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Saxophones Martin Indiana Saxophones - History and Models

Martin Indiana Saxophones Part 1 - The Indiana Band Instrument Company

I have been trying to learn more about Martin Indiana saxophones recently. The Indiana was the brand name for Martin’s second-line instruments.

I thought I would write down what I have found out. None of this information is new or original - I’m just trying to put it all in one place. And of course there may be mistakes in what I am writing.

My main sources have been “The Martin Story”, SaxPics, saxophone.org and SOTW.
The Martin Story website is an excellent resource for people who want to learn about Martin saxophones:
The Martin Story - All there is to know about Martin saxophones


The Indiana Band Instrument Company
The Indiana Band Instrument Company was created in 1928 by the Martin management as a brand for their second-line instruments. IBICo never had a separate existence from Martin and IBICo never had a separate factory. Indiana saxes were made in the main Martin factory in Elkhart. (See below for sources.)

There is an informative article on the history of Indiana saxophones in the Bassic Sax blog:
The Indiana Band Instrument Co. | The Bassic Sax Blog
This article quotes Greg Holtz, the grandson of the Martin Manager Fred Holtz:

“In December 1928, in order to broaden their customer base, Mr Bassett (majority owner and G.M.) and Grandad incorporated The Indiana Band Instrument Company. Like Conn had done several years earlier with their Pan American brand, and then Buescher, with their Elkhart Band Instrument division, it allowed Martin to produce and market a line of less costly instruments to those who could not afford the premium Martin offerings.

“These entities were wholly owned by their parent, but at least in the case of MBI, both Martin and Indiana lines were built on the same line by the same craftsmen. These were long before ‘student horns’ were ever conceived. Rather Martin brought older retired top-of-the-line models (with existing tooling) back to life. The Indiana horns were of excellent quality (the Indiana saxophone, for instance, was a dead ringer for the older Handcraft Standard premium horn).

“During war production buildup in 1942, Martin dropped the Indiana Band Instrument logo, and subsequently , labeled the horns as “INDIANA by Martin”. MBI did keep the serial numbers on a separate ledger.

“In 1961, Paul Richards, a businessman with little band instrument experience, purchased three companies (Martin, Blessing, Reynolds and their factories) to produce as many student horns as possible. With the success of ‘The Music Man’ on Broadway and the movie in the works, he had dreamed of a huge student horn boom. Sadly he was wrong and faced bankruptcy in less than two years.

“Wurlitzer, a longtime Martin client) picked up the pieces and operated the Elkhart plant for several years, until the Leblanc sale. The Indiana horns were produced throughout all those years.”


In another thread, another grandson, Chris Holtz, wrote:
“As many have noted the Indiana product line made use of older designs and tooling , perhaps also removing a feature or two.”
Source: Post #33 in the SOTW thread

https://www.saxontheweb.net/threads/a-bit-of-martin-family-history.175073/page-2

And thomsax writes on a Cafe Sax thread:
“This is my own conclusions/thoughts. They are based on articles, books, contact with guys who knows and have worked on Martin saxes and a former Martin worker (in the 50') that I had contact with in late 80's.

“Where were they made?
I don't think they were made in separate buildings . But two companies IBICO (Indiana Band Instruments Company) and Martin Band Instruments. In the 50's they were made in the same building but not at the same time. The staff was told to clear out the benches/workplaces and make ready for Indiana production. They used old tools for Indiana. The tempo was high and the quality control was less. The shouldn't spend so much time on each saxophone. So they did lots of Indianas during a short (some weeks or months?) time. And If you see the serial charts many Indiana were made in late 50's. But It was also during these years the big market for student saxes increased.”
Source: Post #14 in the Café Saxophone thread

https://cafesaxophone.com/threads/saxophone-evolution.29351/#post-435686
indiana.jpg
 

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Martin Indiana Saxophones Part 2 - Indiana Saxophone Generations

As far as I can tell, there have been the following generations of Indiana saxophones:
  • Phase 1: 1928-1938(?), branded as Indiana Band Instrument Company, probably using the Martin Handcraft body. Split bell keys.
  • Phase 2: 1938(?)-1942, branded as Indiana Band Instrument Company, probably based on the Martin Handcraft Standard. Same-side bell keys?
  • Phase 3: 1942-1961 branded as Martin. These are the most common Indiana’s.
  • Phase 4: 1961-1964, Martin Richards (RMC) Indiana (after the Richards takeover in 1961)
  • Phase 5: 1964-1971, instruments produced during the Wurlitzer ownership. The Martin Story does not say anything about these. “Phase 5” is my own made-up name for them.
Note that these generations are quite different from the “generations” described in SaxPics. The SaxPics “Phase 1” and “Phase 2” instruments seem to correspond roughly to the Indiana Deluxe and Standard models described below.


Phase 1
The Indiana’s before 1942 were branded Indiana Band Instrument Company. The first model had split bell keys, and the bodies of the horns seem to have based on the Martin Handcraft. The Martin Story calls this the Indiana Phase 1.


Phase 2
The Martin Story reports a more modern pre-war model, also branded IBICo, which seems to have been based on the Handcraft Standard. (Martin Story Indiana Phase 2).

There is a question whether any Martin-branded Indianas appeared before 1942, but I haven’t seen any examples. The consensus seems to be that the change from IBICo branding to Martin branding happened in 1942. However, it seems to be the case that Martin sold some second-line horns using the Martin brand before 1942 - for example the Standard and the Home model. So I wonder if the Martin Standard and the IBICo Indiana were essentially the same instrument sold under two different names.
Edit: I no longer believe that the Standard was a second-line horn - it was a slightly cheaper version of the Imperial with brass keywork instead of nickel.

Martin did not manufacture many instruments during the second world-war.


Phase 3
Phase 3 Indiana saxes seem to be more common than the pre-war ones. They were branded as Martin, and typically have “The Martin Indiana” or “The Indiana by Martin” engraved on the bell.

Jorns Bergenson reports that the tooling was different from the pre-war Indianas. They had the same body dimensions as the Handcraft Imperial, Standard, Comm I and Comm II. They were presumably manufactured using the tooling for the pre-war professional models.
(source, Jorns Bergenson, SOTW, post #45, A Bit of Martin Family History)

As far as I know, the Phase 3 Indianas were only altos and tenors. I haven’t seen a soprano or a baritone model in the price lists and catalogs. (It may well be that the pre-war ones were only altos and tenors too. I don’t know.)

In a SOTW thread from 2006 Jorns Bergenson wrote:
“I've overhauled a gaggle of Martins in the last few months and took measurements of the body tube and toneholes for comparison sake. The short of it is that those mid-50's Indianas and most mid-1930s stencils have the exact same acoustics as the Handcraft line (HC Imperial, Searchlights Committee, Comm II). The toneholes on the Indianas are shaped differently on the outside than the Comm I and II, but the inner diameters are the same and the walls are about the same thickness.”
Source: Post #7 in the thread Martin Indiana Tenor

Later in the same thread (post #9) Jorns wrote:
“Right now, I've got around 16 Martin tenors and 18 Martin altos around here in various states of repair (several of each are actually Martin stencils, I've got Bueschers too, my brand choice for 25 years, but the retiring repair man that I bought these horns from long ago had a fetish for Martins). Over the years, I've played and repaired enough Martins to feel confident in saying that when it comes to the pre-1945 models and their stencils, "a Martin is a Martin is a Martin". There were lots of little keywork tweaks, changes in keyguards, a few changes in bells and slight changes in necks, but very few acoustic changes. The construction of Martins throughout the years is very consistent. The major acoustic change occurred with "The Martin" model with its redesigned neck.

“All of this has led me to believe that the setup (key heights, pads, resonators) and body integrity (tone hole leaks, body to bow leaks, dents, neck condition) have more to do with the differences between models that are reported than actual design or manufacturing variations.

“For instance, I've set up three Martin tenors with the same pads/resonators and adjusted them as close as possible. Even though they span 20 years of manufacture, they play very much the same. The first is a 1934 Vega stencil with the body of a HC Imperial and a split-key bell. The next is a Comm I. The last is a 1952 Reynolds Indiana stencil. There are slight differences in tone, but those differences follow the necks which are completely interchangable. I can't detect any real differences in tone, response or intonation when I use the same neck and mouthpiece on these tenors.”


What all this tells us is that Phase 3 Indiana instruments from the 1950’s are acoustically quite similar to the pre-war top-line Martin saxophones such as the Handcraft Imperial, Standard, Committee I and Committee II. Of course this does not mean that the keywork was the same, but my impression is that it is pretty good. It is also possible that the necks and bells are different, which would affect the sound.

There were two versions of the Phase 3 Indiana: The Indiana Standard and The Indiana Deluxe. The ones with the adjustable thumb-rests are the Deluxe models. Both of these models appear in Martin catalogues and price lists from 1948 to 1960. So, as the Martin Story states, these third generation instruments are not successive generations but concurrent model options:
  • Indiana Standard (Martin Story Phase 3a) - round octave key pad, non-adjustable right thumb rest, gold lacquer keywork
  • Indiana Deluxe (Martin Story Phase 3b) - heart-shaped octave pad, adjustable right thumb-rest, nickel keywork, “fork-type octave key” (whatever that means), fancier case.
In 1956, the Deluxe model cost $20 more than the standard.
(Source: Martin catalogues and price lists from 1948 to 1960 on saxophone.org: Saxophone Publications | Saxophone.org)

Question: Does anyone know what "fork-type octave key" means?


Phase 4
Martin became part of the Richards RMC ("Roundtable of Music Craftsmen") company in 1961.

There seem to have been two generations of Indiana during this period:
Phase 4a - Martin Indiana Instruments with an RMC shield on the bell.
Phase 4b - Richards-branded instruments
The Martin Story has pictures of both. (#85395 is an RMC Indiana and #89115 is a Richards Indiana)

The RMC Indiana looks like a Phase 3 instrument.

The Richards Indiana has a sheet-metal keyguard on the bell keys with a cut-out “R”, a sheet-metal low-C keyguard, nickel keywork and “Richards Martin Indiana” engraved on the bell. I don’t know whether the Richards Indiana’s are significantly different from the Phase 3 ones, but judging by the one picture I have seen on The Martin Story, it looks as if the keywork is different. Since Richards’ goal was to sell lots of entry-level saxophones, it seems likely that there would have been an attempt to cut Indiana production costs and increase production.

I think that the Richards Indiana only came in one form - there is not a separate Deluxe model. (Source: Martin Richards catalog from 1962 on saxophone.org: Saxophone Publications | Saxophone.org)

However, the Martin Medalist looks like an Indiana Deluxe. And all the pictures I have seen of Martin Medalists have the RMC shield. So I believe that “Medalist” was the name given to the Indiana Deluxe during the Richards period - i.e. that the Medalist is the Phase 4 Indiana Deluxe.
(To add to the confusion, we note that the earlier Reynolds Indiana Standard stencils were called the Reynolds Medalist.)

kasax63 wrote of his 1961 Medialist
“It looks similar to and shares some features, such as keywork with the Indiana's and the Imperials, but is not cookie cutter the same. I discovered that the upper octave (palm) tone holes are larger than the Indiana's and earlier saxes. I also play tested it along side a very nice The Martin (committee model) and it was a bit brighter and projected better with the same mpc set-up.”
(Source: SOTW, Post #3: Martin Medalist Tenor?? anyone ??)


Phase 5
I don’t know what sorts of Indiana’s were made after the Wurlitzer takeover. There may possibly be a Phase 5 model which is different from its predecessors, or they may have continued to make Phase 3 or Phase 4 models. Or maybe they just sold off existing stock. But the Indiana does not appear in a 1966 catalogue whereas the Imperial does. (Source: Martin saxophone catalogue from 1966 on saxophone.org: Saxophone Publications | Saxophone.org)
This makes me suspect that the Martin Imperial (which is different from the Handcraft Imperial) is the Phase 5 Indiana.

I do not know whether the Medalist continued during this period.
 
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nigeld

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Martin Indiana Saxophones Part 3 - Other Information

Serial Numbers
Indiana serial numbers are different from the Handcraft and Committee serial numbers. The Indiana serial numbers were mostly 5 digits long. This sometimes leads people to think that an Indiana was manufactured in the 1920’s rather than the 1950’s because they have looked at the wrong Martin serial number list. The Martin Story says that when the Indiana serial numbers reached 100,000 the company started using the same serial numbers for both lines, so 6-digit Indiana serial numbers are like the main Martin ones.

The two serial number lists are here:
The Martin Story - Serialnumberlist

As a very rough guide, an Indiana with a serial number between 30,000 and 75,000 will be a Phase 3 model.

Other Martin Models that are similar to the Indiana
The 1930’s Martin Handcraft Standard and the Indiana Band Instrument Company Indiana Phase 2 may have been similar to each other.

The Martin Imperial (which is not the same as the 1930’s Handcraft Imperial) is a different model from the Indiana, but is similar. George Jacobs has described them as “dumbed down Indianas”:
“But having refurbed around 60 Indianas and around a half-dozen Imperials...it is fair to say the late Imperials were pretty much the worst model Martin ever produced.

“I mean, they aren't BAD, IMHO. They still have a nice vintage tone, they are still robustly constructed, and when put into good regulation and proper serviced condition they are still very reliable. But the keywork design and response is significantly clunkier than a nice Indiana. So that, IMHO, is what sets apart the Indianas from the imperials.”

Source: SOTW, Martin Indiana Tenor
Post #46

I suspect that the Imperial may be the cheapened Phase 5 Indiana after the Wurlitzer takeover. My only evidence for this is a Martin catalogue from 1966, which contains the Imperial but not the Indiana.

Question: Has anyone seen an Imperial from before 1962 or an Indiana from after 1963 (serial number higher than 219xxx)?

The Martin Medalist is reported to be pretty much the same an a Phase 3 Indiana Deluxe. I haven’t seen a description of what the difference is between them. Oddly, the Medalist does not appear in any of the Martin catalogues or price lists I have seen from 1956 to 1966.

All the pictures I have seen of Medalists have had the RMC shield. So, as stated above, I suspect that “Medalist” may be the name given to the Indiana Deluxe during the Richards period - i.e. that the Medalist is the Phase 4 Indiana Deluxe.

Indiana Stencils
Here is where my knowledge becomes even more sketchy and unreliable.

The Olds company in the USA sold saxophones that were Martin stencils. The history of Olds stencils seems to be very confusing. Olds also sold Pierret and Buescher stencils, so an Olds sax is not necessarily a Martin.
Edit: The Olds Super may possibly have been designed by an ex-Martin employee and made in-house by Olds. But some of the Olds Ambassadors seems to be Indiana stencils.

Reynolds sold Martin stencils. The Reynolds Medalist seems to have been an Indiana stencil, but some Reynolds saxophones were Committee III stencils. This has caused confusion due to a reference on saxpics which some people have incorrectly interpreted as meaning that all Reynolds stencils were Comm III’s. I have seen a Reynolds Indiana-like stencil advertised on eBay as a Comm III stencil, with an asking price to match. The Reynolds Committee III stencils can be recognised by the distinctive Comm III bell brace.

I have seen a late model (serial number 85xxx) Reynolds Medalist with a non-adjustable right thumb rest and the “R” sheet metal keyguard. Strictly speaking this is not a stencil, since Reynolds and Martin were part of the same company by this time.

I think that the Wurlitzer Lyric is a Martin Indiana stencil. (Or at least some of them are.)

Lewin also sold Martin stencils.
 
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Wade Cornell

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Excellent! I now know why I like my mid 50s Indiana (deluxe) alto and thought it was just as good as my Com II alto (tone wise). They are the same except for some key work.

This is a wonderful reference for people like me who treasure their martin horns (I have six of them but soon to sell one of the altos).

Thanks!
 

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Wow! That was a lot of work and effort you put into that information gathering. Thank you for putting it all together in one place. I learned several things from the wright up. I did not realize Wurlitzer carried the company for several years.
 

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What all this tells us is that Phase 3 Indiana instruments from the 1950’s are acoustically quite similar to the pre-war top-line Martin saxophones such as the Handcraft Imperial, Committee I and Committee II.
I would say the Indiana (phase 3) is based on Martin Handcraft Imperial - Martin Handcraft Standard - Martin Handcraft Special. The Imperial and the early Standard had the Eb vent tonehole below low D tonehole. The later dropped the Eb vent. What do you think about the heights of the Indiana chimney compared to a Committee chimney?
 

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I would say the Indiana (phase 3) is based on Martin Handcraft Imperial - Martin Handcraft Standard - Martin Handcraft Special. The Imperial and the early Standard had the Eb vent tonehole below low D tonehole. The later dropped the Eb vent. What do you think about the heights of the Indiana chimney compared to a Committee chimney?
I don't understand the relationship between all the 1930's Martin models. You know much more about Martin saxophones than I do, but my interpretation of Jorns Bergensons posts is that the Handcraft Committee and the Comm II also have the same body as the Imperial except for the Eb vent.
 

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Very interesting work and it should be stored somewhere permanent.

I was intrigued by what you said about Olds saxophones and Martin stencils. I have a pair of Olds Super saxophones, alto and tenor, which are excellent instruments from the early 40s. They seem to have Martin-like features but there is a lot of confused "information" on line about whether or not they were designed and made by Martin.

An Olds Super tenor was played (mimed) by Judi Dench in The Last of the Blonde Bombshells.


Rhys
 

nigeld

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I was intrigued by what you said about Olds saxophones and Martin stencils. I have a pair of Olds Super saxophones, alto and tenor, which are excellent instruments from the early 40s. They seem to have Martin-like features but there is a lot of confused "information" on line about whether or not they were designed and made by Martin.
Yes, the Olds-Martin stencil-or-not question seems to be very obscure. I decided not to go there.

I have seen posts on the web saying each of the following:
  • Olds sold Martin stencils
  • Olds got the design from Martin to make their own copies
  • Olds bought the tooling from Martin to make their own copies

I have also seen conflicting reports about whether Olds ever made their own saxophones. They had a factory that made trumpets, trombones and other brass instruments, so they presumably had the capability to do so. But it's hard to imagine why Martin would sell its designs or its tooling to allow a competitor to start production.

Or maybe Olds bought parts from Martin and assembled them themselves. Who knows?
 

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Another variant on the story about a relationship between Olds and Martin is given here. It has to do with a specific employee from Martin moving to the LA area and being hired by Olds.

The Olds Super Sax history, from a former executive at F.E. Olds & Son:

The Kanstul family runs Kanstul Music, a producer of Brasswinds previously associated with Benge. Zig Kanstul keeps business hours, but other Kanstuls appear throughout the [history of Olds]. Mr. Kanstul started his career working for FE Olds in the early 50’s as a technician reaching the top of the company and overseeing it’s success and decline.

[…] According to Mr Kanstul, the Olds Super sax was made in small numbers until WWII interrupted civilian production, at the Los Angeles, CA F.E. Olds plant. The company hired a former Martin employee who had moved to the LA area(I failed to note his name during our discussion). As a result of this hire, Olds developed the Olds Super sax models intended for the professional market. This was part of the company’s evolving product line.

Mr Kanstul thought that less than 2,000 [horns] were produced, something beyond a prototype run, and enough to build interest in the new line. Full production wasn’t ever achieved and the tooling was put in storage. The [low] serial numbers reflect the pre-production nature of the Olds Super line. The instruments were not produced for the WWII effort or under government contract, but they were [available] at the beginning of the war.

The similarity to Martin instruments is explained by [having a] former Martin employee who did the design and tooling. Based on the timeframe, the Olds Super has common roots with he Martin Committee II line. In order to avoid patent problems, the tooling was Olds proprietary production hardware and much of the construction differs from Martin instruments. The keywork, tone hole shapes, [octave key] mechanism, and guards were unique to the Super Olds line.


Rhys
 

nigeld

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Another variant on the story about a relationship between Olds and Martin is given here. It has to do with a specific employee from Martin moving to the LA area and being hired by Olds.

That sounds like a credible explanation.
F.A. Reynolds also worked for Olds at some point.

So the next question is whether Olds sold Martin stencils as well as making the Super themselves.
A quick look at the web suggests that some Olds Ambassadors are Martin stencils, but other Ambassadors are Buescher stencils or Pierret stencils.

There has been a discussion about Olds Parisians and Parisian Ambassadors and Ambassadors here:

I'm sure it would be helpful if someone could do some more research into Olds saxes, but it isn't going to be me.
 
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thomsax

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I don't understand the relationship between all the 1930's Martin models. You know much more about Martin saxophones than I do, but my interpretation of Jorns Bergensons posts is that the Handcraft Committee and the Comm II also have the same body as the Imperial except for the Eb vent.
To make tonal changes on a sax can be done on the whole tube (neck, body bow, and bell) can be changed. Some sax gurus says the mouthpiece is a part of the tube/sax as well. One person in the committee was Steve Broadus (mouthpiece maker/designer). I know Martin had problems, before the Committee models, to make a good neck. Martin dropped the braces on thier necks on the Standard/Special models. Committee models never had braces. I also think the they used the same body on all Martin wwII saxes. . But why did they have two different types of chimnyes? And why did Martin keep the labour intensive softsoldered-on toneholes on a student/beginner sax? King lost money on every S 20 they made in the late 60's, 70's, and early 80's. Just my own reflections. "The Indiana by Martin" are fine saxes. I still think Indiana phase 3 was made with Handcraft Special toolings. And they used old inventory like heart shape thumbrests, adjustable thumbrests .... . Thank for your good posts.
 

thomsax

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Or maybe Olds bought parts from Martin and assembled them themselves. Who knows?
Or maybe made by X for Y. Here is a picture with soft soldered on toneholes à la Martin. Is it a Martin, Couturier, Olds, Keilwerth, Hohner ..... ? It's a Kohlert (Winnenden) from the late or early 50's.
kohlert.jpg
 

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nigeld

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A Indiana tenor c 1960, a 1933 Imperial tenor and a Magna (Committee) tenor c 1959/1960. Same player and I think same mouthpiece. All saxes with flat metal resotech reflectors/resonators. I can trace more relationship between the Indiana and Imperial??? The Magna attitude is diffent? BTW It's a 1959 Magna and not a 1929. And I have the serial number on my 1959 Magna tenor.
That is consistent with Jorns Bergenson’s opinion that the Indiana sounds like the pre-war Martin saxophones based on the Handcraft Imperial design, but that the Committee III had a different design. Though the recording setup seems rather different for the Magna.

The Imperial in the video is, of course, a Handcraft Imperial, not a post-war Imperial.

The Indiana in the video is a Richards Indiana (Phase 4b).
 
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thomsax

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I also think the Indiana saxes post-war sounds and feels like a pre-war Martins. But not a pre-war Martin Handcraft Committe. I think the Martin HC Imperial, became a watered down Martin HC Standard and later Martin HC Special. The Martin Indiana saxes are IMO based on these saxes. I can be wrong.

I have some Martin saxes. The Martin HC Imperial alto -34 and an Indiana -58 alto have pretty much the same voice and the same feeling when I play them. The Comm II alto -40 and The Martin Alto -57 I can trace a relationship but they are different. Not much, but The Comm II is very "focused and piercing". Some guys says they are louder compared to The Martin Alto. The Martin Alto has a more "spread and fatter" tone. There were made changes on the tube on both lines. The Martin Alto neck is longer compared to a Comm II alto and the bell and flair is also bigger. Maybe there were changes made on the body as well ???? So changes were made on all saxes , more or less, over the years, to meet the new demand of the music and musical industry.

Bob Ackerman's Indiana and Imperial videos are done with the same recording equipment. I guess on the same day as well. The Magna recording is differernt. I'm not poining out the tone or timbre. The Committee saxes keyworks are more distinct and quick compared to an Indiana or an Imperial. The shape of the toneholes/chimneys? The factory set-up on Committee saxes, the key heights are low.

All major saxophone manufactors had new saxes in the pipelines in the mid 30's. Selmer BA , Conn Artist, Martin Committee, King Zephyr. The music and music indystry changed, The big bands became louder/more volume to meet the big dance halls, radio broadcasting, juke boxes ..... The new era forced the sax manufactors to make new modern saxes. Louder/more volume!! Smaller bands, combos, also came in the late 30' like Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five and later Joe Liggins & his Honey Drippers, Jack McVea & his Door Openers ....... The saxplayers took a steep out in the front and some began to sing as well. They were the fore runners to the R&B honkers ..... .

I like all Martin saxes. If we want to say an Indiana and a Comm II is practically the same horns ... it ok with me. But when I play them they are differnt.

The The Martin Alto -57 neck is c 10 mm longer than a Comm II alto -40 neck. So changes were made.
comm necks.JPG
 

DavidUK

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When researching Olds (when I bought my Parisian) I came to the conclusion that Olds never made their own saxophones but wanted to jump on the bandwagon in the 50's so they could cater for these instruments alongside their core business.

Certainly the Olds Studio was made by Martin, but with Olds "flourishes" so may have been assembled by Olds. See my post here: Saxophones - Olds Parisian and Parisian Ambassador

The linked to thread also has other information on the relationship between Olds and Martin.
 

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I also think the Indiana saxes post-war sounds and feels like a pre-war Martins. But not a pre-war Martin Handcraft Committe. I think the Martin HC Imperial, became a watered down Martin HC Standard and later Martin HC Special. The Martin Indiana saxes are IMO based on these saxes. I can be wrong.

I have been trying to work out where the Martin Handcraft Standard fitted in among the other models during the 1930's. I found a Martin Catalogue and Price list from 1934 on saxophone.org which helps:

At that time (1934) all the Martin saxophones, trumpets and trombones except the soprano sax were sold as "Standard" and "Imperial" models. The Imperials were more expensive. But the difference was not huge - for example an Imperial alto sax cost $125, which was only $15 more than the Standard at $110. The Standard was available as alto, tenor and bari in all the finishes, right up to gold plate, which cost $235 for an alto.

The Martin Imperial Catalog suggests that the Standard is a professional instrument and that one difference was that the Imperial saxophones had Nickel-Silver keywork, whereas the Standards were brass. Interestingly, the picture of a Standard in that catalog does not have the Imperial Eb trill tonehole, so that was another difference. The Martin Story says that the Standards had an fixed right thumb rest, whereas it was adjustable on the Imperial , but the photos of the Imperial show a fixed thumb rest. Also, some Imperials have a heart-shaped octave thumb rest, but not all. The Imperial alto had a tuning adjustment mechanism for high C# that may perhaps not have been available on the Standard.

To summarise, the extra features in the Imperial at that time seem to have been:
  • nickel-silver keywork
  • Eb trill key mechanism, though some Standard saxophones had this too.
  • top C# tuning mechanism on the alto (?)
Question: Does anyone know whether the Standard had the top C# tuning mechanism?

Edit: The Martin Story calls Standard saxophones without the Eb tonehole the "Standard Special". The pictures in The Martin Story of Standard horns with the Eb are from 1935, 1936, 1937 and 1941. The pictures of horns without the Eb are 1937-38. The catalogue from 1934 also shows a Standard without the Eb.

This leads me to believe that the Standard and the Imperial models were basically the same (professional) instruments, but the Imperial had more features. This is a bit like the relationship between the Indiana Standard and the Indiana Deluxe in the 1950's, or between the Committee III and the Magna. So the Standard was not a second-line instrument, it was simply the cheaper of the two professional models.

The question then arises about how the design changed between the Imperial and the Handcraft Committee and the Comm II. Presumably the "Committee" recommended changes and presumably at least some of their recommendations were implemented.

The Committee saxes keyworks are more distinct and quick compared to an Indiana or an Imperial. The shape of the toneholes/chimneys? The factory set-up on Committee saxes, the key heights are low.

Jorns Bergenson suggests that the body dimensions didn't change, but your post suggests that the keywork did and the shape of the tonehole chimneys did and the neck did. What other changes were there from the Handcraft Imperial to the Committee I and the Committee II?

This means that your assertion that the Indiana is more like the Standard than the Committee II is a well-founded one in terms of the feel, but the sound may be similar if they are set up the same.

Did the Standard continue to be sold alongside the Handcraft Committee and the Comm II?
Looks like it did. But I haven't seen a catalogue from, for example, 1938.

It is interesting to speculate about why some Standard models included the Eb trill key mechanism with the tonehole below the D, given that this was one of the special features of the Imperial. My latest, totally unsubstantiated, theory is that they mostly didn't, but that at some time the people making the Standards used up the old Imperial bodies with the Eb toneholes. ;)
Edit: I no longer believe this - models with the Eb tonehole range from 1935 to 1941 and this range overlaps with models without the Eb tonehole.
 
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thomsax

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The Martin Story says that the Standards had an fixed right thumb rest, whereas it was adjustable on the Imperial , but the photos of the Imperial show a fixed thumb rest.
A picture of my Imperial 1934 w fixed thumbrest. And no heart shape lh thumbrest. Round mop on both thumbrest and octave key.
View attachment 17428

I have Imperial -34, Indiana -c 58, Comm II -40 and The Martin Alto -57. IMO big difference between Comm II and Imperial/Indiana. Even bigger when I compare to a The Martin.


View attachment 17429
 

thomsax

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I ran into problems when I tried to upload pictures. A picture of a Imperail picture and a nice Chief of All ad.
imp.JPG

chief.jpg
 
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