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Thread: Baritone or Saxhorn Purchase

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2022
    Apple Valley, CA

    Baritone or Saxhorn Purchase

    Hi everyone!

    I am not familiar with the smaller baritones and Saxhorns and I would like to get one. I play in a local tuba ensemble and Id like a horn that can be a bit brighter and cut through the group- I typically play the lead parts. We mostly play polka and pop tunes and Id love a fun, smaller horn for those performances. I am considering the new Schagerl James Morrison Baritone and I am looking at many other horns at $2k or below.

    If you have any experience with a baritone horn or saxhorn, please share it with me. Thanks for your help everyone.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Valley City, North Dakota, USA
    My son has (what Thomann Music labels as) a tenor horn (oval). Three rotary valves. He seems quite fond of it.

    I may likely pick up a baritone horn of my own soon…still a bit on the fence.
    Valley City Community Band
    Valley City State University Concert Band
    Valley City State University Jazz Ensemble

    Larry Herzog Jr.

    All things EUPHONIUM! Guilded server

  3. #3
    For the sort of context you're talking about, plenty of players would just go with an American Euphonium. Use a mouthpiece more suitable for Trombone, like a 5G or 6.5AL to add some pep to the sound.

    I don't recommend a British Baritone Horn as a soloist instrument. Probably the only time I've heard that sound decent was a quartet where it was the second largest instrument in the group, and a Euphonium was covering the bass part. While it's good at what it does, and has a lot of advantages over similar instruments of the 9'Bb menagerie, it's not a very powerful instrument.

    Never played a modern version of what the French call a "Saxhorn", but my experience with an antique Bb Bass Saxhorn is that it is incredibly mouthpiece hateful and has a very limited comfort zone which is obviously biased to the low range. I imagine the new ones are drastically better if they're being used like Euphoniums, but uhh...there's cheaper options.

    Bb Tenorhorn is never a bad choice, unless you're trying to blend with British instruments. Not sure why they've all but gone extinct, besides people not knowing how to buy mouthpieces. Yeah, you need a Bb Tenorhorn mouthpiece for a Bb Tenorhorn. Other than that, it's an instrument designed to be a soloist tenor, so it's capable of a brighter, but still melodic tone without being wimpy. The sound is less rich than the American Euphonium, but not bad.

    Ovalform Baritones are pretty diverse, but there's a reason they've stuck around as a goto instrument in the 9'Bb category. Ovalform ergonomics are really good. The Ukraine made Soviet models have an easy false tone and are loud as heck, so the Chinese clones are probably similar. No doubt, some of those Cerveny models are amazing, but I'm not that rich (or loose with my money).

    The old timey Bb Baritone isn't very common. Actually, I don't think anyone reputable still makes one. Regardless, don't get one. They stopped being the solo tenor of choice over a century ago for good reason. Very mouthpiece hateful. Even with the perfect matching mouthpiece, the sound and playability is inferior to any Euphonium. You might look at something like an old Besson Stratford (or 2-20) Baritone and think that .580" bore, medium shank leadpipe, huge 12" bell, and tiny overall size would be awesome. I assure you that the best thing about it is how comfortable it is to hold.
    Hobbyist. Collector. Oval rotary guy. Unpaid shill for Josef Klier mouthpieces.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Agreed with the comment above. The only way you can 'cut through' an ensemble with a Bb British style baritone is in the high register playing FF, at which point you have to be careful not to break the sound up.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2022
    Apple Valley, CA
    I really appreciate your thorough response, @notagoodname. If I could, Id buy you your drink of choice!

    I think you have successfully convinced me otherwise. I do still own a B and H Imperial from 1960 but mostly let one of the other guys in the group play it. I also have a Brandon Jones Solo Mouthpiece I may just use instead for these performances. I paid so much for my custom Adams, I kind of didnt want to lug it to a bar for a performance. But honestly, Id rather never play any other horn!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by notaverygoodname View Post
    Probably the only time I've heard that sound decent was a quartet where it was the second largest instrument in the group, and a Euphonium was covering the bass part.
    Sean Kissane
    Low Brass Specialist, Paige's Music
    Principal Euphonium, Indianapolis Brass Choir
    Principal Euphonium, Crossroads Brass Band

    S.E. Shires EUSOLO
    Warburton Gail Robertson mpc

  7. #7
    I have an Eastman EBH-311 British style baritone and love it. Only issue I have with it is the lack of compensating system on the valve cluster. Also, @spkissane, loved your response with the Katrina Marzella video. She's one of a few fantastic baritone players.
    Last edited by Knightstar81; 07-05-2023 at 03:49 PM.
    My Arsenal:
    Eastman EBH-311S - Wick 6BS
    King 3BG - Wick 7CS
    King 3B+F - Bach 5G
    Conn 62H - Wick 2AL

    Winona Brass Band
    La Crosse Concert Band
    Westby City Band

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