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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In need of advice from those of you in the know. Although I'm a Bb bloke (Clarinet, Soprano & Tenor) I've come across a Bari that the present owner says is a Cigar Cutter. I've not seen the horn yet (I think I know how to identify it properly from the octave mechanism) but it's apparently in good nick.

What are your thoughts on these particular horns?

I'm presuming it's going to be standard Concert A=440(ish) pitch?

Are there any quirks/faults to look out for on that particular model?

Bearing in mind I haven't seen it I gather it's (more or less) free of dings & has it's original lacquer. OK, I know it's probably like asking the length of a piece of string but best guesstimate of UK market value (a) if perfect, (b) if re-lacquered.

Can't afford it but selling my soul & my sister's kids has crossed my mind. Is the sale of a soul & small children a small price to pay for one of these horns or should I hang on to the kids??

Do I need to be drooling just at the thought of this horn? I am already, but there you go. I've tried to do as much research as possible but can't find very much info let alone any that's recent.
 

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The baritone octave mechanism probably won't have the same cigar cutter deal as the alto, but the serial # should be in the mid teens or so. Should be A=440, so if it's not, something's wrong. I've never played one, so I can't advise on the selling of souls or kids, or the $ value. Good luck and keep us posted.
 

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Go to www.saxpics.com and look at the "Super" models. I had a tenor that was great from that era. Make sure it is not a model 22 or 26. As mentioned the serial numbers should be in the upper teens.
 

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The Cigar Cutter baritone won't have the "cigar cutter" octave mechanism that gave the Selmers of this era their name.

It's an interesting horn, with palm keys like a giant early Mark VI soprano, and a thumb octave lever with a leaf spring that is the biggest saxophone spring in history.

The sound is very centered, but finding the right mouthpiece is a task. The palm keys are a little flat, so I recommend a 60s or 70s Link or Meyer.

Some of the early ones have the double sprung stack B flat (no side Bb key) that can be problematic unless it's set up correctly - hard to describe until you see it.

Value is less than later balanced action, and certainly less than Mark VI baritones, but I still like them.

The big problem is age. At 75 years old, big horns like these usually have lots of problems to address to really get them playing right.

Lots of recordings using old saxes on my MYSPACE MUSIC page:

http://www.myspace.com/saxpsychosis
 

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Discussion Starter #5
saxtek said:
...Some of the early ones have the double sprung stack B flat (no side Bb key)...
All info much appreciated & duly absorbed. The present owner did mention something about the Bb key. If anyone has any further thoughs I'm all ears & will keep everyone posted - unless I have to sell the computer!!

I'm hoping I can sell a couple of Clarinets that I've just re-padded & overhauled to put towards the cost. Still no idea of what a fair price might be though.
 

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You didn't mention the price range. Stateside any working Bari will bring $500 US. If the horn plays OK and is not too banged up, compare it with any Bari on the UK market and decide if it is worth having. Selmer on the bell will always command a higher price at resale. I would look for a Conn or Martin first but even here in the land of Elkhartdom, they are hard to find.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
bruce bailey said:
You didn't mention the price range. Stateside any working Bari will bring $500 US...
£1200 was mentioned but that much is simply way out of reach. I can't find a direct comparison but I think that's a little on the high side. Mk VI's are advertised in music shops at £3500 & I did see a Conn sell for £850 recently & there's a 1940's Selmer Pennsylvania for £900 in another shop.
So prices vary WILDLY. Should I really hold out for a Conn, or perhaps get the later Selmer... or should I try to get the Cigar Cutter down to around £850 ??
 

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Hi,

I used to have a lacquer Cigar-cutter baritone. Just upgraded to a Mk VI. My Cigar-cutter was very friendly to play, a comfortable mechanism (although not as tight as a modern one, obviously) and made a good strong noise. I went through various mouthpieces, ending up with a Metal Otto Link 8*.

The neck had been extended on mine, I guess to allow to play with shorter shank modern mouthpieces, but I have a friend who also has a Cigar-cutter baritone (silver plate, lots of engraving, much prettier than mine), and his neck is unmodified - he uses a hard rubber Berg Larson 130/3 I think.

I did use to have tuning problems around the D an E at the bottom of the middle octave - they played very sharp. It was just about possible to compensate for this, but always felt a bit like hard work. Other than that it was an enjoyable instrument to play.

I traded it in for my Mk VI a couple of months ago for £ 1350, which is the same as I paid for it a couple of years earlier - so the upside is it should keep its value. I think you'll be lucky to get it down to £ 850 ...

Cheers,

Crac
 

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Discussion Starter #9
crac1967 said:
Hi,

...Cigar-cutter was very friendly to play, a comfortable mechanism... Metal Otto Link 8*... hard rubber Berg Larson 130/3... D an E at the bottom of the middle octave - they played very sharp... enjoyable instrument to play... £1350... should keep its value... Cheers,

Crac
Thanks for the info Crac.
 

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I know it is hard to shop for these vintage horns in the UK. That price does sound a bit high. It may be worth looking at the US ebay and just pay the shipping. TJontheroad (here at SOTW) had a great gold plated Martin for sale that was about the same price as the Selmer you mentioned. Even with the shipping to Wales, it may be worth a look. Martins are one of the best Baris along with Conn. If you run across a Whitehall or VITO bari, they are made by Yana and usually go for about $1,500 US. Most have the low A too.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well I'm now like a happy chappy but also feeling quite poor. I bought that Selmer Bari today & just love it. Serial number is 145XX - which (I think) puts it about 1931.The cost... £880. No significant dings & the original lacquer (amazingly) is about 99% intact. Most significant lacquer wear is on the inside of the bell - I can only imagine some eejit has taped a microphone to it at some point.






 

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Wow, pretty horn! Sounds like you got a good deal, looks like it would be a pleasure to play! Congratulations!


I'm curious, where are you? I studied at the University of Glamorgan for a while and dearly loved it! Well, the country more than the school...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
cymru97 said:
Wow, pretty horn! Sounds like you got a good deal, looks like it would be a pleasure to play! Congratulations!


I'm curious, where are you? I studied at the University of Glamorgan for a while and dearly loved it! Well, the country more than the school...
I'm in a place called Rhayader in MID Wales.

It is great to play but the dogs aren't keen!! I only got it at lunch time today. I've re-corked the neck only because the old cork was a bit tired.

It's maybe my embouchoure (I spend most of my time playing Soprano) but the sax seems to be playing SHARP. It's got a standard Yamaha 5C mouthpiece with it. OK, it's early days but to get it in tune the mouthpiece is teetering on the end of the neck! Is it due to vintage m/pieces having longer shanks or it it (as I suspect) my mouth?

A quick temporary fix (I'm off to a session tonight & need to be in tune) is a cork extension on the octave mechanism (so it still locates) & pulling the neck out a tad.

As I said: just a quick temporary fix to get me in tune for tonight!!
 

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FWIW I'm not a bari player, but the chamber size in your mouthpiece is going to affect tuning. you might be right about some vintage mouthpieces having longer shanks - e.g. the old Berg Larsens steel mpcs seem *very* long.

Embouchure too - if you're going from sop to bari with nothing in between, I'd imagine it's quite different- I'm adding (vintage) sop to my usual(vintage) tenors & altos, and the embouchure on sop is very different.

I'd also check out other photos of old Selmer baris, make sure you've got the right neck (and it hasn't been shortened !)

Your new Bari looks nice, and a nice price too. It also looks very like an Adolph Sax Bari I was bidding on at a Glasgow auction, but it was a mess of knocks and dents.

-a-
 

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Discussion Starter #15
AndyW said:
Embouchure too - if you're going from sop to bari with nothing in between...
I do play Tenor quite regularly too so I'm not going from the sublime to the ridiculous in one leap!! It MIGHT be my mouth but incorrect embouchoure usually results in getting one note in tune & increasing problems going up & down from that note. The horn seems to be consistently sharp throughout the range.

My "quick fix" of extending the octave mechanism so it still locates, allowing the neck to be pulled out a bit has cured it. I'll talk to the guy I bought it from (he's on holiday at the moment) to pick his brain. I might keep an eye out for a better mouthpiece (it's only a stanard Yamaha one) with a longer shank but that's going to have to wait until my bank balance recovers!!

Does anyone have any recommendations for "long shank" bari mouthpieces?

BTW: The bass guitar player was moaning last night that he couldn't hear himself!!
 

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Thats a nice horn, looks like the one I started playing on many many years ago when I was at school. If I remember I blew a HR Berg about 120 I think, intonation was spot on. I wish I still had the horn, great for jazz. So it is you I hear when I'm passing through Rhayader on my fishing trips to Aberystwyth then? Is there much sax work in that neck of the woods or should I say valley?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
barisaxbeast said:
...So it is you I hear when I'm passing through Rhayader on my fishing trips to Aberystwyth then? Is there much sax work in that neck of the woods or should I say valley?
Thanks barisaxbeast. I've been playing Soprano with a klezmer band for some while & who knows what the bari will bring!! BTW: The nice people at Dawkes have given me some very good & detailed advice:
your baritone was originally designed for a large ballooned out chambered mouthpiece--the yamaha is a shelved off, reduced chamber and also much shorter in length.
the only poss mouthpiece available today that will really help is an otto link (preferably metal as chamber is bigger and shank longer).
So when my bank balance recovers I'll be investing in an Otto Link 5* metal.
 
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