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Saxophones Martin Indiana Saxophones - History and Models

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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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
 

thomsax

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@thomsax - Could you post a picture of the C# tuning mechanism on your Imperial?
I don't use the Imperial alto but the C# adjust "arm" is there. We didn't knew what it was when we worked on the sax. It was the first Martin I bought from Progressive Winds (Bob Ackerman). 25 years ago. I have the saxes I don't use behind drumkit , amplifiers, PA, keybooard ..... so you must wait untill I carry out the stuff to the "woodshed.
 

thomsax

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What is the difference?
I think the the Comm II and "The Martin" are "brighter", "more edge", can be played with more volume .... it's more contempoary when it comes to sound/tone. It's also easier to find mouthpices to Comm saxes. Imperial/Indiana have a more muffled, darker and not so easy to play with volume.

Resonators (oversized) gives Martin/Indiana saxes a fuller sound. But all Martin/Indiana are fine saxes. But I don't think you should pay too much for an Indiana.
 

thomsax

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I like to track down Martin Committee players in the Rock & Roll Saxophone field as well. There are still some guys playing these saxes. So when I see rockers using a Martin Committee I try to contact them. Just to say "Hi" and give some some nice comments. Also what mpc and reeds. If there is some music to buy ...... . This is a good way to learn about these horns. But I do this to rockers that are playing other brands as well. I found a videoclip of John Lennon playing "Slippin' and Slidin' (Little Richard/Penniman). The sax solo on the video was done by Sal Sax, NYC. This video is from -75 so I guess Sax is on another brand.
View: https://youtu.be/F-rKsDSUYKQ
 

Jccolby11

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Hey y’all, I’ve had a Martin for a while that has me intrigued and finally decided to post. The Martin is serial numbered 219,361, but it looks like a magna/committee 3.it has the RMC shield. I’m assuming when Wurlitzer bought Martin they just kept producing, but is this a committee iii, magna variant, or something completely different?

189133530_10225581595834625_8973966826852017059_n.jpg
199503538_10225581596474641_6871808323473031772_n.jpg
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nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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Hey y’all, I’ve had a Martin for a while that has me intrigued and finally decided to post. The Martin is serial numbered 219,361, but it looks like a magna/committee 3.it has the RMC shield. I’m assuming when Wurlitzer bought Martin they just kept producing, but is this a committee iii, magna variant, or something completely different?
The serial number dates it to about 1963, so it was made either at the end of the Richards ownership or perhaps immediately after. My understanding is that Wurlitzer kept the factory and the tooling and continued to make the Committee and Magna models. On another thread you will even see a Magna from after the Leblanc takeover after the manufacture was moved to Kenosha.

It looks like a Committee III to me ("The Martin") rather than a Magna.
 

thomsax

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Yes I also think it's a Martin "Committee" made during RMC ownership. RMC shield is "PM". No "The Martin Alto" (I guess it's an alto?) engraving.

I own a "The Martin Magna Tenor" #208XXX from 1959 before RMC took over the manyfactoring.

My Magna had (compared to a "The Martin Tenor"):
  • A small adjust screw on the neck.
  • Tone Boosters on (resonators/reflectors) the pads.
  • Palm keys nickelsilver.
  • G# cluster nickelsilver.
  • Low C cluster nickel silver.
  • Adjustable key bumpers on low Bb, B and C.
  • Convex MOP thumbrest (lh).
  • Side key Bb, C and F key touches in nickelsilver.
  • Magna cross on the neck and bell.
  • Available in three diffenrent finish. 1. Laquered with nickelsilver, 2. Silver plated with inside of the bell gold lined. 3. Gold plated and hand burnished.
  • Silver neck was an option to all models.
Magna came out on the market c 1955 and the were made to late 60's. The Magna baritone to low A is a milestone.
Orginal Magna pads.
magnaputor.JPG
 

thomsax

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Forgot to say. All key cups on my "The Martin Magna Tenor " are brass. Some of the long rods are solid nickel silver. Maybe its easier to align a brass key cup than a soldd nickel silver key cup?

Some huys says tha the Magna neck didn't have a matching serial number on the neck. I have matching serial number on my neck.

The small adjustment screw on the neck.
View: https://youtu.be/nWucnioGsbs
 

InWalkedBud

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Canada
Good info here! That Wurlitzer bought a sax company makes sense--I've been running my horn through a rotary speaker pedal lately, inspired by John Lennon's singing through a Leslie on Revolver, and it sounds pretty cool.
 

thomsax

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Both "Martin" and "King" had jukebox (and other electronics as well) manufactors owners. Wurlitzer owned "Martin" and Seeburg "King". As long as the parent company was doing fine it was no problem. I know King Musical Instruments, Inc lost money on every King Super 20 they made. I guess it was the same with "Martin". So behind a fine american saxophone manufactor/brand there was money that were made in other businesses. " - To sell in the idea to buy and own a saxophone plant/manufactoring in a border room needs a real dedicated person. Without passion and a lot of interest the investors are not going to jump on the train. They can make more money in other businesses"
 
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