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Discussion Starter #1
I was recently in a brick and mortar music shop and saw a Martin Committee Baritone. I've been thinking of expanding beyond alto and tenor. The price of a new quality baritone is a bit off-putting, so I was thinking of getting an older "pre-owned" horn. I haven't tried it yet, but it looked pretty good - some dings but shiny lacquer. The shop said it had been recently adjusted.

Anyway, they wanted $2500 for it with a new case but no mouthpiece. Does this sound like a reasonable price (assuming it is in good playing shape)? I was thinking of $2000 as my limit for price as I was looking, but there's much to be said for a local shop, and I think these horns have good reputations.
 

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That sounds about right, especially if it's adjusted properly and in good condition. The new case is a bonus.
 

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If its in good shape and playing, thats a very fair price. Pick up a cheap bari mouthpiece, try it out and see what you think!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
If its in good shape and playing, thats a very fair price. Pick up a cheap bari mouthpiece, try it out and see what you think!
Thanks, Martin and PC1234!

Hopefully I'll have time to get away from work next week and try it out. It does sound like it could be a good horn. I doubt they'll have a Martin Bari neck but I'll ask when I'm there.
 

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SuperTourist said:
Thanks, Martin and PC1234!

Hopefully I'll have time to get away from work next week and try it out. It does sound like it could be a good horn. I doubt they'll have a Martin Bari neck but I'll ask when I'm there.
No neck?? :? I had thought you'd said "no mouthpiece" (which is typical). If the horn doesn't have a neck, you will have to go on a bit of a search for one, and that would affect my view of the price they've got on this horn. $2500 is a good price for a fully intact and regulated horn with a new case - but $2500 plus a quest for a neck that will fit (and play in tune) may not necessarily be worth your while...
If it were me, I wouldn't bother. There are other places that will sell you a fully intact horn for that price.
 

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PC, I think hes mentioning that in regards to my signature.

Im looking for a Martin neck to my bari. Right now Its got a Conn Neck
 

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SuperTourist said:
I was recently in a brick and mortar music shop and saw a Martin Committee Baritone. I've been thinking of expanding beyond alto and tenor. The price of a new quality baritone is a bit off-putting, so I was thinking of getting an older "pre-owned" horn. I haven't tried it yet, but it looked pretty good - some dings but shiny lacquer. The shop said it had been recently adjusted.

Anyway, they wanted $2500 for it with a new case but no mouthpiece. Does this sound like a reasonable price (assuming it is in good playing shape)? I was thinking of $2000 as my limit for price as I was looking, but there's much to be said for a local shop, and I think these horns have good reputations.
He did first say "no mouthpiece" and then "no neck." Which is it?

I have a Martin Committee bari, 2nd Series (@1961). I bought it through a vintage horn dealer who ran a small and not terribly prosperous business near where I used to live. He first tried to sell me a Buescher; I tried it out, and it played horribly out of tune. I told him this and he wouldn't believe me at first until I demonstrated in his store, and he finally was convinced that it was the horn and not me. Then he revealed that the neck on that instrument was not the original neck, and the neck he'd put on it was not even a Buescher neck. I laughed at him and left. A month later he called back to offer me a shot at the Martin I ended up buying (for $1600, by the way: it's not pretty, but it's a wonderful horn -- it was a good deal, despite what he'd tried to pass off on me before) after a thorough road test.

The point of this story is: beware a horn that's not all there. Mouthpieces are one thing, of course, but a neck is another. Obviously a good replacement neck that's made for the horn in question is fine, but a replacement necks for Martins and other older horns don't grow on trees. Furthermore, that price for a horn lacking a neck -- if that's the problem -- is probably too high.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
No Mouthpiece

He did first say "no mouthpiece" and then "no neck." Which is it?
It was no mouthpiece. The line about no neck was a response to Martin's signature line.

I must say that this story about the switched out necks was interesting, though. The Martin I saw was in very good shape appearance-wise. Your post is a cautionary tale that I should take a tuner with me when I try it out.
 

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Martin Williams said:
PC, I think hes mentioning that in regards to my signature.

Im looking for a Martin neck to my bari. Right now Its got a Conn Neck
Ah, thanks. A little slow on the up-take, I am. ;)
 

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SuperTourist said:
It was no mouthpiece. The line about no neck was a response to Martin's signature line.

I must say that this story about the switched out necks was interesting, though. The Martin I saw was in very good shape appearance-wise. Your post is a cautionary tale that I should take a tuner with me when I try it out.
By all means bring a tuner, but don't be too quick to blame the horn if you are blowing sharp & you are not used to playing bari... it took me several weeks to get "relaxed" enough on my Martin bari (playing with a vintage Meyer HR mp) so that I wasn't blowing very sharp up and down the range (my main horn is alto). One way to tell if it's you and not the horn may be to switch out and try a "modern" bari while you are at the store. If you have the same intonation problem(s) on both horns, it's probably you, which is easy enough to fix with practice... :)
 

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I picked up a nice The Martin (which I believe is a Committe, right?) here for around 900. It's not in the prettiest of shape but it plays and plays great (probably was a school horn). I would think you could talk the store down a tad bit though. Unless it's dead mint.
 

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SuperTourist said:
It was no mouthpiece. The line about no neck was a response to Martin's signature line.

I must say that this story about the switched out necks was interesting, though. The Martin I saw was in very good shape appearance-wise. Your post is a cautionary tale that I should take a tuner with me when I try it out.
i'm sure this horn will be fine, and if you're buying from a dealer there should be a tuner on the premises, and tweaking to be done if necessary.

The Buescher I tried was SO out of tune that no tuner was necessary. It was predictable: below D2 it played fine, but as soon as I touched the octave key everything was crazy. The dealer tried to tell me it was me! I didn't recognize myself. Fortunately his tech guy was in the store, and his tech guy was a fine bari player himself. He watched me run a scale, and then said: Wow, that horn is REALLY out of tune!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Bought a Martin Committee baritone

Well, to finish what happened with this.

I did go to the store intending to try out the horn, but I had no mouthpiece (not being a baritone player). There was no mouthpiece in the store that they could lend me to try it out, either. They said that they figured that anyone trying out the horn would already have their own mouthpiece.

The horn felt good under the fingers, but I really did want to try it out, so reluctantly I decided to wait.

In the meantime, I discovered a Martin Committee of a later vintage for sale at Junkdude.com for a thousand dollars cheaper. It's an old school band instrument that's pretty ugly. I called them up and was told it was, in fact, very ugly, but it played well. There was no mouthpiece, but they'd include a plain vanilla mouthpiece if I decided to buy it.

Well, Junkdude has a pretty good reputation, so I decided to go for it. It really did seem perfect, since at this point I didn't know if/when I'd ever play a baritone in public, so I didn't want to spend a lot of money on something I might not use much. Martin Collectors would not feel paroxysms of disgust that a fine horn was being underutilized, since it is, in fact, so ugly. The box arrived a few weeks later. The outer box was actually a clothing shipping container, which I thought was a nice disguise.

It took a few days before I could hit the low notes reliably, but it seemed to me that it was the inexperience of the player and not the fault of the horn. Indeed, now that I'm a bit more used to it, it plays very well top to bottom. When I get a better mouthpiece, I'm sure it will be just as good (albeit uglier) than the other Martin Committees that are discussed on SOTW.

As for mouthpieces, I've been searching SOTW and have found various folks happy with Otto Link, Runyon Quantum, Meyer, Jody Jazz, LevelAire and Grieffenhagen mouthpieces on their Martin baritones. I guess the only essential factor is a long shank on the mouthpiece. Actually, I've been so happy with the Yanagisawa metal on my alto and soprano that I'm wondering if maybe I should just get one of those for the baritone as well.

I guess,though, what I'd really like is to have is a fat sound like the baritone guy on old Tower of Power records. If anybody has any advice for that, please feel free to chime in.

At any rate, with the purchase of this and the new soprano, I now for the first time in my life, have all the sizes of saxophone I ever wanted to have (teacher's salary and mortgage prevented that from ever happening before), and I feel I'm prepared for pretty much anything.
 

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Doc plays a berg on bari, And I did for long while as well on my Martin Bari. I use a Jody Jazz ESP now, SWEET SWEET combo for a martin bari!!

I played that horn you got when it was at Junkdude, great horn!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I played that horn you got when it was at Junkdude, great horn!
I'm continually floored by how much experience and expertise is available at Sax on the Web. Not only do I find people who know about what I'm interested in, but there's someone who has actually played the horn that I just bought. Amazing.

Doc plays a berg on bari, And I did for long while as well on my Martin Bari. I use a Jody Jazz ESP now
That got me inspired to search further. I used wikipedia and found:

According to his bio on the Bump City site, the "Doc" plays a Yamaha YBS-62 Bari Sax, Berg Larsen 130 facing metal mouthpiece, and Rico Plasticover 1.5 strength reeds
It sounds like you're very happy with the Jody Jazz. How does the tone / response of the Berg compare with the ESP?
 

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Another mouthpiece to consider would be a Rico Graftonite or Metalite. Do a search to find more info.

I've probably got 20 different bari mouthpieces at my disposal (Dukoffs, Bergs, Links, Meyers of different flavors) and I prefer a slghtly modifed Graftonite B7 over all of them on my Martin Music Man bari.
 

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I misbehave, I'm 20 minutes from Junkdude. I played that bari both before and after it was restored, it was a little beat but wasnt all that bad(mine started off worse I think)

The ESP took care of the thinning out I was getting in the higher notes, and was all over 20 times easier to blow, and much more reliable. The Berg was one of the best stock bergs I'd ever tried, about 15 bergs on bari.

Jorns is right too, the Metalite is a ok piece on the Martin Bari(mine is also a Music Man) But the Ricos were just too resistant for my liking. I liked the ESP for the effortlessness of getting the sound I want, or any other sound.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Mouthpiece

I like freeblowing mouthpieces, too, so it sounds like your ESP might be better for me than a Berg, particularly if it took 15 tries to find a Berg you liked. It will be a while before I have time to get a new mouthpiece, but that's definitely something I want to remember.

Many centuries ago I played a metal Berg on my alto. It was really bright, and at the time, its youthful brashness suited me well. Now, I'm happier on alto with the Yanagisawa, which has, to me, a more buttery sound - still bright enough to cut through if needed, or if I get to play lead alto somewhere, but with more center to it.

There is a mouthpiece refacer not too far from me in the Bay Area, so I might try going over there sometime during the holidays to see what he's got in stock, too.

I'm jealous that you're only twenty minutes from Junkdude. :blob:
 
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