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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a review of a Phil Barone Vintage model tenor sax in vintage bare brass finish. It came well boxed and packed and came within a very reasonable time. I was pleasantly surprised to see when I opened the box to see that the case was a kick ***** compact flight case that is also very protective and sturdy. It also came with a neck strap, polishing cloth and a strap to carry the case plus a Phil Barone hard rubber mouthpiece. I didn't use the mouthpiece for this review.

Packing and case - 4 stars

The Finish- The finish is exactly what I expoected. It’s bare brass but’s been treated to make it look older than it is. It’s consistent from top to bottom and the engraving stands out beautifully. I imagine that it will get darker with time but I really don’t know. Phil offers a lot of finishes so if you don’t like this one there’s plenty of others to choose from.

Finish-5 Stars

Ergonomics – The Vintage has fantastic ergonomics, better than most other horn I’ve ever played and I’ve had a few. The keys are extremely responsive, firm, and sharp. Not to heavy not to light, just perfect. The palm keys are in a great position although I have very large hands so for me personally the E/Eb key could be a little higher but that’s true of all horns for me otherwise the left hand stack is in a great position and extremely well balanced. Side keys, also well placed and it has a great feel to them.

Ergonomics-4 Stars


Sound – Now this horn sounds incredible, just incredible. What a huge surprise to me as I didnt really know what to expect; This sound blows me away, and at the moment I am so taken by the sound, its very centred, and responsive, and big as in wide, and big as in focused, and big as in projection. In one word it is huge when I want it to be but can also play softly and it can be very subtle. Everyone who has heard me on it says how much better I sound on it.

Sound-5 Stars

Play-ability – Phil told me that he sets them up before he ships them and he wasn’t kidding because this one played straight out of the box, from top to bottom. Palm keys speak effortlessly right up to top F#. There are no notes that need special attention apart from the usual suspects on all tenors. Save for those, they all play with an equal timbre and response. And it’s just a pleasure to play. It speaks naturally and effortlessly.

Playability - 4 Stars

Intonation – The intonation on this horn is flawless as much as a sax can be. I can play all over the registers without having to adjust my embouchure very much if at all. Tremendous confidence in terms of playing in tune.

Intonation-5 Stars


Price-It cost me $1,980 which is about a third less than a P Mauriat and I imagine that’s because Phil only sells direct to the public and not to music stores.

Overview-The horn is just amazing and the price just can’t be beat. I’ve owned a Selmer Mark VI for a long time, a P. Mauriat and a SA 80 Serie II for years and currently a Serie III Selmer and I have been playing for over 23 years, so I’ve been around.


This horn would be hard to beat, especially at its price point. In fact I would put this horn p against any horn on the market old or new - Its that good.

Originally meant as a back up horn, this horn is now a keeper.
 

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Yup - pretty much the same thing that happened to me. I bought my Classic as a backup horn and it has ended up being my primary gigging horn. I realize that not everyone is going to love these horns but it's always fun to read the reaction of those that do; it's always that sort of "wow, I figured this horn would be okay but it's a lot more than I expected".
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yup - pretty much the same thing that happened to me. I bought my Classic as a backup horn and it has ended up being my primary gigging horn. I realize that not everyone is going to love these horns but it's always fun to read the reaction of those that do; it's always that sort of "wow, I figured this horn would be okay but it's a lot more than I expected".
Keith - What was your main horn ? And what finish is your PB Classic ?
 

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I have said for years that I always on a 10M and a modern horn.
The modern horn I always have here is a Barone. I have owned over a dozen of these.
They are an excellent horn for the price or any price. I always enjoy having one here and I use it quite often. I’m glad to hear you got one for yourself and that you are enjoying it. I bet the mouthpiece you got from me is a great combination for you with that horn. Enjoy and hope you’re well!
 

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Keith - What was your main horn ? And what finish is your PB Classic ?
My main horn was a YTS-875 Custom from the early 90's. I played that horn for about 15 years and I still have it. It took me about 2-3 hours playing the Barone to decide it was the better horn for me at this point. I still like the key work and the easy low-end response of the Yammy but the Barone has a bigger sound across the board. My Classic is gold plated and thus far the finish has held up really well as has the horn in general. The other tenor that I'm presently playing a lot is a bare-brass Tenor Madness Custom. It's like a cross between the YTS-875 and Barone. It's key work and response is more like the Yamaha and it's sound closer to the Barone though not as big and a bit more focused. I still play probably 8 out of 10 gigs on the Classic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have said for years that I always on a 10M and a modern horn.
The modern horn I always have here is a Barone. I have owned over a dozen of these.
They are an excellent horn for the price or any price. I always enjoy having one here and I use it quite often. I'm glad to hear you got one for yourself and that you are enjoying it. I bet the mouthpiece you got from me is a great combination for you with that horn. Enjoy and hope you're well!
+ 1 - It sounds incredible with the MB II - Which by the way is a killer from manila piece !
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My main horn was a YTS-875 Custom from the early 90's. I played that horn for about 15 years and I still have it. It took me about 2-3 hours playing the Barone to decide it was the better horn for me at this point. I still like the key work and the easy low-end response of the Yammy but the Barone has a bigger sound across the board. My Classic is gold plated and thus far the finish has held up really well as has the horn in general. The other tenor that I'm presently playing a lot is a bare-brass Tenor Madness Custom. It's like a cross between the YTS-875 and Barone. It's key work and response is more like the Yamaha and it's sound closer to the Barone though not as big and a bit more focused. I still play probably 8 out of 10 gigs on the Classic.
Keith i do believe that the classic is considered to be a more focussed sound, and the vintage to be a more spread sound, or wider tonal palette. Is this your understanding ?
 

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Keith i do believe that the classic is considered to be a more focussed sound, and the vintage to be a more spread sound, or wider tonal palette. Is this your understanding ?
Yes, but I haven't spent much time playing the Barone Vintage models. I am lucky that Sax Alley is one of the few shops that carry Phil's horns so I have played some of the present instruments over the course of time but I have nowhere near the time on them that I have on my horn. In addition, my horn is really pre Classic/Vintage. Very early on Phil just had one model which more closely resembles the Classic so when folks ask what model I have I say "a Classic" but strictly speaking that's not true so my horn is not exactly like the Classic that Phil sells today.

As far as the rolled vs. straight tone hole discussion goes my belief is that isn't as big a deal as the other design characteristics concerning the bore of the horn. My TM Custom tenor has rolled tone holes but my Barone with straight tone holes has the bigger broader sound.
 

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This is a review of a Phil Barone Vintage model tenor sax in vintage bare brass finish. It came well boxed and packed and came within a very reasonable time. I was pleasantly surprised to see when I opened the box to see that the case was a kick ***** compact flight case that is also very protective and sturdy. It also came with a neck strap, polishing cloth and a strap to carry the case plus a Phil Barone hard rubber mouthpiece. I didn't use the mouthpiece for this review.

Packing and case - 4 stars

The Finish- The finish is exactly what I expoected. It's bare brass but's been treated to make it look older than it is. It's consistent from top to bottom and the engraving stands out beautifully. I imagine that it will get darker with time but I really don't know. Phil offers a lot of finishes so if you don't like this one there's plenty of others to choose from.

Finish-5 Stars

Ergonomics - The Vintage has fantastic ergonomics, better than most other horn I've ever played and I've had a few. The keys are extremely responsive, firm, and sharp. Not to heavy not to light, just perfect. The palm keys are in a great position although I have very large hands so for me personally the E/Eb key could be a little higher but that's true of all horns for me otherwise the left hand stack is in a great position and extremely well balanced. Side keys, also well placed and it has a great feel to them.

Ergonomics-4 Stars

Sound - Now this horn sounds incredible, just incredible. What a huge surprise to me as I didnt really know what to expect; This sound blows me away, and at the moment I am so taken by the sound, its very centred, and responsive, and big as in wide, and big as in focused, and big as in projection. In one word it is huge when I want it to be but can also play softly and it can be very subtle. Everyone who has heard me on it says how much better I sound on it.

Sound-5 Stars

Play-ability - Phil told me that he sets them up before he ships them and he wasn't kidding because this one played straight out of the box, from top to bottom. Palm keys speak effortlessly right up to top F#. There are no notes that need special attention apart from the usual suspects on all tenors. Save for those, they all play with an equal timbre and response. And it's just a pleasure to play. It speaks naturally and effortlessly.

Playability - 4 Stars

Intonation - The intonation on this horn is flawless as much as a sax can be. I can play all over the registers without having to adjust my embouchure very much if at all. Tremendous confidence in terms of playing in tune.

Intonation-5 Stars

Price-It cost me $1,980 which is about a third less than a P Mauriat and I imagine that's because Phil only sells direct to the public and not to music stores.

Overview-The horn is just amazing and the price just can't be beat. I've owned a Selmer Mark VI for a long time, a P. Mauriat and a SA 80 Serie II for years and currently a Serie III Selmer and I have been playing for over 23 years, so I've been around.

This horn would be hard to beat, especially at its price point. In fact I would put this horn p against any horn on the market old or new - Its that good.

Originally meant as a back up horn, this horn is now a keeper.
Thanks Dawson! Great review. Detailed and well thought out. Thank you!
Phil Barone
 

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This is a review of a Phil Barone Vintage model tenor sax in vintage bare brass finish. It came well boxed and packed and came within a very reasonable time. I was pleasantly surprised to see when I opened the box to see that the case was a kick ***** compact flight case that is also very protective and sturdy. It also came with a neck strap, polishing cloth and a strap to carry the case plus a Phil Barone hard rubber mouthpiece. I didn't use the mouthpiece for this review.

Packing and case - 4 stars

The Finish- The finish is exactly what I expoected. It's bare brass but's been treated to make it look older than it is. It's consistent from top to bottom and the engraving stands out beautifully. I imagine that it will get darker with time but I really don't know. Phil offers a lot of finishes so if you don't like this one there's plenty of others to choose from.

Finish-5 Stars

Ergonomics - The Vintage has fantastic ergonomics, better than most other horn I've ever played and I've had a few. The keys are extremely responsive, firm, and sharp. Not to heavy not to light, just perfect. The palm keys are in a great position although I have very large hands so for me personally the E/Eb key could be a little higher but that's true of all horns for me otherwise the left hand stack is in a great position and extremely well balanced. Side keys, also well placed and it has a great feel to them.

Ergonomics-4 Stars

Sound - Now this horn sounds incredible, just incredible. What a huge surprise to me as I didnt really know what to expect; This sound blows me away, and at the moment I am so taken by the sound, its very centred, and responsive, and big as in wide, and big as in focused, and big as in projection. In one word it is huge when I want it to be but can also play softly and it can be very subtle. Everyone who has heard me on it says how much better I sound on it.

Sound-5 Stars

Play-ability - Phil told me that he sets them up before he ships them and he wasn't kidding because this one played straight out of the box, from top to bottom. Palm keys speak effortlessly right up to top F#. There are no notes that need special attention apart from the usual suspects on all tenors. Save for those, they all play with an equal timbre and response. And it's just a pleasure to play. It speaks naturally and effortlessly.

Playability - 4 Stars

Intonation - The intonation on this horn is flawless as much as a sax can be. I can play all over the registers without having to adjust my embouchure very much if at all. Tremendous confidence in terms of playing in tune.

Intonation-5 Stars

Price-It cost me $1,980 which is about a third less than a P Mauriat and I imagine that's because Phil only sells direct to the public and not to music stores.

Overview-The horn is just amazing and the price just can't be beat. I've owned a Selmer Mark VI for a long time, a P. Mauriat and a SA 80 Serie II for years and currently a Serie III Selmer and I have been playing for over 23 years, so I've been around.

This horn would be hard to beat, especially at its price point. In fact I would put this horn p against any horn on the market old or new - Its that good.

Originally meant as a back up horn, this horn is now a keeper.
Great review Dawson, and right on point! I just recently got a classic tenor in black with gold keys. I've had about a week to play it now and am just blown away with how great this horn sounds. Ease of play is amazing from low end to high end. I love the big full sound I can get from this horn (but like you said, easy to bring it down a notch when needed). I haven't had a tenor in years, been playing alto, but this horn has shown me how much I missed the deep rich tenor sound. I love the key lay out. I have smaller hands and was worried about layout, but have no problems using the table or side keys. I didn't have another mouthpiece so I've been using the stock, but have been enjoying it just fine, so not in a rush to go get another one. For me price point was an important factor as well so this is the reason I went with the Phil Barone classic tenor. I had a Mark VI tenor previously as well. Would I have liked to purchased another Mark VI? YES! Would my budget allow me to purchase a mark VI? Even bigger NO! For what I had to spend, this was the best horn for the value. I can walk away happy about my new horn and the quality without being depressed about the big hit to my budget lol Thanks for such a thorough review. I didn't really get a chance to have some real time with my horn till this last weekend, so once I get a bit more quality practice time in with it, I will write one as well.

Thanks again!
Kristy
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Great review Dawson, and right on point! I just recently got a classic tenor in black with gold keys. I've had about a week to play it now and am just blown away with how great this horn sounds. Ease of play is amazing from low end to high end. I love the big full sound I can get from this horn (but like you said, easy to bring it down a notch when needed). I haven't had a tenor in years, been playing alto, but this horn has shown me how much I missed the deep rich tenor sound. I love the key lay out. I have smaller hands and was worried about layout, but have no problems using the table or side keys. I didn't have another mouthpiece so I've been using the stock, but have been enjoying it just fine, so not in a rush to go get another one. For me price point was an important factor as well so this is the reason I went with the Phil Barone classic tenor. I had a Mark VI tenor previously as well. Would I have liked to purchased another Mark VI? YES! Would my budget allow me to purchase a mark VI? Even bigger NO! For what I had to spend, this was the best horn for the value. I can walk away happy about my new horn and the quality without being depressed about the big hit to my budget lol Thanks for such a thorough review. I didn't really get a chance to have some real time with my horn till this last weekend, so once I get a bit more quality practice time in with it, I will write one as well.

Thanks again!
Kristy
Kristy I agree with your point, its about Value here. What you get for relatively so little money, the deal is very very hard to beat !
 

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I have said for years that I always on a 10M and a modern horn.
The modern horn I always have here is a Barone. I have owned over a dozen of these.
They are an excellent horn for the price or any price. I always enjoy having one here and I use it quite often. I'm glad to hear you got one for yourself and that you are enjoying it. I bet the mouthpiece you got from me is a great combination for you with that horn. Enjoy and hope you're well!
Mark -
I'm in the market for a back-up/travel horn and seriously considering a Barone tenor. I play an 82Z and a late (1974) VI, and for most gigs (except for straight ahead jazz playing my VI with a Robusto) prefer the sound of the Z (with my BW - which I'm loving more every day). Your having owned and played a lot of the Barones, how would you compare the sound of the vintage to the classic, and which do you think might be closer to the Z?
Thanks!
 
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