horn though, the more I'm loving it.

Thanks!
Kristy
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Great review. Congrats on choosing the best kept secret among saxophones. FunkyHorn626 summed up Barone horns perfectly:

I can't say enough good things about Phil Barone, his mouthpieces, and Phil Barone horns. I've had one of his Classic tenor models for 5 years and its sound, intonation, and playability are a match for any of my other horns including my Yani 992. Huge bottom end, clear upper register, great projection, fast action, quality build, and outstanding intonation in all registers. It was my first saxophone. Had I known then what I know now I would have avoided GAS and just stuck with my Classic 'cause that's what I'm usually playing today.

Plus, Phil has always been great to work with. He's a class act.

- Paul Panella aka "bluto"
Bluto, I couldn't agree more! I'm always blown away by the quality of his products and would put this sax up against any other with total confidence. Phil was also great to work with as you mentioned. You don't always get an opportunity to work directly with the source before a purchase so I appreciated his advice and willingness to walk me through my purchase.

Thanks!
Kristy
 

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I remember buying my Classic tenor from Phil a few years ago, and everything Kristy says is right on the money. Reading Phil's many posts here on this forum, and my brief conversations with him about mouthpieces, Phil is extremely knowledgeable and more important, practical. He's knows what's important and what isn't.

My PB Classic tenor is every bit a match for my 100K Mark VI, it's a fabulous instrument. Anyone seriously considering a new tenor should without a doubt check out the Barone offerings. Many folks say that the "value" of these horns is what pushed them to buy, but in fact my tenor would have been a great buy at double the price. They are every bit the equal of any horn on the market today.

Congrats Kristy, you did good! And Bluto, you are right, Phil is a class act. More important, he backs up the class with years of hard-won experience and knowledge. He's the real deal, and so are his instruments and mouthpieces.
 

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I remember buying my Classic tenor from Phil a few years ago, and everything Kristy says is right on the money. Reading Phil's many posts here on this forum, and my brief conversations with him about mouthpieces, Phil is extremely knowledgeable and more important, practical. He's knows what's important and what isn't.

My PB Classic tenor is every bit a match for my 100K Mark VI, it's a fabulous instrument. Anyone seriously considering a new tenor should without a doubt check out the Barone offerings. Many folks say that the "value" of these horns is what pushed them to buy, but in fact my tenor would have been a great buy at double the price. They are every bit the equal of any horn on the market today.

Congrats Kristy, you did good! And Bluto, you are right, Phil is a class act. More important, he backs up the class with years of hard-won experience and knowledge. He's the real deal, and so are his instruments and mouthpieces.
I agree with you Steve. I love my Classic as well and have spent more hours/ gigs on it than any other instrument I own. I think the important thing about the "value" is that Phil makes the horns very approachable by keeping the price so low. It isn't until after the fact that you realize how good the value is. Most people don't want to "take a flier" on a really expensive horn that they can't play-test but at $1700ish for a tenor it's reasonable enough to have a go without being able to try the horn first. The other tenor I play a lot, especially for jazz combo gigs, is a Tenor Madness Custom. This is just a fantastic horn for me but I never would have paid the $4k for it without playing it first. I bought my Classic in March of 2008 for $1250 and every time I play it I feel like I stole it, almost like I should send Phil another $100 to even the deal out. Used ones are often a crazy good value as well. When I see these come up for sale here I'm always tempted to buy another but I just have too many horns to play at this point.
 
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