The major thing to know
about the straight baritone is that it is NOT a production
In 1931, the Buescher company custom-made a straight baritone
for vaudeville showman Benny Meroff. This horn was
featured in the Vitaphone short called It's
A Panic (copies of this short may still be available from email@example.com).
Major thanks to SAXTEK for sending me this pic of Mr. Giordano with his horn. Click on the pic for a MUCH larger image.
Other Straight Baritones
that there are a lot of them.
A couple years back, a gentleman contacted me saying that he had
just seen an Amati straight baritone in "red lacquer". I
knew that there must be an interesting story behind this because
Amati never offered a horn in "red lacquer" nor did they
offer a straight baritone, as far as I knew.
Anyhow, that gentleman put me in contact with the person that
custom-designed and built the Amati Straight Baritone, Peter
Nixon. Here are some comments from the e-mail he sent me:
Pete, This time a wild one for you!
Bari, sn 1283xxx. Built by Amati, around 1970, this was a poor
player (typical Amati) that sat unloved until somebody dared me
to hotrod it [click HERE for what an original Amati bari looks like]. It can be played sitting or standing, and actually
sounds quite reasonable. It has a bit of a "bark" to it.
Yes, I did it myself, a very dangerous thing as I have no previous
experience, very limited musical knowledge, but do have an
advanced sense of the ridiculous (I also have a turbocharged
I figured that sound travels best in a straight line, which is why I bought
[a] straight alto. (The sound is lovely, it just points the wrong way!)
I had been off work for several months with a back injury and could only sit, so this was the result of extreme boredom.
The "paint" is an automotive airbrushing cellulose lacquer in 2 coats, red over [gold], and is very hard and thin
-- it also hides my amateur sheet metal work.
I agonized about the position of the valves, and settled on copying the Keilwerth. In
hindsight that was a mistake; [Keilwerth] did it to utilize the standard bell. There is no aural
reason that I can find for offsetting the valves.
I would like to do another with all the valves lined up, it would look much less like a hybrid.
The hardest job was filling the engraving, which of course, was
upside down (the octave mech was a headbanger, too).
This horn is now in the collection of
Jay C. Easton -- who also has some sound clips of this
lovely horn on his website.