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The Bari

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
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1,871
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Costa Blanca Spain
The missus is away, hurrah! No, no she is welcome back next week, after all pants don't wash themselves and toilets never seem to clean themselves, even when they have gone nuclear. But I have had a fine afternoon playing the hop from work and have been at the drums and the guitar and of course the bari.

Its about the first real sesh I have had with it, in fact have had two good 30 minutes with it now today. It may not seem long maybe, but its a bit like starting all over. I don't think my set up is spot on, specially the reeds, but I can sort that with trial and error. I can play to low D reliably, it gets less and less reliable down from there. I am not going to ignore those notes though, it was a mistake on tenor, it would be here I am sure.

As I cant really form those low notes as I would in singing, (I cant sing that low), I am getting an overtone which is not pleasing. Its low alright, but when the real note does cut in it is so rich and low and strong you know all about it. I will persevere with embouchure and just the same long hours I put in on tenor to get the low notes as easily as any other note. I really don't mind, but I did not think it would be so hard to play. At first I put the death grip on it so my hands were aching badly, but having been through that years ago with the guitar I soon relaxed and that eased off. Then there is just wearing the thing. That takes some getting used to as well.

One plus is that though its so much bigger than the tenor, it doesn't seem proportionally hard to fill with air. Its really not bad. I am delighted with it, I thought it may have had a problem, the upper octave is weird compared to tenor, but its really quite cool when you get used to it. So very easy to slip into tuxedo dance band tone with it though, need to watch that. Will become the master of the cheesy vibrato else. I had thought that mic'd up the low octave would boom and the upper squeak, but I can feel it will be ok.

Its great fun to play a corny old blues pentatonic through the octaves though. Cant wait to show off with it in the band one day. Be about three months though I reckon.

Just thought I would mention it. Its a different feeling, the bari. Any tips of course, happily received.

Cheers
Mike
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Mike, sounds as if you have a leaky horn.

Very loose embouchure and working on the angle of the mouthpiece in your mouth may help. Also don't blow too hard. More air than tenor, but at lower pressure.
 

jeremyjuicewah

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Costa Blanca Spain
Had another hour with it last night. Yes the loose embouchure helps, but I am bothered by my mpc/reed set up. Obviously need to spend more money, see yard sale.

I don't know if its set up right. I had a video from the seller and it was certainly fine before it was sent. I am going to try to take it up to John Coppen in Tarragona this Friday. I don't want to part with it but I do need to know that its all sound before anything else. Could have got put out in transit to me. Need a bit of panel beating too.

But, its getting better.

Cheers all
Mike
 

Reed Warbler

Senior Member
Messages
617
Locality
Marciac, France
I just got a jazzlab sax holder for my tenor. It's a fine invention and has completely done away with thumb pain I used to experience after long sessions. No weight around neck either. I think it would be ideal for bari.
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
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The Malverns, Worcs
Are you using your diaphragm?
It's very easy to play sop, alto and tenor without using your diaphragm, just using your lungs, but the low notes on Bari need to from the diaphragm.
I find I have to "pre-tense" my diaphragm, then bounce it to get those low notes to sound crisp and clear on the Bari.
Imagine that someone is about to punch you in the belly. That "quick and tight" reaction is what you need. Also, as said already, loosen your embouchure and think of your mouth shape to sing really low (trust me, I cannot sing that low either!)

I use a FreeNeck 4.0 harness for my Bari and tenor. Brilliant design. I could carry the sax for hours - we have 4 hour rehearsals in our sax choir. No thumb joint pain (which I get on sop and clarinet). In fact no pain at all. The weight is borne on your hips.
 

ellinas

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1,111
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Athens, Greece
An experienced player can make a leaky horn sound good. It might sound crazy but its true that many fine players can play fine with a slighty leaky instrument. The embouchoure and fingering are driven subconciously by their brain into playing in such a way that they can bypass such problems. I'd suggest to make sure the sax is properly set up. A heavy beast like a bari can easily loose adjustment during transportation. If the sax is in good shape, this visit to the repairer will be cheap and your mind will stop thinking that its something wrong with the horn.


And please do loooooooong tones to get accustomed to the instrument/size.
What i do to determinie my embouchoure in a new instrument is by starting low. Bb for example. If my low long tones are perfect and full this same embouchoure will be great up until high or altissimo. The opposite wont work and will lead into the need to change embouchoure between the ranges.

So repairer first, lots of patience next.

Also MandyH is right. Train your diafragm. A bari is not a toy ;) its a weapon!
 

jeremyjuicewah

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Costa Blanca Spain
Diaphragm concentration has been part of my practice and playing for a good while, since I decided to master the low notes on the tenor. Not that I don't forget sometimes, or slip, but I do consciously ( is that right? My head has packed up) work my diaphragm, silently voice my notes (if that make sense) and work hard on those low notes, which for me are so very important.

But, just goes to show how you forget your own wisdom, I applied a little extra pressure to the low keys and hey presto! The notes are there alright, and its not all me.

So, a six hundred km roundtrip tomorrow to the tech. I am taking four saxes up and bringing one back so its worth it and there will be no in transit damage.

I am using a neotech harness. Its basic but comfy, not ideal, but a happier device for me that the sock folder of previous posts. Mandy, I do not think I could do 4 hours standing with a kazoo, let alone a bari. I do not remember when I had four free hours to play. Three hours on a Tuesday afternoon with a tenor at practice really wears me down. You must have some muscles. Congrats. Post your diet and exercise regime. Mind, I am set in my ways now.

Pip pip
Mike
 

jeremyjuicewah

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Costa Blanca Spain
Ellinas, Kev, Mandy H. You were all right. I got the bari back from total overhaul yesterday and played it last night. The cost was eyewatering as I also had a great ding removed from the bell, not on the wire fortunately but close too. Every pad changed, some hand made for extra softness to compensate for one or two very slighty out tone holes. The edges are rolled so are not good to flatten. Apparently. I can play every note on it now with the greatest of ease. The low Bb is just another note, no effort needed, apart from the internal adjustment that you do for the low ones. It is so much easier than the tenor. I am really surprised by that. The strangulation up higher is different now too. It has a sound in the upper octave that is much more trad woodwind than what I have experienced with a sax before (tenor). You don't force these things I can see, you sort of gentle them along and higher up you cant really make a bari blare out like a rip saw cutting the air. At least, I cant, not yet. I am having more trouble at the very top end, palm key territory, not sounding the notes but making them sweet. I think I will look to some alternate fingering and concentrate on these notes a bit.

I am completely over the moon with this monster. The techy guy grinned when he handed it over and said "you are going to fall in love with this now", I can see that, yeah. It really was an expensive o/haul, but when I look at the list of what he has done, its not in the slightest unreasonable. Has to have been at least three complete working days in the life of a very skilled guy. I don't think the man who mends the music gets rich doing it.

Cheers all, see you on youtube
Mike
 

jeremyjuicewah

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Costa Blanca Spain
Axshully, since I had a tenor doctored at the same time, I don't think the bill was so very eye watering. It gets better and better.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Great to hear. Something special about baris. Subtones are sooooo lush. They do honk, but differently to tenor.
 

ellinas

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1,111
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Athens, Greece
Any saxophone that is not serviced by a top tech can feel or sound wrong.
Its amazing what a good tech can do for you.
And what it can add up to a price of a used saxophone in a so-so condition as well.
 

jeremyjuicewah

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Costa Blanca Spain
I agree hundred percent. I have always used a top notch guy. Buying a used horn bargain unseen is often like buying a used Jaguar. You can afford to buy it but you had better reckon on doubling that price to get it right. That calculation is spot on, its proved more than once.

Anyway, had another hour on it tonight, hoping to take it to band practice next week instead of the tenor, wondering if it will go down well. Better take both maybe, they may need time to be converted. I guess I could hit them with it till they become believers.
Have a great weekend all
Mike
 

ellinas

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Athens, Greece
Out of curiocity how much dId the overhaul cost? A bari overhaul like this in athens from a top tech is about 500 euros.
 

U CAN CALL ME AL

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Undy Monmouthshire U.K.
Baritone can be a bit marmite. I love listening to and playing it. There are those who don't like it and will tell you. I just smile and hit low A. It's not a proper band if it hasn't got a Bari lol

I agree with Colin even 'tho my 12M doesn't have a low A, its got a great bottom. The guy I bought it from worked cruise ships and had a complete repad done ( cheapo chinese pads ) in Hong kong for $60 US. I have had it now for four years and my tech' saw no reason to change things at its last check over a couple months ago, although I do wonder what it will cost when I eventually need a complete overhaul.
 

jeremyjuicewah

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Costa Blanca Spain
I took the bari and my Corton tenor to the tech. The two cost me 735-00 euros. I thought it was more but I forgot that I owed him a small amount on an alto he checked over. The Corton in my estimation is less than 200 of that. The bari did have a good work over. All pads, lots of springs, panel beating and some posts removed in order to get the siezed screws out and refixed. Some resoldering too around the neck. Some of the new pads he had to make for it. I got value for money.

It is absolutely perfect.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Sounds like a very fair price. For that amount of work, I could drive over, stay for a few days, and still pay less than I would here.
 

jeremyjuicewah

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Costa Blanca Spain
Yes, I have to agree. Trouble is when you shell it out you always feel kind of blue cos you have entertained the forlorn hope that perhaps this time it will only be 250. His name is John Coppen, late of London Town. You can check his pedigree on his website, and a lot of his work is by courier as his town is small and the world is biggish. He does pretty complex stuff, turns woodwind barrels on his lathe, makes beautiful things. I think even on top of the training you need the special ingredient to do that work so well. When I was an apprentice there were lads like me and there were one or two who had magic fingers. Their trade tests were things of beauty while mine just got me by. If only I had worked harder then, I might be more proud of myself now. But that is deep for my first Saturday morning off since August. I will play the bari instead and, maybe smack the drums around.
 

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