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I am a high school bari sax player in the jazz band. I am probably the only one there who actually listens to jazz all the time and wants to continue jazz beyond high school. I love the bari sax so much and really appreciate how it is supposed to be played. I listen to mulligan all the time and have started to develop his sound. I got a conn 12m to use for marching band since I needed a horn that I wouldn't bawl my eyes out about beating up but would also be good for jazz. This thing is supposed to be one of the best baris out there, but I don't like mine. It is not in particularly great condition and using it in high school is sort of hard for normal concert band since my mouthpiece doesn't like the ol conn. I have read old horns don't like modern mouthpieces. I am always sharp and in concert band it drives me nuts. In jazz band I could easily buy a vintage jazz piece and be fine, but the c star the school wants everyone to have wouldn't work on my horn. My horn is also one of the later conns 1967 exactly. It also has a pretty bad repair job done to the bow and a really ugly lacquer job. I assume it is a relacquer but it has some spots where it looks pretty screwed up like on the bow where they used a torch to get the dents out, or on the inside of the bell towards the end there is a spot peeled away. I also hate the octave key mechanism. I cant play above an a without it being fuzzy since the octave pad doesn't open all the way. It has to do with the fact that if I move the neck to my head when sitting down the octave hammer doesn't hit the receiver. Overall I respect and usually prefer vintage stuff but in this case even though I think conns are great I think it might be time for me to look at a more modern horn with better keywork etc. I think overall it would benefit me more. What are good modern horns to look at for jazz. I have looked at cannonballs which are pretty appealing to me but I also have considered a p mauriat 302 since it is a low Bb which is supposed to be better for jazz. I like the idea but is it any good? I also looked at a kielwerth sx90 having heard it is similar to the conn chu. I also looked at a Chinese taishan bari sax which had great reviews on SOTW and has some really cool lacquer options as well as double arms on the low c key. Overall I think a low a bari would benefit me having lots of low a's in my music but I don't want the drawbacks that lots of people have been talking about with low a horns and their less "fat" sound. What should I do? Thanks!
 

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Dood

Welcome to SOTW. You might want to make separate paragraphs every so often if you expect folks to read all that.

Just sayin.

Anyway, i like the 12m lots. Rico Metalite works super well.
For me with all of bad habits and such.

Only ultramodern one i have played is the Solist.
Click on the Kessler ad at the top of the page to see one.

It is a low A, plays all light n easy. And the octave mech is all normal.


But it aint no 12m ...

Dat
Sax
Man
 

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I am a high school bari sax player in the jazz band. I am probably the only one there who actually listens to jazz all the time and wants to continue jazz beyond high school. I love the bari sax so much and really appreciate how it is supposed to be played. I listen to mulligan all the time and have started to develop his sound. I got a conn 12m to use for marching band since I needed a horn that I wouldn't bawl my eyes out about beating up but would also be good for jazz. This thing is supposed to be one of the best baris out there, but I don't like mine. It is not in particularly great condition and using it in high school is sort of hard for normal concert band since my mouthpiece doesn't like the ol conn. I have read old horns don't like modern mouthpieces. I am always sharp and in concert band it drives me nuts. In jazz band I could easily buy a vintage jazz piece and be fine, but the c star the school wants everyone to have wouldn't work on my horn. My horn is also one of the later conns 1967 exactly. It also has a pretty bad repair job done to the bow and a really ugly lacquer job. I assume it is a relacquer but it has some spots where it looks pretty screwed up like on the bow where they used a torch to get the dents out, or on the inside of the bell towards the end there is a spot peeled away. I also hate the octave key mechanism. I cant play above an a without it being fuzzy since the octave pad doesn't open all the way. It has to do with the fact that if I move the neck to my head when sitting down the octave hammer doesn't hit the receiver. Overall I respect and usually prefer vintage stuff but in this case even though I think conns are great I think it might be time for me to look at a more modern horn with better keywork etc. I think overall it would benefit me more. What are good modern horns to look at for jazz. I have looked at cannonballs which are pretty appealing to me but I also have considered a p mauriat 302 since it is a low Bb which is supposed to be better for jazz. I like the idea but is it any good? I also looked at a kielwerth sx90 having heard it is similar to the conn chu. I also looked at a Chinese taishan bari sax which had great reviews on SOTW and has some really cool lacquer options as well as double arms on the low c key. Overall I think a low a bari would benefit me having lots of low a's in my music but I don't want the drawbacks that lots of people have been talking about with low a horns and their less "fat" sound. What should I do? Thanks!
Yes, Welcome.

OK, well, perhaps a rhetorical question...but...do you think its reasonable to judge the performance of a musical instrument when it is clearly in bad shape and needs some significant repairs ?

With a trumpet or other brass, maybe. With a woodwind....hell no.

So my first reply would be: rather than buying a new (or new to you) BigHorn...why don't you (or your family) just invest $700-800 in getting the 12M properly repaired ? It may well be the sharpness issue is alleviated once the horn is properly regulated and leak-free.

( BTW, a '67 is exactly the same beast as a '55, '49, '39. Except for RTH, nothing much changed in the design of the 12M all thru its run, besides the keys going from lacq to nickelplate)

Second comment: an SX90 being like a Chu ? I am not sure I wanna ask where you read this. JK's are awesome horns....but besides the fact that both makes have a nice, dark tone....they are in no way 'similar' to each other.

So...I say: fix the 12M. It will serve you well.

If you really have the 'gotta have a new horn" bug.....I would skip the Taishan. The jury is all over the place on 'em. Some say they love 'em, others say they are a huge disappointment.

if you insist on spending $1600 for a low Bb BigHorn, that could get you a used Keilwerth stencil (King Tempo, Bundy Special, etc) or even something like a Vito Kensosha or Noblet (both Beaugnier, France designs and quite fine horns; the late ones had modern style pinky tables like this one does: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Beautiful-V...D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557).

King Super 20's as well (don't laugh, they don't cost anywhere near an S20 Tenor).

Do ANY contemporary makers even MAKE a Low Bb anymore, besides Selmer France ? I guess Mauriat does (or did) but they are WAY overpriced whether new or used and quite honestly, both of my outside techs feel they are not all that wonderful; they tend to go out of regulation fairly regularly...

If you want a very good Low A, you can go for a modern JK, but a used Vito/Yanagisawa is a fine instrument as are the middle and upper line Jupiters (I kid you not).
 

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The best thing to do is just keep your eyes open for any horn you can play test and try as many horns as you can. This is rarely easy with baris since few shops stock more than one or two so road trips may be in order. It also depends a little on what you mean by "...and wants to continue jazz beyond high school". If you are considering going to music school and specializing on the bari I would say a Low A horn is going to be much more practical for the ensembles and requirements of a college setting. If you are just going to play for enjoyment maybe take some lessons, and play with jazz combos or community bands then a Low Bb horn will likely be fine.

For Low A horns I'd look at Yamaha 52 & 62's or Yanagisawa B901 or B901 stencils as you can often get a better deal on a used stencil than a Yani branded horn.

You are obviously familiar with vintage American baris and their advantages and disadvantages. I have a Taiwanese Low Bb bari and it's a very nice horn. For me it's a better choice than a vintage Bb bari for my particular needs but that isn't going to be the case for everyone.
 

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It was suggested that you have the Conn brought up to speed by doing some repairs. I second that suggestion. You'll like it a lot better if it isn't torture to play it. If you move to another horn you can always use it for marching.

If you are planning to seriously pursue playing Bari beyond High School, than a low A horn is going to be almost a necessity. Close to your budget I would suggest a used YBS52, a Yanigisawa stencil (Vito, Martin, Whitehall), or a Yanigisawa B6. I would stay away from Chinese horns at this point and I certainly wouldn't get too worked up over the lacquer color. I haven't been in school for along time, but I'm not so sure a metal flake red Bari would be all that well received in a University lab band or sax quartet setting.
 

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Super Action 80 Tenor, Yamaha Vito YAS-21 prototype, Kessler Soprano, Superba II Bari, Fender J-Bass
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JayePDX is correct. If you're on a budget, get the horn overhauled. If you're still blowing sharp, the issue is with the C* on the horn, or possibly with the player. Old Conn Baritones are a bit mouthpiece picky, so that may be the issue. It's still kind of pointless to troubleshoot if you know that there are mechanical issues with the horn. Start there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Do you think its worth repairing mine though? It is only a 67. Its nothing like a transitional is it? And i hate the lacquer on mine its an ugly color and it doesnt feel like a vintage horn. It honestly just looks like an old beat up horn rather than a rusty vintage horn if you know what i mean. I dont think there is anything i can do about that other than delacquering or a satin or something. I did however find a conn series 1 new wonder in really nice shape for 800$. That means i could trade the store for mine basically. Whats the difference bewteen a series 1 new wonder and mine. And would i be at a disadvantage if i didnt have a low a? Thanks. Also as a side note i found a nice pickle mouthpiece vintage of course for a great price by george bundy. (When they were good) Would this be a good mouthpiece to use with a 12m? I also found an unbranded vintage hard rubber pickle mouthpiece for even cheaper. And also a berg larsen hard rubber. What is your opinion on some of these mpcs?
 

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Do you think its worth repairing mine though? It is only a 67. Its nothing like a transitional is it?
Did you read that part of my reply above ? ;) Stop trashing a non-Lady 12M. Indeed, absence of the Lady does drop the market value of one of these (i.e. a '59 Lady 12M in nice shape fetches around $1700+, while a '67 in good shape perhaps fetches $1250-1500)....but as I said above:

The specs of a 12M did not CHANGE in any significant way all thru the model's run. Finish changes on keys, some keywork tweaking, and the eventual vanishing of the Lady is about all.
So, differences between a '67 and a '39 ? 6 degrees of separation, if that.

You bring up a Tranny, now...wondering why ? I would rather have a 12M than a Tranny or NW I, any day.

It does seem like he REALLY wants a new sax. Don't we all??
Yup...and sometimes once that bugger of a notion gets planted in our heads, we are goners. hearing advice to 'get your existing one fixed' just doesn't have the same shine to it ;). (Cantaloupe, we are just having some fun w/ you - do not take personally).

Double check your claim, BTW - I doubt greatly the store would take your 12M in a straight up trade for the NWI. Especially from how you describe your 12M. What you describe you have there, currently, is a late 12M which needs significant work. These go on eBay for $300-400, tops. The shop would perhaps give you $400 credit for it, I'd guess.

So your decision could come down to:

1) trade in the 12M, and spend an add'l $400 to get the NW.

Or

2) take the 12M in and have it properly serviced for $450-850.
The lower end probably gets it playing right (padwork, keywork, removal of leaks, regulating, perhaps a bath and some dent improvement where easily accessible), while leaving the issues which do not immediately effect blowability/speakability - alone.
The upper end gets it playing right plus corrects all the significant dents and dings, trues the body tube, levels all holes, generally putting the horn back to proper geometry (probably necessitates the removal of upper or lower bow to access body/bows/crooks for significant dent/ding removal).

I still say.... go w/ 2).

An old Pickle Barrel mpc. would probably be a better choice, intonationally. Will also give the horn a much richer sound. Only question becomes would it be acceptable to your Director ?
(FWIW ...Bundy branded mouthpieces are still quite respectable - they came out with the G. Bundy Signature line a while ago, which are throwbacks in design to the pre-'60's/'70's ones - and a mouthpiece I recommend wholeheartedly).

IF you REALLY, REALLY have crossed over to the Other (Gotta have me a New Horn !) Side-and we can't pull you back (we tried, boys, we tried :dazed:)- then if you are gonna get a new horn and you see music in college/study in your future...buy a Low A now.

But do not jump into a cheap, new one (i.e. $1500-1700 for a new Low A Baritone... gets you exactly what you paid for, if you get my drift). Get a good, reputable, used one (they are available in the $1700-2000 range for sure).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think i will consider getting mine serviced for sure now that you tell me that they are all the same. To be honest the only thing thatd keep me from doing so is the fact that it doesnt look like a vintage horn, but if it plays well it shouldnt matter. Do you think its a bad thing i dont have low a though? I might be at a disadvantage if i need a low a in something. And just for the record i did ask the guys at the shop how much theyd give me for it and they said 800. So the nw is an option but i think that since everyone is telling me to just fix mine ill do that. But just out of curiosity what is the difference between a 1922 conn new wonder series 1, a chu berry and a 12m like mine?
 

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In jazz band I could easily buy a vintage jazz piece and be fine, but the c star the school wants everyone to have wouldn't work on my horn.
I would just talk to your band director. If you can play and prove that you sound better on a different mouthpiece I don't see why he wouldn't let you use that.
 

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New Wonder I typically have the weird octave key setup where the key is on the body and the pip is on the neck, so it only works with the neck in one exact alignment. Many of them, I suspect, may only be keyed to high Eb.

Your 1967 12M also has the front high F which only got put on the 12M some time in the late 30s - a lot of people have played horns without it - but it's awful handy to have.

Don't worry about what the instrument looks like. It does not matter.

You probably need a larger chamber MP for concert band. I don't think a Selmer S80 C*, if that's what you're talking about, is probably a good match. Try a Selmer Soloist C* instead, or the omnipresent Yamaha 5C. Best solution to the band director trying to control MP selection is not to tell the director. These rules are made to keep kids from trying to bring the skinny metal "Ultra-Bright Super-Projection Grass Cutter MP (R)" to the concert band rehearsal. If you show up with a black hard rubber MP and play with a good mellow blending tone, who's going to know or care?

IF, later, you decide to invest in a high quality instrument for university study, I would first consult with your professor. Probably at university jazz programs you will need a low A. Keep in mind that university jazz programs may not reflect the kinds of music you will play as a working baritone sax player. (For example, big bands playing recent charts, like so much of jazz, exist in a world outside supply and demand. There is only supply.) That said, however, a modern low A horn will not hurt you if you learn how to put air through it properly. I say this even though I have been playing Conn 12M since 1984 and hope to keep playing it till I croak.
 
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