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I obviously want to play each one before buying. Anyone recommend somewhere around Ohio that I could realistically try each one?
Not even sax.co.uk, which carries all the Big Three brands and has a large showroom, has all three of those models physically in stock today. Kessler Music in Las Vegas, which also carries all three brands, doesn't have any of those models in stock right now. For all I know, those models might never be in stock there again; maybe they're so expensive that a customer has to commit to buying one before the store will order it. This is not the best economic moment for brick-and-mortar music shops to be carrying a lot of expensive inventory. A big music store in my area that caters to wind players doesn't stock any baritone saxophones at all.

Let me ask you a question, which was probably implied by our brief discussion in the thread about the YBS-82, but not stated point-blank: Why are you intent on purchasing the most expensive baritone sax available? There's nothing wrong with desiring a premium horn, but you are making it extremely difficult, perhaps impossible, to implement a "try before you buy" strategy with that kind of objective. On the other hand, if you went to Kessler's now (air fare to Vegas shouldn't really be an issue if a $12k saxophone is on the table), it appears that you could try a Yany BWO1, BWO2, or BWO10, and a Yamaha 480. Also the Solist, but that may be out of your price range in the opposite of the usual direction.
 

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I would definitely try to play the BWO1 and BWO10 before buying the BWO20. I personally haven’t liked the bronze models sonically. Also, I feel like the BWO1 (i.e. the post to body construction) is a little punchier.
 

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I guess my thought is to save up a bit and buy the horn I want to keep forever. I feel like if I buy a cheaper bari then I'll always have a eye for one of those pricier ones.
The problem isn't wanting the most expensive bari; it's expecting to be able to try all those candidates before buying one.

You are seeking to buy something that satisfies three generally conflicting criteria:
  • Rare
  • Comparison-shoppable
  • Nearby ("around Ohio")
My guess is you'll be able to satisfy two of those criteria AT MOST.
 

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I think all of those horns are good enough that if you try the ones that you can try and buy the one that you try that you can afford, you won't go wrong. Whether you spend the rest of your days worrying about whether another horn would be better is up to you. Any of those is good enough for a lifetime.

Or just buy a used YBS-52 and be happy with that for the rest of your life or until you get an itch for something else. My experience playing top-level instruments is that there's no "best" and there isn't even a clear "best for me."
 

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I guess my thought is to save up a bit and buy the horn I want to keep forever.
Problem is this is just one moment in time. Someday the YBS-92 will exist, and you'll get the itch to upgrade anyway. Doesn't matter if you start with an excellent used YBS-62 which is already top of the line or with a YBS-82.

If you can afford a $12k horn, more power to you. It keeps horn makers in business. But from a practical standpoint, there's really no reason to pay top dollar for a brand new pro horn which isn't going to be all that different from pro other horns, past and present.

Also, consider that quality used horns tend to hold their value very well. So you could start with a YBS-62, play it for a decade, then sell it for almost what you paid. So you essentially rented an excellent bari for a decade for free. A decade from now you'll probably be making more money than you do today and can afford a new horn. You'll also be much wiser a decade from now and realize that the horn doesn't really matter all that much compared to the player and the mouthpiece.
 

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From the above discussion, I have surmised that finding a Bari Sax is like finding a spouse. . .

You can play the field liooking for the perfect one and perhaps never find the ONE. Or you can find good one and take the plunge, But if it does not work out in ten years, you look for a new one. You can also look on the used market if you don’t mind some baggage coming with it.


Personally, I would offer the advice if you can afford one new one, you could possibly afford two or three on the used market. It would be 2x to 3x the fun. Just try to pick ones with different personalities so you do not get bored.

BTW, I have two Baris at the moment and it has been wonderful. Though the older one is jealous that the newly acquired one gets all the attention.
 

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From the above discussion, I have surmised that finding a Bari Sax is like finding a spouse. . .

You can play the field liooking for the perfect one and perhaps never find the ONE. Or you can find good one and take the plunge, But if it does not work out in ten years, you look for a new one. You can also look on the used market if you don't mind some baggage coming with it.

Personally, I would offer the advice if you can afford one new one, you could possibly afford two or three on the used market. It would be 2x to 3x the fun. Just try to pick ones with different personalities so you do not get bored.

BTW, I have two Baris at the moment and it has been wonderful. Though the older one is jealous that the newly acquired one gets all the attention.
That's hilarious . . . and true!
 

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I just don't see how these companies sell these horns. They are expensive but so are Ferrari's, McLaren's, etc, and of course the buyer always wants to drive one before buying. I'm not necessarily looking for one music store that has all three. I'm willing to drive a bit to test them out. I do know my local metro music stores did not have any of the three. They don't even have low-end pro horns of the three brands.
Music stores are generally small, poorly capitalized businesses compared to luxury car dealerships. Note that the biggest national chain of retail music stores, Guitar Center, went through bankruptcy proceedings at the end of 2020. Few instrument shops can easily afford to tie up $30k-50k in slow-selling baritone sax inventory. That's either your capital sitting there on the display floor, or you're paying hefty financing charges. Plus insurance, either way.

But regardless, why don't you just ask some music stores near you if they'll order one or more of these top-tier baritone saxophones for you to test without commitment? See what they say. If it's, "No way," you'll be no worse off.

If I managed a retail instrument dealer, I might be willing to order two different premium baritone saxes if the customer agreed in advance to buy one of them after test playing them. I also would require a cash deposit of $2k-5k before placing the orders, which would be applied to the purchase price of the chosen bari.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Music stores are generally small, poorly capitalized businesses compared to luxury car dealerships. Note that the biggest national chain of retail music stores, Guitar Center, went through bankruptcy proceedings at the end of 2020. Few instrument shops can easily afford to tie up $30k-50k in slow-selling baritone sax inventory. That's either your capital sitting there on the display floor, or you're paying hefty financing charges. Plus insurance, either way.

But regardless, why don't you just ask some music stores near you if they'll order one or more of these top-tier baritone saxophones for you to test without commitment? See what they say. If it's, "No way," you'll be no worse off.

If I managed a retail instrument dealer, I might be willing to order two different premium baritone saxes if the customer agreed in advance to buy one of them after test playing them. I also would require a cash deposit of $2k-5k before placing the orders, which would be applied to the purchase price of the chosen bari.
That's a great idea! I actually wouldn't mind doing something like that at all with a local music shop. I'd like to play the third one ultimately somehow somewhere. I'll have to go in and discuss this with my local store and see what they say. Seems like it would be a win win in my book. I'm still trying to figure out a good negotiating price. On Reverb a store in Indiana has the Selmer listed for $11.9 K. Since there are so few out there it's hard to find what the average price retail should be. I'm thinking around $11,000.00 even but I don't know the markup and such either.
 

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That's very true that there does not seem to be a "best" in instruments but really just the one that fits like a glove. I guess in that sense it is the best for you.
I'm not sure that there is ever going to be a moment where a horn just "fits like a glove," at least not to the extent that the glove fits better than other top-end instruments. Whenever I try high end gear, I am inevitably left with choice paralysis. I can tell that things are different and I have the ability to make most quality equipment work for me. But deciding what differences are better is hard. Usually the thing that feels most comfortable right away is the one that feels most similar to what you've got. If that's the case, is it actually better than what you've got?

Point is, if you want to buy a bari, I wouldn't agonize over trying every bari on the market in case something else might be perceived as "better" than what you end up buying. However, if you want to agonize over the decision for sport (and, trust me, I've been there), then this is absolutely the right strategy.

If that's the case, have you considering agonizing over vintage options, like a Low A Mark VI?
 

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If it were 15-20 years ago you could have made a relatively short road trip over to South Bend where Woodwind & Brasswind was located and had a pretty good chance of them having several pro-line baris in stock but no more. When I bought my Yani B992 from USA Horn over 15 years ago I played a Selmer SA80 II, Keilwerth SX90, YBS-62, and Yani B901 before choosing the B992 out of the group. At that time these horns ran in the $4k-$6k range now the cost is double. As LC suggests most shops don't have or want to tie up the money in inventory to have these horns sit in stock. It's also very difficult for them to sell them in the US as most of these horns can be purchased from dealers in Europe at much cheaper prices.

For me the Keilwerth sounded great but the keywork wasn't good for me. The Yamaha and Yanis had the best keywork I just preferred the Yani outside of the Low A mechanism where the Yamaha design I feel is superior. Overall the Yanis just responded better for me as well. The B901 was brighter and punchier as JoAnn said but I preferred the sound of the B992 so that's what I chose. Since then I've tried about 15-18 other baris including several vintage Selmers, many of the Taiwanese brands, and a few others like YBS-52 and Yani B9930. I haven't found anything I'd trade my B992 for though several of the horns where very good playing instruments.

It's unfortunate that you can't easily find a place in the US to try these horns side-by-side but that's the way it is. At this point your choice is between going on a quest that's going to likely require some epic road-tripping or just get something that works for you and get on with playing. There's nothing to stop you from trying other horns as they become available and if you find something that you like better make a change.
 

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That's a great idea! I actually wouldn't mind doing something like that at all with a local music shop. I'd like to play the third one ultimately somehow somewhere. I'll have to go in and discuss this with my local store and see what they say. Seems like it would be a win win in my book. I'm still trying to figure out a good negotiating price. On Reverb a store in Indiana has the Selmer listed for $11.9 K. Since there are so few out there it's hard to find what the average price retail should be. I'm thinking around $11,000.00 even but I don't know the markup and such either.
I have a price list from Conn Selmer from 2011. In it they designate which instruments are Made to Order versus Made to Stock At that time only the Seeies II Bari was made to stock. The Series iii and all Yanagisawa are made to Order. Things might have changed.

The made to order status of many of these horns is going to limit availability at the distribution level and retail channels. Only a speculative retailer or one who got stiffed with a horn is going to have one. A made to stock horn theoretically could be returned to the distributor for a restocking fee.

Unfortunately you may be in the situation where you only alternative is to assess available information and make an educated guess to which one is right.
 

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You want to come baritone shopping over here.
You’d be lucky if you could find two stores with a baritone in stock.
Last time I went looking I found one store and all they had was a Buffet 400 which I didn’t even pick up.
The used market is really our only feasible option if you want to try before you buy.
Which suits me, as my pockets aren’t deep enough for the Baritone I drool after.
That being the Keilwerth SX90R.
 

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I think the larger dealers - Kessler, Saxquest, etc. order baris for stock but the proliferation of Taiwanese brands has had an impact on what they are stocking especially when you consider both the cost and margins are likely much better on the Taiwanese brands. I can't say I've really been looking all that hard but it also appears based upon comments I've seen here that getting a new Selmer or Keilwerth is also likely to come with a very long lead-time. Of the original Big 4 it seems like baris from Yamaha and Yani are more readily available at least in the US.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I’m pretty sold on wanting the Selmer SA80 III. I’m checking with my local store to order one but if they’re unable any recommendations?
 

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I'm pretty sold on wanting the Selmer SA80 III. I'm checking with my local store to order one but if they're unable any recommendations?
So far the only requirement you've posted is the desire for black lacquer. Lot's of horns come in black lacquer now.
 

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So far the only requirement you've posted is the desire for black lacquer. Lot's of horns come in black lacquer now.
With U.S. retail prices (Kessler Music), a Series III baritone in black lacquer costs $2,240 more than a gold lacquer Series III bari. Even at the less outrageous sax.co.uk prices for Americans, the difference between black and gold on a Series III bari is a healthy $1,287.

I understand an attraction to black lacquer. I have three black lacquer saxes. But this? I'd say no thanks.
 
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