I received my Phil Barone tenor about twelve weeks ago and Iíve put it through its paces long enough to write about it. Iíve done gigs in different size rooms with and without a mic and the sound really travels. In fact, people have told me how much better I sound and one person that heard me play who doesnít know anything about saxophones or sound told me I never sounded better. Itís an amazing horn, better than my Mark VI in every way. I bought it as a backup but now itís my primary so Iím considering selling the VI, pocketing a bunch of cash and buying a Classic model of Philís which he tells me is like a fantastic Mark VI but with a fatter upper register. So enough, hereís my review:
Sound-I just have to say that itís incredible. The low register is huge, in fact the whole register is, and I can get all of the harmonics out effortlessly. The high notes are fat and the middle D is much more clear and less stuffy than my VI. Iím using a metal Link mouthpiece on it which has been my only mouthpiece now for over ten years and this sax just enhances the sound of the mouthpiece. I actually have two mouthpieces, the Link and a D chamber Dukoff which I use on occasion and the horn sounds great with both of them.
Finish-I bought the antique bronze finish and itís beautiful to look at if thatís important to you. It isnít to me, but it does inspire me to play more since itís such a beautiful instrument. It also has turquoise abalone mother of pearls which are beautiful and make the sax unusual and stand out. The horn itself is of great quality and thereís no rough edges to the finish and everything is obviously well put together. Itís great quality stuff, as good as my Selmer, maybe better.
Ergonomics-Fantastic, the horn fits like a glove in my hand and the spatula keys are easy access and I can move around on them easily. The right and left hands also are very comfortable unlike a Conn I once had. The high D, Eb, E and F are just right in my palm and I can play more freely than my VI and donít struggle with playing them. The Mark VI just wasnít big enough in the left hand although my hands arenít very large at all. The position of the high notes is just right and Iím using it more now that itís so comfortable. The horn also has a metal thumb hook and metal thumb rest, the metal thumb hook is very comfortable.
Accessories-The sax came with a beautiful and rugged flight case which is very compact and easy to carry. It also came with a strap to carry it, a neck strap, polishing cloth and one of Philís mouthpieces of which I had a choice of two, either the Vintage or the SoundMaster. I chose the Vintage which normally sells for $250. Itís a great mouthpiece but Iíve been playing my Link for so long that I donít think Iíll ever switch and I donít like hard rubber and I never switch mouthpieces nor do I have any interest in switching. Been down that road.
Service-Right on par with the sax. Phil promptly answered my emails and when I was ready to buy I called him at which time I asked him more questions. He was very polite and direct which I like, and I was a pain in the neck. Phil is obviously from New York. Philís website is elegant and easy to use and he takes major credit cards. By the way, I received my horn in three days from the time I ordered it.
Value-Nobody does it better. These horns are very similar to the P.Mauriat. However, I looked at Mauriatís and they were more than a thousand dollars more and didnít come with a nice case or mouthpiece and Philís horn plays just as good if not better. I have to admit that I was suspicious when I looked at them and I was afraid that they were Chinese but theyíre not, theyíre from Taiwan and I understand that thereís a big difference. Phil apparently just sells to the public, no stores. I guess thatís how he keeps his prices down.
Thatís about it, the horn is an easy 10 out of 10. If youíre looking for a sax check him out on the net. Iím very happy with my purchase. Next, Iím getting one of his Vintage altoís.