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Hi,

I've found an online shop which is offering both YBS-52 and PMB-301 at roughly the same price (which falls right on my budget). The problem is that there is no shop near where I live that keeps a stock of such baritone saxophones, so I cannot try them out before buying one.

I know that the Yamaha does not come with a high F# - which can be a bummer for certain altissimo notes and fast passages involving the high F#...
  1. How do they compare tone-wise?
  2. What about their ergonomics?
  3. How is the build-quality of the P.Mauriat?
  4. What would you choose? Which is the safest bet?
 

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Hi,

I've found an online shop which is offering both YBS-52 and PMB-301 at roughly the same price (which falls right on my budget). The problem is that there is no shop near where I live that keeps a stock of such baritone saxophones, so I cannot try them out before buying one.

I know that the Yamaha does not come with a high F# - which can be a bummer for certain altissimo notes and fast passages involving the high F#...
  1. How do they compare tone-wise?
  2. What about their ergonomics?
  3. How is the build-quality of the P.Mauriat?
  4. What would you choose? Which is the safest bet?
How do they compare tone-wise?

The Yamaha will likely play a bit brighter than the Mauriat but you should be able to manage what you want just with mouthpiece and/or reed choice. The Yamaha will likely have slightly better overall intonation.

What about their ergonomics?

The Yamaha will have a smaller feel to the keywork, just more compact. If you have small hands it will probably be better for you. Folks with larger mitts sometimes feel a bit cramped on Yamaha baris.

How is the build-quality of the P.Mauriat?

It should be fine but if I were buying a Mauriat I'd buy it from a good horn shop that is going to do a nice setup job on it for you before picking it up. Factory direct with no additional setup, the Yamaha is likely to be the better playing instrument IMO.

What would you choose? Which is the safest bet?

The safest bet is the Yamaha. It will likely hold it's value a bit better, has a bit better build quality, and a more recognized brand name. I'd choose "none-of-the-above" since I own a Yani B992 and prefer it to all the Yamahas and Mauriats I've tried over the last several years. However, if I had to choose, for the type of playing I do not having the high F# is not a big deal and I prefer the Low A mechanism, overall ergos, and intonation of the Yamaha over the Mauriat on bari.

Full disclosure; I own 2 Yamaha tenors, two Mauriats 1 alto & one tenor, and several other Taiwanese saxes so I'm not overly biased in either direction.
 

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Something also worth noting with the P Mauriat baritones is that the low A touch piece is hinged from the opposite side to what the Yamaha and most other modern baritones are.
It is hinged from the left, which you may find uncomfortable or awkward to work with if used to the standard configuration.
I played one a few times when I still owned my YBS61, for me there was no comparison, The 61 was tonally superior.
Although the palm keys were clearer (less nasally) on the Mauriat.
I’ve heard others sound amazing on their Mauriat baritones though, so perhaps it was just me.
 

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Seen from continental Europe, Yamaha, with zero hesitation. A real brand, a real company, a real history, a real presence among musicians, and the most advanced horns in the market in terms of playability.
I’m (still) a loyal Selmer fan, but a YBS-62 nearly took the place of my SA-II baritone, because it is such a breeze to play.
 
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