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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Hi everyone, first time poster here. I'll keep it straight and to the point:

I'm considering buying a Phil Barone Vintage tenor based on a lot of research, but since I haven't play tested one myself, I'm looking for comparisons between the models in the title, in others' opinions. I know at the end of the day it's hard to take someone's word for it when it comes to the sax experience. But still, it would be better than nothing or positive reviews which don't include direct comparisons with any horns that I have personally played.

So with that said, has anyone ever played a Phil Barone tenor as well as a P Mauriat 66, or Eastman 52nd St? Or a Cannonball big bell series? If so, how would you compare and contrast the two instruments?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks!
 

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@I_love_music, welcome to the forum.

I have merged the two threads you created into one, because they are about the same topic.
 

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I've played the Cannonball Big Bell, a Mauriat, and own a Barone. The Barone is incredibly similar to the Cannonball, but for my tastes, I found it resonates better. The Mauriat never turned me on. In fact, the soprano I had was 40 cents flat with the mouthpiece torqued all the way on. In general, I find the build quality of the Mauriat greatly lacking. I'm not sure how much better the build quality is on the Barone/Cannonball, but the price tag was better on both (I bought my barone used for $1500). How do they stack up against the big boys? Well, I have an awesome 10M and a pretty great Mark VI. I'm not selling either of them. But, the Barone projects/plays in tune more reliably than either of them (though, it IS 3rd in my tenor rotation). Never played an Eastman, though I do have an Eastman neck for the 10M.
 

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I have owned all the horns on your list, except Barone, and owned other Taiwan tenors. There is a following for Barone that only exists on this forum. I have studied a bunch of photos of the Barone. I have several Taiwan tenors now. I am convinced that there is nothing remarkable about the Barone. I do own a Barone neck. Nothing remarkable about it. I completely disagree with the above post that they are like Cannonball. Cannon ball has a bigger bore at least in the Big Bell stone series. I got two necks here. The keywork is not the same. If I thought the Barone was going to be as great as some here I would buy one. They only sell for around 1200-1400 in used mint condition

The used Taiwan sax is the best value in the market. I keep these three Taiwan horns in my collection and so far have not been willing to sell them. PM66r, Eastman 640, La sax Biglip x. I sold my Cannonball Big Bells, but the Vintage series interests me. I own around 30 tenors.

Really the only Taiwan horn I would probably buy is the Eastman. I like the others I have but mostly for cosmetics. My 66r is gold plated. My Lasax is a custom model. The Eastman is the better playing horn. Also Eastman makes very fine guitars and I am a guitar player first. In fact they rival or exceed Gibson. So it stands to reason that they would have high standards in saxophones. At least that's my theory and my Eastman blows great.
 

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I have a Barone tenor but it's from 2008 and before he had the Classic/Vintage distinction. I think mine is more like the Classic but it has a very large bore, at least at the neck where it measures over 28mm. I owned a Mauriat Sys -76 for several years but liked my Barone a bit better and the Mauriat was worth more in trade (in fact they had gone up in price so much between when I bought it used and traded it that I actually made $400 on the deal) so I traded that for a Tenor Madness Custom tenor.

The only Cannonball I've played was the Mad Meg and that was many years ago. I didn't care for it but it may have not been setup well.

The sound of both the Eastman and Mauriat 66R is big and dark provided you have the air to power them. I played one Eastman, an early 52nd St, that Sax Alley had just sold to someone in Europe and it was fantastic and a few others that I just thought were okay. The left-hand table keys on the 66R are too much of a reach for me so while I like the sound I've never really gotten on with the feel of it.

In terms of overall build quality they all seem pretty close to me but the initial setups might be better on one or another depending upon who you are buying through if you are going to purchase new. That being said, I'd agree with saxcop that your best bet is to get one lightly used. If I were you I'd start saving and keep posting to the forum. Once you've been here 6 months and posted 50 times you'll have access to the Marketplace section of the forum were you can probably get a pretty good deal on one of these tenors lightly used if you're patient.
 

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You’re not going to find much discernible difference between a Barone Vintage and a 66-r. There’s a Barone alto out there with a P Mauriat stamped G# brace on it that I used to own. Even horns assembled in the same factory can have differences in quality and materials. I was studying with a player who played a 66-r at the time I owned a most excellent Barone Vintage tenor and they were nearly identical. It also wasn’t far off from the Cannonball Big Bell Stone Series I had before it. Just better for me. My tech much preferred the Barone to the Cannonball and it was in for tweaks less frequently and for lower dollars than the CBall. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the CBall VR saxes and the one I’ve played for a minute in the shop was really fun to play. Still hear mixed thoughts on the stone series tenors and I find them to be nothing special. There are three Eastman 52nd streets on the wall at my local shop and two of them play terribly. Could just be set up though.
 

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I’ve played a mauriat and i own a barone....the barone is a much more substantial feeling...while the mauriat played well, I much preferred the barone....
 

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The Barone horns were at one point manufactured at the same facility as the P. Mauriat horns, and perhaps were identical. This was over 10 years ago when the Barones first hit the market. Keep in mind that the Barones have changed manufacturers multiple times so it's impossible to know what "version" you would get. There are some out there with paper-thin tone holes that I've seen (you can literally bend the tone hole with your fingernail) but there are others that have rock-solid build quality. I know that the Barones can be excellent horns when they're from one of the "good" factories and set up correctly. The Classic will be more focused with a brilliant resonance, while the Vintage will be rounder and more spread. Both can play great, I usually preferred the Vintage.

I have personally never liked the Eastman 52nd street horns. They don't have any core or depth to the sound IMO, the keywork feels clunky, and their build quality has been incredibly suspect in my experience. They certainly could have improved since I've last held one. There's a sax shop near me that's had an Eastman 52nd street for over 5 years now as no one who has ever played it has wanted to buy it, despite it being set up properly. And that's because it plays and feels like crap compared to the Mauriats, Yani's, Yamahas, and Selmers on the wall next to it.

The Cannonball Big Bell horns are typically heavy and rugged, with a big bright sound. Not as much nuance or richness as other brands, but they trade that for power, cut, ease of altissimo, and intonation, which tends to be excellent. The Cannonball Vintage Reborn is a very unique modern horn that blends vintage with modern...a creamy, rich center with brilliance around the edges. Easiest altissimo I've ever played was on a Cannonball Big Bell.

The Mauriats used to be a great deal, but there have been very serious quality control issues the past couple of years. The "rolled" tone holes have been warped and/or defective on nearly every new model I've seen in the past couple of years. I've alerted several retailers to this when I've seen them and supposedly they were contacting distributor etc...don't know what, if anything, has been done. But I've seen some recently and the tone holes were not looking great. Often times the "roll" itself isn't complete and is prone to damage, or the tone hole simply isn't level at all, causing major issues.

Hope that helps!

- Saxaholic
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hey everyone, thanks for all of the responses! It's a wealth of information to think about! I should have read these before buying the instrument, but oh well haha. So I bought a PB horn already, used for around 1800 dollars and... I kind of hate it. Haha

It's super bright and cutting, to get to the point. I agree with some of you who posted that it feels almost exactly the same as my Cannonball Big Bell Stone Series tenor I used to have. This is a disappointment considering that I sold that instrument specifically because I didn't like how it played. I just can't fall in love with this instrument's sound lol. I don't know what else to say.

On the plus side, I'm excited to keep trying new saxes. So far, I think my favorite's been the Eastman 52nd Street, followed closely by the P Mauriat 66 PMXT. They both played awesomely
 

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Hey everyone, thanks for all of the responses! It's a wealth of information to think about! I should have read these before buying the instrument, but oh well haha. So I bought a PB horn already, used for around 1800 dollars and... I kind of hate it. Haha

It's super bright and cutting, to get to the point. I agree with some of you who posted that it feels almost exactly the same as my Cannonball Big Bell Stone Series tenor I used to have. This is a disappointment considering that I sold that instrument specifically because I didn't like how it played. I just can't fall in love with this instrument's sound lol. I don't know what else to say.

On the plus side, I'm excited to keep trying new saxes. So far, I think my favorite's been the Eastman 52nd Street, followed closely by the P Mauriat 66 PMXT. They both played awesomely
I'm selling a Cannonball Vintage Reborn in the for sale section. It wasn't on your original list, but as mentioned by others it's a really nice horn.
 

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I had a Cannonball stone series silver tenor for many years. Nice, played in tune. It didn't come with a Phat neck, yet I got one and that improved things a bit. Then I got my Mauriat 66RUL tenor. It is well built (not saying the Cannonball was not), yet it had a sound that was more flexible than the Cannonball, and yet more American horn sounding, and modern key style. Almost, but not exactly Selmer like. I always felt like the Mauriat was a step up from the Cannonball. Just my opinion. Everybody has their own. Go play some and decide yourself.
 

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Hey everyone, thanks for all of the responses! It's a wealth of information to think about! I should have read these before buying the instrument, but oh well haha. So I bought a PB horn already, used for around 1800 dollars and... I kind of hate it. Haha

It's super bright and cutting, to get to the point. I agree with some of you who posted that it feels almost exactly the same as my Cannonball Big Bell Stone Series tenor I used to have. This is a disappointment considering that I sold that instrument specifically because I didn't like how it played. I just can't fall in love with this instrument's sound lol. I don't know what else to say.

On the plus side, I'm excited to keep trying new saxes. So far, I think my favorite's been the Eastman 52nd Street, followed closely by the P Mauriat 66 PMXT. They both played awesomely
What is it that is different on the horns that you like? Did you play them with the same mouthpiece? Why didn't you buy the horn(s) that you like?

I am so glad to have stopped questing for horns. It can be overwhelming - distracting in the least.

G'luck!
 

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I have to interject. A) We never changed factories. However, Mauriat did open their own factory which may have caused a little confusion.

B) We never changed the gauge of our metal so there's no reason that some tone holes would be thinner than others. C) They're not really bright horns, brightness is largely a factor of the mouthpiece. Here's a couple of examples of our latest endorser, Eric Defade playing both the Vintage and Classic models. He's a knock out player who gave up playing his Selmer Mark VI.



The room is very bright on the Classic demo as you'll see. Everyone be well! Phil Barone
 

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Phil,

Apologies on the factory misunderstanding. At some point I remember you talking about differing factories but maybe the Mauriat thing was what I was thinking about.

RE: toneholes. I've seen two of the horns with super thin toneholes. They were very early ones from what I remember. No idea if it was a QC thing or what. But most that I have seen have all been superb. Still the best "bang for your buck" in the new pro tenor market, IMO.

- Saxaholic
 

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Phil,

Apologies on the factory misunderstanding. At some point I remember you talking about differing factories but maybe the Mauriat thing was what I was thinking about.

RE: toneholes. I've seen two of the horns with super thin toneholes. They were very early ones from what I remember. No idea if it was a QC thing or what. But most that I have seen have all been superb. Still the best "bang for your buck" in the new pro tenor market, IMO.

- Saxaholic
No problem, you're one of the people I respect on here. Someone I was in business with, however briefly also got some from China against my advice. I think he got stuck with them and he's not supposed to be selling them but I don't have much control of the situation. Everyone have a great weekend, I'm going to dinosaur day in Brooklyn then Bear Mountain on Sunday. Phil
 

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No problem, you're one of the people I respect on here. Someone I was in business with, however briefly also got some from China against my advice. I think he got stuck with them and he's not supposed to be selling them but I don't have much control of the situation. Everyone have a great weekend, I'm going to dinosaur day in Brooklyn then Bear Mountain on Sunday. Phil
Really, so there are some Phil Barone branded horns made in China out there?
 

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Eastmans are fine, fine horns. And for me to say anything nice about a contemporary asian-made sax...is quite rare. Having serviced a couple of them now, both less than 5 years old...they are better quality horns than a Mauriat or Cannonball, IMHO.
Very impressively fabricated, nice slick keywork and good ergos, and their sound is nothing short of fantastic.
Sonically the most successful models (I add the 640 here to the 52nd St) in nailing that vintage, dark, lush tone of any asian make.

I have no experience with the Barones. I have been hoping one would cross my bench sometime...
 
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