I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
- Bristol, UK
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:
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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 (?)
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.
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.