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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

Very recently I got a Martin "The Martin" bari sax :)

Now I saw an ad for a vintage Martin bari HR mouthpiece. Does anyone have positive or negative experiences with those mouthpieces? Are they the natural match for the Martin bari saxes?

Thanks in advance!

Btw, I understand that E2 - F2 tuning problems are typical for these Martins, so I don't have the expectation that another mouthpiece will simply solve that.
 

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jthole-

Congrats on getting a Martin bari, you won't be disappointed.

If you haven't done so already you should have a good tech REALLY go over the horn for leaks. Bari's are fragile creatures and can get knocked out of alignment easily. Additionally, the soldered tone holes can have leaks at the solder joints, so that needs to be checked.

As for mouthpieces, a search will show you that pretty much all of us on this site who play "The Martin" baris use something different. IIRC you mentioned in another thread that you tried the horn with a Meyer and I think that is a very good choice for a mouthpiece that is reasonably priced and has sufficient chamber volume to work really well with these horns. When you get to the point that you want something higher end, you have several choices including the Grieffenhagen V5 Double Chamber that I play (a heavily modified Vandoren), Lambersons (which I also found work well), RPC's, etc.

I've never tried a vintage Martin mouthpiece, so I really can't comment. In terms of the E2-F2 intonation issue, based on my experience you need a piece with a sufficiently large chamber volume that these notes don't start really far out, then you can easily make the necessary adjustments to bring the note in tune.
 

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I had a really nice "The Martin" bari from 1958 if I remember correctly. I pretty much sorted out the F2 and E2 tuning issue with crescents in the tone holes that I did myself.

The mouthpiece I settled on was the original Brilhart Level Aire and it had a superb sound for what I wanted.

Strangely the Level Aire didn't work too well on my Selmer SA80II that I now have.

All the best

Rhys
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Bob M said:
As for mouthpieces, a search will show you that pretty much all of us on this site who play "The Martin" baris use something different. IIRC you mentioned in another thread that you tried the horn with a Meyer and I think that is a very good choice for a mouthpiece that is reasonably priced and has sufficient chamber volume to work really well with these horns.
The Martin mouthpiece will cost me EUR 40,- (plus shipping) and I'm happy to try it for that price. The Meyer #7 mpc is OK, as far as I can see now. At least it works better than the Meyer #5 on my Martin alto (I'm not really happy with that combination).

The horn comes from a very reputable saxophone technician in the Netherlands (Harry Bakker), and it was completely checked and overhauled before I got it. I read about scotch tape as a quick solution for the E2 - F2 problem. If that works, I'll ask my tech to construct a more durable solution (glued in crescents).

This is the mouthpiece, btw:

http://www.brassandwoodwind.ca/Mouthpieces/MartinBari/
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, I tested the Martin mouthpiece for a couple of days, and I am a bit confused :)

The evenness of the sound through the registers seems to be extremely consistent with the Martin mouthpiece. The Meyer mouthpiece easily sounds boomy on certain notes, but on the Martin, the tembre is very constant from low to high.

However, intonation is way off on the Martin mouthpiece, especially from A2 to C3. That can be a matter of me being adjusted to the Meyer mpc, of course. Both using my ears, and on a tuner, the intonation of the Meyer seems to be very good and natural.

So ... I really like the sound of that old Martin mpc, but I need to sort out the intonation issues, before I can decide if it is going to be a keeper.
 

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Since you didn't mention which way the tuning runs in the upper register - I can only suppose you are running sharp?

I have found that in the Martin horns (Handcraft and "The" models) the palm keys and sometimes upper stack open a bit too far - causing you to have to lip the pitch down. A better alternative is to reduce the key height on these keys.

Although before you go making changes - check the bore and pigtail - I once had a bari behave this way only to find there was a stick of cork grease stuck up in the pigtail....
 

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I play a Martin copy baritone, and noticed that a bigger tip opening solved the E2-F2 tuning problem for me, and made the tone more even over the whole register. It just demands a better control of the embouchure in the higher register.

I don't know the difference in tip opening between the two pieces, but the intonation problems in the high register might very well be due to lack of experience with a bigger tip opening, given on your description.

Congratulations by the way, I've seen the add and it's a great sax.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Jolle said:
I don't know the difference in tip opening between the two pieces, but the intonation problems in the high register might very well be due to lack of experience with a bigger tip opening, given on your description.
The Martin mpc has the smaller tip opening. The Meyer, with the larger tip opening, doesn't have any intonation problems at all. I guess it's a matter of experimenting as well, since I really like the sound of the Martin mouthpiece.
 

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I have not seen or played one of those but since it is a later model, it would be a bit brighter than the old pickle bari pieces. The alto mouthpieces from that era are just OK. I wouldn't have paid that much for the bari piece.
 

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I bought one from the same seller. Mine is marked 3. It plays well in tune and seems to have an even tone through the range of the horn and maintains a good fairly dark sound pp to fff. I'm playing it on a 1955 Comm III. I'm planning to use it in a concert band setting as I don't think it would project well in a very loud setting. I'm still getting used to it. I think I paid about that for this piece.
 

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The Martin mouthpiece looks like, internally and externally, what I think is Zinner blank used for several mouthpieces, most notably, the George M. Bundy pieces, which I've played along with an identical piece marked King that came with a King Zephyr. These are nice pieces but generally the tips are small. The rubber seems good though and would probably handle a tip increase quite well. The sound on these is nice middle of the road with a good bottom end.
 

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Thanks for reviving this topic guys.

Yeah, I was wondering about overpaying. I'm really on a budget (unemployed) and playing a gifted Metalite 9M (huge profile/diameter) and have no frame of reference...I just took up the bari for the first time.

I needed something relatively cheap so I took a gamble.... I thought maybe the 2 was something other than tip opening?? doh!; by all accounts, this one ain't gonna work for me as Im playing in a soul funk band ...the opposite tool of what is needed for the job eh? I'll soon find out. Ive never played on anything other than middle of the road openings on alto/tenor/sop.

So, Spike, my thought was would this piece be a good candidate to open up? worth it?? it seems to have a step baffle but maybe that's an optical illusion. But good quality rubber is a good start. Who would be a good refinisher to possibly send this to?

or, does anyone have a good projecting piece in their drawer they want to sell cheap? I'd just have to repost this modest Martin piece to try to recoup the $.

HF
 

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It looked like a step baffle to me, too. I'd give it a serious try. I think bari isn't like tenor so much, where people are always getting their mouthpieces opened up - not sure that's true nor would I be able to account for why, but that's my impression. I bet with a suitable reed and some practice it will work surprisingly well.
 

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It looked like a step baffle to me, too. I'd give it a serious try. I think bari isn't like tenor so much, where people are always getting their mouthpieces opened up - not sure that's true nor would I be able to account for why, but that's my impression. I bet with a suitable reed and some practice it will work surprisingly well.
A 2 is pretty close. A reface will cost you around $75.00 - $110.00, depending on the re-facer. I've only used Eric G. at the Mouthpiece Guys and his work is excellent. Yes, I think it would make a good piece and I think about 90/1000 to 100/1000 would be a minimum for what you're looking for. As far as cheap, what's your budget? For example. I've got a Yanagisawa HR 6 that Eric repaired a small chip on the tip and opened to 110 that plays great , but I'd have to get about $150.00 for it. Would it be better than the Martin refaced for you? Who knows until you try it. You can contact Eric, tell him what you've got and ask his advice and what he can do for you. in fact that's probably the best way to go. Use your search for The Mouthpiece Guys to find their website. I understand Mojobari is also very good and he posts here frequently. And there are several others.
 

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...very familiar with Mpc Cafe. the House Blend is now my main piece Also I have a Espresso for sop that Im not wild about but it is nice. Maybe I 'll have them work on that too, to get it a bit more open, or Factor X as indicated!

So yep, that's probably the way to go. But I'd leave it to them to see if its 'worth it' in terms of outcome potential

I'm trying to stay under 100 on the bargain bit approach

Thanks for the advice too. What is 90/1000? ( is that an opening that translates in to .90 or .100- dumb question but well,...) Do you thinkthat would be the upper limit? wouldn't they also lengthen the facing?

all for the masters to decide eh?
 

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90 thousanths to 100 thousanths of an inch (5 to 6). The facing length would probably be medium and in proportion to the tip. You'd have to ask them how much he can open it from the 2.
Based on the fact that you said you like the Meyer 7 on Tenor, I suggest the same would be comfortable for you on Bari.
 

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Based on the fact that you said you like the Meyer 7 on Tenor, I suggest the same would be comfortable for you on Bari.
...didn't mention anything about Meyer but did mention House Blend which is a very nice piece by the mpc guys. Great subtle rollover baffle with just the right amount of bite in a 7 star I think. I've been wrestling with the 9 on Bari so anything would probably be workable for me!

I think the more you open a tip, the more you have to correspondingly increase the facing.. it gets tricking at some point, as I understand it. Yes the 2 may be a limiting factor.
 

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Martin mpc arrived as described. Very nice looking piece overall; near mint condition.

I put on a tenor reed - a Rico Jazz 3- and it plays very nicely. So much more solid than the Metalite 9M. But of course more well mannered and a pleasure to cruise around on but less punch and buzz etc. But surprisingly its not a dud either. Has quite a nice full sound and some cut to it too. Sort of like a good Link HR mainstream jazz vibe.

But, here is the most puzzling of all~~! I can't seem to get the damn thing to play high E or F without a fight. No problem with the Metalite, but this Martin stock piece its bizarre. Is that a function of the very close opening? Just nothing comes out or some faint tone of something? I can fight it and if I put the reed way up at or past the tip rail it seems to make it easier, but the rest of the range suffers. Do I need a 3.5 bari reed?

any insights?

Also, being new to bari, what's the limitation of using a tenor reed on a bari mpc.? Seems to work OK.
 

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I must say that I'm not surprised it plays better than the metalite.
These types of pieces need more air to show their real voice.
The difficult part is often getting more air through such a small tip.
I have a few vintage pieces similar to the Martin pieces and once opened up a little and given a good amount of air, they produce a great big fat tone with nice edge when pushed.
 
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