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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been struggling to find a "modern sounding" piece to go with my '50's 'Crat baris. The short neck and the horn really do require a very large chamber piece -- which always makes the sound darker than you'd want for anything other than a Rascherian experience -- not that I'm dissing that... My Rascher piece plays like a dream on this horn and neck, it's just dark to the point of dead and I want to play more than Bach string quartets on this horn.

Awhile back I bought a much longer Bundy/400 neck to use and while the base tuning is possible with most modern large/med/small pieces on that neck, the palm keys are ALWAYS way flat. Even a "True Large Chamber" Theo Wanna Durga doesn't cut it on these (a $600 failed experiment that most folks on the board won't want to repeat).

I picked up a Strathon bari piece and low and behold, it actually plays in tune on the longer neck. At least on the 129 I have here now, A2 and Bb2 don't speak well with this neck (lots of hissing, muddy voicing), but with the combination of the Strathon and the 400 neck at least the intonation is spot on all the way through the horn.

Just thought I'd share that.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
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if your previously flat palms are now OK with the stratton but you get hissing A's and Bb's that's an inequivocal sign of too large an octave neck pip vent
 

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So is this a pretty well recognized issue with the 'Crat Baris -- won't tune well without a large-chamber piece?
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Mouthpiece selection on a really vintage bari is always an issue -- be it SBA, 'Crat, Martin, or old Conn. The TT and model 129 'Crat bari's are all based on the 1914 designed horn, which generally speaking doesn't respond well to modern mouthpieces. I haven't played the Rousseau, but I understand it to be a very large chamber piece. I don't know anything about the Larsen Juan mentioned, but if it's playing well on the original neck, it too must be a very large chamber piece and is presumably quite dark in tone by modern standards. I have also had good success with the Rascher bari piece, but as I mentioned, it defines dark (I call it buttery).

The ability to play one of these with a high-ish baffle medium chamber piece has alway been that you could get the horn in tune with itself, but a 1/4 step sharp across the horn. The Bundy/400 neck solved that bit, but at the expense of the intonation at the upper end of the horn.

FWIW, the 139 Buescher bari I have doesn't have the same problem. Doesn't mind whatever mouthpiece you put on it. Unfortunately, Buescher didn't make many of these and seems to have stopped production pre-war altogether, only producing the earlier instrument post-war.
 

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Is any of this a hint to the preference for Big B baris in Rascherian programs? You'd think the most serious baritonists wouldn't be playing anything but the barrel chamber, ever.
 

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Hmmm. Well, my tonal conception tends to be on the dark side & I don't much mind big chambers or even narrow tip openings so everything should be o.k. when I finally plump for a Bari. If I could sound like Harry Carney all day long, that would be swell.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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8,588 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Is any of this a hint to the preference for Big B baris in Rascherian programs? You'd think the most serious baritonists wouldn't be playing anything but the barrel chamber, ever.
I have my Rascher bari mouthpiece, and yes it works wonderfully on the 129s. Guess I'm just not serious enough to not venture out into unknown worlds of jazz and rock. :)

I fear no music, although there are some I do like better than others. :mrgreen:
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If she had just used a leaking Strathon (as I've been talking about in another thread), she could have done that entire performance without the tape -- screams and all. Would have been far less work. :mrgreen:
 

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I took a look & listen, too. Ouch. Made me want to Garde against the Avants. But she has a couple of other performances up as well. She's got good chops.

I ended up on a bit of a saxophone Youtube goose-chase, thereafter -- surprised a the number of solo baritone classical pieces up. And, is Brazil particularly fond of saxophone quartets / quintets / orchestra? There seem to be dozens of different Brazilian groups up on Youtube (I guess some of 'em could be Portuguese).
 

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Melissa's marvelous. Glad I clicked.

I had the '35 Tranny Crat bari - with the original Tru-Lay 63/1000 mpc - out for a spin yesterday and noticed for the first time that the palm-key notes wanted to go flat. That's a very uncommon experience for me on a vintage sax.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013-
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Hey, thanks for the plug John. I'm actually using a Rascher mpc with my bari, though. Anyone's welcome to check out my website: www.melissawidzinski.com for more info and audio clips. :)
In saxophone heaven I understand that you are playing baritone duets with Dannel.:mrgreen:
 

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Haha, we'll see...maybe in the fall at Eastman...
Do it!! Give me enough notice and I'll take time off if I have to for that. Two baritones and a harp could be cool, too...
 

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Melissa, did I tell you you sound marvelous?

BTW, why do you think most classical baritonists play Big Bs?
 

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Thanks, paulwl!

Well, I can tell you why I play one - I fell in love with the tonal colors that I could achieve easily on the horn, and decided that this was right for me. No one told me that I had to play any instrument in particular, but I had a tonal goal in mind, and this instrument helped me achieve it.

I have played some earlier Buescher baris that just don't sound the same. The Big B has a more round tone than earlier models I've played. In my experience, the older models are a lot more difficult to play in tune. They are also, without a doubt, more mechanically primitive. I really dislike the left pinky cluster on the early models because of the gimpy G# tab. It nearly makes playing the bari part in the 2nd movement of the Glass concerto for sax quartet impossible. I had a moveable tab added to my G# key so that I can have an articulated cluster when I want it. It's nice to be able to move it so that I can have a lower spring tension when articulated G# isn't necessary. Spring tension is a big issue in the low B and Bb due to the torque necessary in keeping the largest, heaviest keys open at the end of such a long rod.

That being said, it could be that I like my Big B because it has been overhauled and updated with many new parts that have made it easier to play. I'm sure lots of the older horns could be great, too, with an overhaul. I am happy to have found a horn that works for me!
 

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Great insights Melissa - and thanks for sharing.

I'm mostly a tenor player, but have 2 baris, a 1935 Aristocrat and '31 Conn 12M. To be frank, I prefer the 12M for having a more robust, all-around voice. The Aristocrat puts me more in mind of a Gerry Mulligan tone quality - rounder yes, gentler, and maybe a bit airy up top.

If you've played a few horns from each maker, you know that Conn totally re-engineered to make the 12M in the late 20s. Buescher waited awhile. Ever see a Custom Built bari from the late 30s? It was a predecessor to the Big B, but it's very rare.

I know what you're saying about spring tension on the lower notes. I find adjusting the big springs is very goosey. Even knowing which way to bend them is tricky because you can't necessarily tell from listening - too tense and the key won't fully close - too slack and it won't stay closed. :(
 
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