I had long wanted a low A baritone saxophone. So when I heard B&S was ceasing saxophone production, I decided that I would check out to see if a Medusa baritone was the right option for me. This would fill the open low A bari slot in my horn stable, plus allow me to get one of the Medusa horns that so many sax players spoke so highly about.
So in the late fall of 2004, I found myself at Long & McQuade trying out a couple of different B&S Medusa 3256 GL model baris. Because I was playing in R&B, blues, and rock bands at the time, I opted to get the one that had the most overtones present, and could produce the raunchiest sound when pushed. (Read: the tuner could often not tell what note I was playing due to all the overtones, and would jump all over the place.)
Of course I had no idea that almost two years to the day I would develop a neurological condition that would sideline me from performing for nearly a year, and prevent me from ever playing with those types of bands on a full-time basis again.
Although I have recovered a great deal since 2006, I am still nowhere near the player I was before I became ill, nor do I have the stamina to do those high-energy shows like I used to. My lovely, and still new-looking Medusa bari was now no longer suited to my low A bari needs.
Now I play bari in a big band, as well as pit orchestras. My poor Medusa had been sitting in its case basically unused for over 12 years.
In the spring of 2018, I did take the bari out of one final hurrah with me, when it got to play in the pit for The Music Man. But later that summer it got side-lined once again for The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
In September of 2018 my beloved Medusa baritone sax got a new home with a returning player who had never owned a bari in his life. Just an interesting aside: By now we should all know that we are the source of our tone, and that the sax is just an amplifier if you will. Well never has this been more apparent to me than when the Medusa’s new owner came to try the bari for the first time.
When John (not his real name) tried the horn using the same MP, reed, and lig that I had used, his tone was completely different. Sure, the Medusa still had some overtones present, but the tuner found the core tone very easily, and was no longer jumping around like a Mexican jumping bean trying to find the note like it had been when I played it.
I’ve spoken to John a few times since I sold him the sax, and he simply loves it. I couldn’t be happier.
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