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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone!

I just stumbled on this website/forum while drooling over pretty pretty bari saxes. I'm primarily a solo flautist but I absolutely love playing the bari sax - it's just so much fun. I'm mostly a newbie in the sense that I haven't been "taught" how to play, just sort of picked it up in high school jazz band when we needed some lower sounds and had way too many flutes (though I had some direction from qualified sources and I think I've gotten decent at it). But I don't know what to look for when looking at saxes, etc. In high school, there was an old and unmaintained Selmer but mainly I played the King, which was "newer" and thus in slightly better condition - so you can see that my experience with saxes is pretty limited!

I played a friend's alto this year in the band for a musical this year, but next year, there will be too many alto saxes and they might bump me back to flute. Nothing wrong with the flute, but I just love the sax way more in band situations! So that brings me to my current dilemma: I'd really love to purchase a bari. Not just for this musical band, but for me to play regularly as well. However, I don't have too much free money, as one of those poor university students. I'm planning on saving up starting with my summer job this year, and I'm not in any rush to get into debt!

I'd ideally like a sax that will last me for a good number of years, and will adapt to me growing with it. I guess I'm looking for a good semi-starter bari that is also a good intermediate level bari, but it seems like most people only make the distinction between "student" and "professional" which makes my quest a bit difficult. My one weakness is that I want a "pretty" instrument - but that doesn't mean I only want a "new" horn. The old Selmer in high school was absolutely gorgeous even though it played terribly and had seen better days. But I know that's unnecessary and would probably cost me a lot more than I'm willing to fork out!

Can any of you help me out with what a reasonable budget is, good models for my purpose, etc.? I'm located in Toronto, ON if anyone knows good stores to check out that could also help me with this (I'll be heading to Long & McQuade once the school year is over). And I'm constantly reading things online but sometimes it's nice to have other people tell me if what I'm thinking is also what other people are thinking!
 

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A Yamaha YBS 52, Some Yanagisawa models (also Vito, made in Japan by Yanagisawa) ,used, will fall in the $2 -3000 catagory and are good horns. Be very careful about condition, however. Bari's get knocked around a lot. Repair work can be very expensive and, depending on where you live, you can pay up to $1000.00 or more for a repad and regulation.
 

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Check out the Orpheo Signature bari's on ebay. A lot of sax for the money, and purty too!
 

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Thanks for the referral, Fremont.

As noted above, if you can muster $2000-2500, you can get a very good-playing Low A Bighorn. Good ones have been mentioned above...Yanagisawa Vito stencils, maybe a Yamaha (alhough that might start pushing $3g's).
Also older Low A's are good, too. I have a Conn 11M and a Noblet/Beaugnier Low A, both from the '60's, which are quite solid. Weltklangs are also pretty prevalent, although more so in EU.

If you can only afford $1000-1500, you are pretty much going to be looking at a Low Bb Bighorn (nothing wrong with that, if you go to the Baritone section there is much discussion on the pros and cons of one or the other). You MIGHT be able to sneak a Low A for $1500 used or even new, but it's seriously gonna be a bad asian-produced one...so don't do that, it's really a waste of money.

$1000-1500 can get you a nice, classic low Bb: Martin, King, Conn, Buescher, Holton, Kohlert, Keilwerth, or a French or Italian one, too.

Any of the above...skip the 'student-intermediate-professional' thang altogether. That's the advantage of buying a vintage/used horn...any ones so far mentioned in this thread are in the very, very least solid intermediate instruments (although I would personally argue all are professional-quality).

Hope this helps some....
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Pete, good point and you sound great on the clip! Which mpc are you playing on that clip? It's black, so I guess it's not a PPT?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the advice!

It looks like my best bet will be to find a used sax at around $2k, and maybe will stretch a bit if there's something fantastic that I can't resist. I have no opinion on whether or not it has low A, so that maybe will free up money to go towards the "pretty" factor.

When I'm looking for a sax, are there any important questions I should be asking? I've never bought a sax before, or any used instruments for that matter, so I'd like to make sure I have all my bases covered and don't run into a nasty surprise!
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Pete, good point and you sound great on the clip! Which mpc are you playing on that clip? It's black, so I guess it's not a PPT?
Thanks for the kind words.!

On the video clip, it's an Otto Oink slant sig no7, which was the original inspiraition for the PPT.

The only difference would be a PPT has a very slightly elongated baffle. Otherwise it's identical.
 

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This is going to sound VERY RUDE to a Newb, but.... Just because it's 'pretty' doesn't mean it's going to PLAY.
I'll tell you that some 'ugly' horns are usually that way for a reason. Not because they've been poorly taken care of, but because they are what many of us call a 'Players Horn'.

All of my saxophones are older than me. I'm a couple months shy of 50. All of them have laquer wear, dings, scratches... Lot's of little 'booboos'.
All of them play and sound BETTER than any of the newer, 'pretty' saxophones I've tried in the past 5 years or so.
My bari is a Buescher 400 that looks like it's been through a couple of wars and lost more than a few battes. 'Beuford' is UGLY, and the absolute BEST baritone sax I've ever had the pleasure of putting a mouthpiece on. The sound is HUGE.
I have no problems going from classical 'mellow' to peeling the paint off the walls.

So sweetie, when it comes to saxophones, "Beauty is in the eye, or ear, of the beholder".
In my case if I had the choice between new and shiney with no 'soul' to the sound, or old and battered with guts to spare...
I'll go with old, battered, and guts every time. :)
 

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I understand the desire for a pretty horn, especially if you're just starting out on it as your main instrument. I'd love to have a pretty horn that's also a good player, but there's no way I can justify the cost. So I'm here to agree with what bandmommy just said. I've got a Martin bari from the mid-50's that also looks like it's been through a few wars and did not escape unscathed. It's dull and dark, not shiny, with some serious dents in several places. It looks terrible. But man, does that horn rock. I tried a few others before I picked up the Martin and there simply was no comparison. I've jammed with another player on SOTW and he just loves the sound of those low notes. So do I.

I'm with bandmommy on this one. "I'll go with old, battered, and guts every time." But then, that also describes me. :)

As to your question about what questions to ask, I don't think there's a specific list. It really does depend on the horn and the player. I think the best way to learn about what bari to get is to try and play as many of them as you can get your hands on - from friends, music stores, try out horns for sale on craigslist or wherever. You need to have as much experience actually playing on a horn to know what you need to look for in a horn. I know it may be difficult to get access to a few different baris, and it doesn't answer your question, but it's the best advice I can think of right now.
 

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Thanks for the kind words.!

On the video clip, it's an Otto Oink slant sig no7, which was the original inspiraition for the PPT.

The only difference would be a PPT has a very slightly elongated baffle. Otherwise it's identical.
Thanks for the scoop, Pete! As for you Blurion, remember it's not WHAT YOU WANT that's important, it's what Bandmommy thinks you should do that matters:bluewink::tsk:[rolleyes]!
 

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For a Newbie buying a used sax, it's best to get help from someone who's knowledgeable or go to a reputable dealer with a repair tech. Ebay is fraught with danger for the Newbie. Pretty doesn't matter, as said above, unless ugly is the result of abuse. Remember repairs can turn your bargain into a money pit; so get some help.
As far as the low A is concerned, most newer horns have it, especially the Japanese imports, which are very good. Is it a necessity? If you play modern big band charts, you will encounter it a lot. Other than that, it's a nice to have, but not a neccessity
 

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Re: "Ugly" = "Player's Horn"

IMHO, looking for "ugly" in a saxophone makes about as much sense to me as it does when looking for a "driver's car" or "shooter's gun".
 

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Hahahaha, I definitely know that looks aren't everything! I'm just one of those young'uns, always concerned with looks. ;P I'm taking "good looks" as a much-wanted bonus... if it comes all prettied up, seems to be a good horn, and is still mostly within my budget, I'll take it! But I won't jump through hoops to get it! I definitely want it to be free of major defects though, since that just screams "abused sax" - the engravings, shiny silver plate, scratch and dent free, etc. are bonuses.

The band I play in is for a musical production. We do all our transcriptions in-house so I think the low A is definitely optional for me right now! Which is fantastic if low A baris are more expensive. :p Not looking for a super budget buy, but I do like to save money when I can.

I think Toronto is pretty good for looking at saxes but I'm just worried about if I buy a sax online. I also don't know what the vintage market is like over here, so online might be the best bet. I only knew how to buy my flute because I'd been playing for 5+ years continually! I haven't played a bari since high school which was 3 years ago, and I didn't have too much experience anyway. Are there any things I should be looking for in provided pictures? I'm going to assume that the sites Fremont linked are pretty trustworthy, but are there any questions you would ask of them as well?

I guess I mainly want to ask questions that will help me avoid lemons. I'm pretty sure once I get a horn in my hands to test, I'll be able to tell if it suits me or not - some of it HAS to be intuition and feel, right? :p If I find a sax in the Toronto area, I definitely will be bringing my sax-player friend to test it with me, but I can't ask him to play-test an online sax that's across the country...or in a different country!

Also, about how much should I budget for possible repairs? I know the ideal is that I'll get a perfectly playable sax that won't need to go in for a few years (when I've regained the money I spend!), but I feel like that's unlikely! I'd like to know how much contingency I should build into my budget to account for possible small repairs, etc. I'm really hoping I don't end up with a sax that needs a complete overhaul! :p
 

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Thanks for the scoop, Pete! As for you Blurion, remember it's not WHAT YOU WANT that's important, it's what Bandmommy thinks you should do that matters:bluewink::tsk:[rolleyes]!

My apologies.
I just didn't want blurion to discount the many ugly baris out there that are just as good as the pretty ones.
I know what it's like to have the new shiney instrument. I've had a couple. They are pretty...but they were clarinets!
 

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I recently bought an extremely pretty new baritone (a BW bronze), I disagree that you need to pay 5000+
Pete...did you skip your afternoon tea ? :coffee:

:bluewink: Fremont didn't say you have to pay $5000 to get a good new one...he simply wrote that new ones can cost around that amount.

2 different things....

I do agree with you that there's no need to spend anywhere near that amount for a good BigHorn, however...
 

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For a Newbie buying a used sax, it's best to get help from someone who's knowledgeable or go to a reputable dealer with a repair tech. Ebay is fraught with danger for the Newbie. Pretty doesn't matter, as said above, unless ugly is the result of abuse. Remember repairs can turn your bargain into a money pit; so get some help.
As far as the low A is concerned, most newer horns have it, especially the Japanese imports, which are very good. Is it a necessity? If you play modern big band charts, you will encounter it a lot. Other than that, it's a nice to have, but not a neccessity
I would agree here...you can take your chances on the S,A,T on eFlay and you probably won't get scathed too badly. But DO NOT buy a BigHorn there unless you are ready to put $800 into it once it arrives.

Regarding looks...eh, let it go, mate. You have a limited budget and you want the best quality and performing horn that your money can buy. Screw shiny and pretty.....you want clean and regulated, no serious/significant dents, decent pads, smooth key action, big tone.

Buying online always has its pitfalls. But just communicate w/ a seller who has a return policy. Get that in writing, and use a payment method which has some protections....
 

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The Just Saxes Crescent Baritone costs $1995 is Gold-Plated, has a Low A, & is set-up my master technician Palo Tung. Palo designed these saxophones from the bottom up, finding a reliable & excellent factory in PROC who was willing to work with him to make the best final product possible. He took great care in every aspect of design, down to point screw design.

These saxes have a 7 day return policy (full refund minus shipping, etc..) & a 1 year warranty.

You can read about the design of the Crescent on his site:

http://justsaxes.com/cgi/newSaxophones-crescent-introduction.php

(Pricing needs to be updated.)

I have special ordered one of these baritones in Bare Brass. I won't have it for about 2 months, but can't wait. I will report when I finally get it and let you know how it plays.

He has a few Pros playing on these Crescent Saxophones, so they are certainly worth a look.

To top it off, Palo is a pleasure to deal with.
 
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