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Hollywood Winds S80-L Baritone Sax

Last modified 09/12/08

 

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I really wanted to give this horn a go because my friend††††††††††††††††††† had a lot of input into the design of this saxophone.† I have heard that the original designer of the Yamaha YBS-62 (thatís been my Bari of choice for over 20 years) also contributed to the design.† In addition to all that, Bari sax was where it all started for me so itís just plain sentimental.

 Construction, look & feel

The horn is modestly engraved, with a gold tone lacquer finish ó good looking, but not very ornate (of course all that bling or lack thereof has NOTHING to do with the sound of the horn).† Action is very good ó a lot of attention has been given to improving the feel of the horn as is evidenced by the layout of the ďlineĒ keys (B,A,G,F,E,D).† They arenít in a line at all (see the photo below) .† This is probably great for a lot of players but I didnít like the feel

of it.† Just not great for my big hands and long fingers.† The neck & body fit together very well, but the plug provided for the body side of the neck joint is the cheap plastic that is being used a lot these days.† Pads are all good quality, with nice nickel resonators up through the palm keys.† The sax has two braces for body to bell (pictured at left) ó a good feature and nod to the fact that Baris get banged around a lot more than the other common saxes.† Hollywood Winds puts the sax in a sturdy plastic and metal case (with wheels) that almost equals the quality and durability of a flight case.† Again a nod to the extra protection that a Bari sax needs.† The low A thumb mechanism actuates from the left side of the horn instead of the right, which has been the standard set by the YBS-62 20+ years ago.† It seems awkward to me ó that may be because Iím used to the right side.

 Sound

This sax gets a nice fat Bari sound.† Not as big as my Yamaha or the Cannonball Stone Series Bari, but respectable.† Hereís a soundbyte of me playing this horn (my setup is a Berg Larsen 120/0 with a Rico Royal 3.5 reed)

Listen to the Hollywood Winds S80-L Bari

Hereís the same lick played on my Yamaha YS-62 Bari (same mouthpiece & reed setup)

Listen to SaxophoneManís Yamaha YS-62 Bari

Itís easy to hear the slightly brassier sound the Yamaha produces.

 Intonation

Intonation is not perfect (it isnít perfect on any saxophone), but it is every bit as good as my Yamaha.† Some of the altissimo fingerings that Iím used to on my Bari donít work on this horn, but there are alternate fingerings that work fine.

 Price

At $3,995 the S80-L is priced considerably lower than a Yamaha YBS-62 but more (of course) than a Jupiter or other horn targeted to the student market.† Itís in the mid range of Bari sax prices, and itís worth what you pay for.

Overall this is a good sax.† Personally I canít get used to the layout of the keys on the line, the low A thumb mechanism, or the palm keys (theyíre built down further than the Yamaha, again probably sized for a typical hand).† I wouldnít play one, but Iím certain that it would be a good choice for many players, particularly because of the finger friendly ergonomic design.

Text Box: SaxophoneManís ratings:
(5 is best, 1 is worst)
Overall is not an average
Text Box: Sound
Touch/Feel
Action
Price
Intonation

Overall
Text Box:  3.5
 3.5
 3.8
 3.7
 4
 
 3.7

Hollywood Winds S80-L Baritone Sax

The Hollywood Winds Baritone has two braces for body to bellómost Baris have one

Good Quality nickel resonators on all the pads

Ergonomic design on the key layout

Leo Potts