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Saxophones Bari advice needed!


I am thinking about getting a new bari as my Conn stencil (c.1925) is very old, a bit dodgy -tuning and keywork-wise and certainly not good enough for the project I am going to be involved in (see below)

So I am planning a trip to today as it is the last day of their sale. I really like the look of the Keilwerth SX90R Shadow Baritone to Low A shown here.

I wonder what people here think? It seems a great price (nearly 10 grand down to 5) but I wonder why the huge reduction? Is there something I should know about this sax? Is it the colour that puts people off? I think it looks great and as I'm not playing in a section have no worries about sticking out visually. What do people think of the other saxes on offer?

The reason for this upgrade is that I have been asked to play in my step-son's dubstep/drum-n-bass live band and I will also need to somehow mike the sax. Can anyone advise the best way of going about this. Is a floor mike that I point it into the simplest way? Or should I look at attached mikes or pickups? I know little of these things as I am an acoustic musician. We also talked about having radio mikes so I could walk around the stage.

Any advice you good people can give would be most welcome!
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Being a fan of vintage insruments, I can't tell you anything about the instrument, but I DO know a bit about mics. I cannot too strongly recommend you go for one of the clip-on microphones that have an adjustable "gooseneck" to locate the pickup at the center of the sound column. Wireless mikes do allow you to move around more, but can be a pain if there is a "hacker" nearby. That is, of course something that is totally unpredicatable.
I guess it's probably a bit late for this now but I'd be interested to hear how you got on. I went down there yesterday expecting to buy a Shadow baritone. I didn't, however, because I didn't like it as much as I thought I would do. I suspect I've been playing Yanag B900s for too long (20 years or so) and I've got used to the sound. The Shadow was a doddle to play, looked wonderful but there was something about the sound I didn't quite like. Not particularly the fault of the Shadow cos I tried a bunch of others (Mauriat, new Yanag, Rampone and Cazzani) and I didn't like those either - for the same reason. I think I wanted them to sound like my B900 but better in some sort of way - and they just didn't. Oh well, I saved myself £5000.

If I was filthy rich, though, I get one tomorrow.

I'm a fan of clip-on mics. I mostly use a SD Systems LDM94 which I have a transmitter pack for but I usually use it hardwired. An excellent mic. Fans of mics on stands usually say you have more control over the sound, but I prefer to trade that for the freedom to move around.
I tried it and didn't like it. My hands are a bit too small an I struggled to reach the lower right hand keys and the left hand octave key. Looked great though and I was tempted. However I tried a load of others including the Mauriat, "The Horn" and a Sakusa (sp?) and finally settled on a Yanag B901. It was so easy to play all throughout the range, the keys just sit under my fingers. I also liked the way I could get different types of sound, brassy and powerful and smooth and soft (bear in mind I've been playing less than a year) so I am a very very lucky and proud owner of a lovely new sax tonight. I am now going to line up and play both my old Conn and the new Yanag together and see how they compare....
Well done on the Yanagisawa - it must have been great fun trying out all those horns.

I've got a Conn from the 30s and I wouldn't describe the tuning as dodgy, but it is very sensitive to mouthpieces. I have played it with about 15 different pieces and the one that lets it play best in tune is a Vandoren that has been modified by Erik Greifenhagen (sp ?) to have a big chamber. He calls it a double chamber and it's intended for use with vinatge baritones, especially Conns and Martins. Lots of the mouthpieces give the Conn a great sound, but only this piece has that reasonable intonation to go with it.


PS I was also very impressed by a Gear4Music baritone that a friend bought new recently for £850. It came pretty close to my Selmer SA80II in terms of sound and ergonomics.
I am glad that you found a baritone you like, and that you have bought it for the right reasons. The instrument has to have the right feel so that it is easier to achieve control over it. No doubt someone else will try the Keilwerth, buy it and wonder why others passed it up. It'll be just right for that person. Anyway, let's hear from to time how you are getting on with it.
I was pleasantly surprised by how well the Conn stood up against the Yanag. My Conn is a stencil (a very basic model made mainly as a display item for music shop windows) and has some issues. I don't use a big mouthpiece but had an extra length added to the crook to bring it down to correct pitch. However the sax is not in tune with itself in the upper register and it has a fairly bizarre octave key arrangement which is not very responsive. Also the left hand rods are all arranged along the left side of the sax and rubs against my leg. So sometimes when you go for a low B or Bb the key does not depress properly and the note doesn't play. i can see no way around this problem as I cannot hold it straight and reach the right hand keys! Anyway, I am most pleased with the Yanag, and will check out the crook screw issue that Stephen mentioned. Thanks Stephen for letting me know about that.


John Talcott

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