The baritone saxophone is a beast!
It’s larger than many children and the biggest saxophone that many people have seen. (despite the rare existence of bass saxophones and contrabass saxophones)
I didn’t even try playing one for a while.
My first instrument was clarinet and I picked up tenor saxophone a few months into that (while continuing to play clarinet). Alto sax may have been a better choice for getting the power on the horn, but for some reason I chose tenor. Probably had to do with my favorite sax players seeming to favor tenor.
A few notable saxophonists have favored the bari sax including Gerry Mulligan and Ronnie Cuber.
It lays down the bottom of a sax quartet and you can get a mean sound out of it.
I also love the sound of a bari sax in Latin music.
A little while back Darrell asked, “Im about to play bari in my schools wind emsemble any tips?”
Xavier Johnson said, “lots of air”
Travis Breeon Cobb said, “drop your jaw for the low low notes”
Greg Beaty: Walk one hour every day and practice using your diaphram as you walk. You are going to need it to push the air through the bari.
His question made me curious about who plays the bari sax, if it’s their main horn, and thoughts on it. So I asked some Sax Station folks about it. Here are some thoughts on the baritone saxophone:
Alex Ring Gray: Played alto for three years, bari for one and now I’m starting my second year of tenor as my primary sax. Never have gotten a chance to play soprano.
Neal: @Alex, cool, soprano can be squirrely in terms of intonation, it also cuts through and it’s easy to get the high notes than doing altissimo, haha.
Alex Ring Gray: My friend plays soprano in our sax quartet every 2nd semester, I’ll probably try it out then. I’ve always noticed the intonation seems harder to control, though.
Duncan Brandt: tenor is deffinately my main sax. mainly because i actually own one and it has much more range in music pieces. however i play bari in my highschools jazz ensemble and lllooovvveee playing bari.
Lori Coleman: Playing bari for our community band, for both concert and jazz music. Love it. Took a while to make it behave, but now I’m glad I volunteered to do so. (Wish I was playing on a newer horn…)
Alex Tate: I can proudly say that I am most comfortable on Bari Sax, always have been, and always will be. I love it and my tone is my own on Bari. Dont let that fool you though, I play them all!
David Hayes: Bari is my main sax though I do double on all other saxes. Bari is great fun to play!
Joe Thrower II: I have in the past in high school, but i havent recently. i would like to buy one in the near furture…well actually i would like to own one of each saxophone
Neal: Sometimes I think I should play some more bari, but that would involve getting a bari too, haha. @David, nice. Seems like people fall in love with the bari after they try it sometimes
Thanks to Jim Glass for the photo at the top!
What are your thoughts on the baritone saxophone? Do you play it? Is it your main horn?