To give you my background, I'm a professional saxophonist with 22 years experience. Whilst mostly playing tenor and soprano, I do also play baritone fairly often. My old baritone (which shall remain nameless for now) served me well, and was great to record with, but as I had a weekend festival come in, playing various soul music at a Northern Soul music weekender with the Diane Shaw band, I took the opportunity to try this bari. Having researched prior, I knew the Thomann Pro saxes were made in Taiwan, rather than China. Don't get me wrong, I play a chinese made alto, and love it - it holds its own against my Yamaha YAS-62...However, the Taiwanese horns have a slightly better build, IMO.
When the bari arrived, it was VERY WELL protected, box within a box. I assumed it might need setting up by a tech to get it working very well as a new horn, but I was mistaken. The factory set up (assuming that was where they did it) was more than good to go. If I was being fussy, I might say the action was a little high for me, but that's more preference than anything. I popped on my mouthpiece, and......
She just sang. She didn't want to stop singing.
I've always said that you know if you like an instrument within the first ten seconds of playing it. Well, with this, I cut that down to 5 seconds. The ergonomics, key layout is great. I've small hands for a guy, and didn't have an issue with the bottom Bb/A key table, defnitely no more than other baris I've played. It all just sat right. And the sound, well, it was what I wanted, and more. Fat and warm. Reaching the low notes C/B/Bb/A, which is requisite for Northern Soul arrangements, was no bother - if anything, it was more fun than usual. The horn section sounded wonderful and phat.
As for the finish? Well, I wanted something different, and it received more comments than I expected - all positive. People loved the vintage lacquer look. And so do I - having had enough of bare brass now to last me a life time.
To think that the certain Japanese baris cost double the money....Well, I find it hard to justify why that is so having played a Thomann Bari Pro.