Weltklang vs Blue Label baritones: What are the differences?
As I mentioned on the previous B&S model page, the main differences between the Weltklang and the step-up model B&S include*:
- Tone hole placement: – the blue label horns have offset tone holes like modern saxophones do, rather than inline ones.
- Left pinkie cluster: the B&S had their G#, C#, B, and Bb keys coupled together.
*Not all features of B&S saxophones were found on baris. EG: high F# keys.
In addition to these differences that all B&S blue label saxes shared, the baritones differed greatly in one other area: bell construction.
Bell construction on the Weltklang baritone
I have not seen a Weltklang baritone that wasn’t keyed down to low A. I’m not aware that they made any low Bb baris. However, when they added the low A, they choose to use a method similar to the one that Conn employed with their 11M. Weltklang simply added a cylindrical tube between the horn’s bow and the bell to give it the length it needed to obtain the extra ½ step.
The cylindrical tube interrupts the saxophone’s intended conical bore…
… And if you compare it to that of the Conn 11M, it is even longer. Therefore the bell’s attached conical bore is even shorter.
Does this make a difference to the way a Weltklang plays vis-à-vis an 11M? I don’t know since I haven’t play tested them, but that would be an interesting comparison/contrast to do with two well playing, well-adjusted horns.
B&S blue label baritones
Unlike Weltklang’s cylindrical tube insertion, the blue label B&S baritones—which were built from 1981 onward—had their bells constructed in one piece. The B&S blue label bari’s bell was thus a continuation of the conical bore the saxophone was intended to have.
Weltklang vs Blue Label baritones: Which is better?
I certainly cannot answer that, since I haven’t played either. Even if I had, “better” is often subjective, and open to personal feelings and opinions. That said, I do own a 2004 Medusa bari. (Made by VMI, and a successor to these horns.) Is it “better” than my Mark VI? No. Is it better than my Committee III? No. It is however, a very different animal to both of them, and if I ever truly need a low A bari, it is the one that gets the gig.