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Saxophones Just bought a Grassi baritone :-)

jthole

Member
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226
Today I bought a low A Grassi baritone from around 1970. First impressions; clunky keywork (LH pinky table), good intonation (for someone used to vintage American saxes) and a powerful sound. I'm going to try it in our quartet tomorrow, but of course I played it here at home as well :)

If it doesn't work out for me, I can probably sell it again without a major loss (I don't feel like I overpaid :) ). I'll post a sound clip later!
 

Chris

Well Known
Subscriber
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3,821
Cograts on the new family member:thumb::thumb::D, there's nothing better than a new sax day:mrcool

Chris
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,483
well, I was the one who sold the baritone to Johan.......... I think he did well :) ;}

Grassi saxophones (and not only baritones) are definitely undervalued and better value for money than many other more popular brands out there.

When I spoke to Claudio Zolla years ago about another Grassi (low Bb while this was a Low A) he told me that the Rampone baritone and the Grassi baritone started life with a similar design ( of course the Rampone evolved and developed different and more modern mechanics ) when it came to the body tube and neck.

It is a " long neck" baritone and it has a different sound from the plethora of Selmer clones out there. I am sure that Johan is going to like it. He sounded very good on it yesterday in my place and his playing was confident as if he had played the thing more often before.

Enjoy!:welldone
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
It is a " long neck" baritone and it has a different sound from the plethora of Selmer clones out there. I am sure that Johan is going to like it. He sounded very good on it yesterday in my place and his playing was confident as if he had played the thing more often before.

Enjoy!:welldone
Tell me you're not going to miss it.... And I won't believe you!
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,483
well, I must say that I don't play much baritone and I have a sopranino coming to balance this at the other end of the spectrum. I have enjoyed the Grassi as long as I had it but I often buy saxophones to keep for a while and then pass on to finance my hobby. Which is the reason why I have had the fortune to have many more horns in my possession than most people.

If you ever look for something........let me know, there is always the chance that I have it or that I can find it!;}
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,483
well, as they say, there is no way to look in somebody else's pocket but I too had the impression that one could buy this or something like this by just cracking the piggy bank open and there is no need to have a serious talk with your bank manager! :D
 

baritonesax

Member
Messages
256
A Grassi Professional 2000 low Bb bari was my first Bari - played it for 16 years and liked it a lot. Very free- blowing, and even rather raucous. Much prefer my MkVI though - a more subtle instrument, but I'll always think well of Grassis.
 

jthole

Member
Messages
226
Ok, I played the Grassi in our jazz quartet tonight.

My own observations:

- The low A is great :D
- The sound blends well with the other saxes (Buescher, Martin)
- Intonation is very good
- The keywork really is something to get used to (especially the LH pinky table)

Observations of my fellow players:

- The low A is great :D
- Intonation is very good
- They (somewhat) miss the crisp Martin sound, and the punch it can deliver
- The low notes sound a bit sluggish (certainly a temporary issue)

The action of my Martin is faster, and it delivers more in the low notes, though I think the difference in sound is small (but noticable, according to the other players).

But being able to honk out that low A makes up for a lot! :D
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,483
When Johan came to my place to try the horn I was very impressed by his sound and intonation (it is always a gamble playing on a new and different saxophone as the one that you are used to and more so on baritone or soprano).
He had been before to try other saxophones that I had and I thought that all was much better this time ( this was his second time on the Grassi).

My experience is that low A are not as punchy as low Bb baritones and to find one that it retains the punch is not easy. When playing a Grassi baritone you are guaranteed to play a bari with a different sound than most around and this, in a world based on uniformity, in my view, is a great advantage.

The mechanical quirks are not limited to this brand alone, I think that virtually all European and American baritones (with the exception of the selmers from a certain generation on) share similar less than modern mechanics, yet, there is no shortage of players in the world who prefer playing an instrument NOT based on a Selmer baritone and that must mean that there must be a trade-off.

I think there is one with Grassi, Noblet-SML, Dolnet, Kohlert, Keilwerth, .........and many more
 

jthole

Member
Messages
226
You're a lucky man! Hope it does you well!
Yes, but the pictures don't show everything ;}

Someone drilled a hole in the lip of the bell :shocked:

It doesn't affect the sound at all, but I plan to have a brass disc soldered to the underside of the bell lip.

Apart from that, it has some scratches that you don't see on the pictures. But the sax is mechanically sound, and it looks like a great player.
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,483
Yes, before of me, the previous owner had had two (one was a Grassi Low Bb) both with a hole drilled in the lip to take a self made sound reflector. So, there is at least another out there with this " modification".

Ridiculous thought that might be it can be easily taken care of by a good tech. I would take a fancy coin of suitable size and have the receiving hole fashioned to take this and have it hard soldered.

As you know I suggested you to have this done together with some un-denting work, when repadding would be desirable or necessary, which is not the case at the moment.
 

jthole

Member
Messages
226
You are quite right Milandro, and I was far from suggesting that you drilled that hole ;}

There are two small dents in the crook indeed, but so far I haven't noticed disturbing effects on the intonation (they might influence A2 - C3, given their position). However, I plan to have the crook undented by a dutch tech (who also took care of my tenor), and I'll ask him to cover the hole as well.

Shouldn't be too expensive, so I'm probably not going to wait until a repad is due. That could easily be a few years from now.
 

Adrian63

Senior Member
Messages
1,335
Sounds great Johan. I almost bought a similar horn; but bought a " Beuscher true tone "Silver plated, it sounded unreal, I hope you enjoy this Grassi, man.They are very underrated. Regards. ade
 
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