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Saxophones Question regarding Martin Alto Saxophone

EarthSpiritNesu

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Hello so tomorrow I am to look at what is supposed to be a 1950 Martin Indiana Alto Sax. The seller gave me alot of info such as he got it when he was 8 back in 73 and the serial number as well. When searching the serial numbers for these saxes I couldn't find this serial number at all. The Indiana by Martin Serial number 49537. Does anyone have any info on this serial number model and when it was made etc etc?
 

majordennis

Senior Member
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Nigel beat me to it, I had a 1950's Indiana Alto years ago, they were supposed to be the second-line Martin, don't believe it, with a good set-up these are superb horns. Good luck.
 

altissimo

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What is a saxophone like this worth?
there was one in reasonable condition on ebay a few days ago for $300
a lot of these student saxes seem to have had a rough life in schools and marching bands, so check it over for dents, wear and tear and whether the pads are old and need replacing.
Not everyone gets on with vintage saxes, but if you do then a Martin Indiana is a good instrument for not much money - I love mine!
 

EarthSpiritNesu

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The seller is selling it for $360 and that's after he spent $543 to replace the pads and springs two years ago. After he got it done he never played it again due to losing his teeth. He has had it himself since he was 8 in 1973. Is there any potential way to trace back to the original owner?
 

Wade Cornell

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As others have said the Martin Indiana is an excellent instrument with good intonation and wonderful tone. If the new pads are good and were seated properly then it should be a good instrument. The only other issue is wear. Horns that have had a long life with lots of use can have parts that move around which can mean that the pad doesn't seat well and they can be excessively noisy. Instruments that have been abused are fairly obvious due to dents and other issues. Wear is a bit more difficult to check unless you are very familiar with saxes. If this is being used as a practice and beginner or intermediate instrument it is more than sufficient. The price is about right if it's a good player, but I wouldn't expect it to be pristine. Martins are notorious for lacquer cancer. Their finishes are generally very bad and wear poorly...just looks and doesn't matter as the sound is superb.
 

EarthSpiritNesu

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Phoenix
Is there any way you educated individuals can look at the photos and tell me what you think?
 
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EarthSpiritNesu

New Member
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9
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Phoenix
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received_2057016934622449.jpeg
 

EarthSpiritNesu

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Thoughts? Also any info on any famous saxophone players that may have played at this exact model of saxophone in this exact frame of years 53 through 54?
 

kevgermany

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Looks good, would be helpful to be able to see the pads and the tops of the tone holes. The comments above about wear and noise are very relevant, but the only way to check is to do it physically. If the seller's genuine, it's probably ok. But factor in some cash for a quick tune up from a tech.
 

nigeld

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Also any info on any famous saxophone players that may have played at this exact model of saxophone in this exact frame of years 53 through 54?

The Indiana was Martin's second-line instrument, so I expect that most pro's would have played a Martin Committee ("The Martin") rather than an Indiana.

Art pepper played a Martin alto.
 

Wade Cornell

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New Zealand and Australia
The horn looks used but not abused. The wear issue is hard to spot from pictures. A nigeld says the Indiana was Martin's second line instrument, but I can also tell you that although the keywork is a bit different, the tone is just as good as the Committee horns. Martins are "sleepers" with tone and keywork that makes them one of the best of horns of that (early 1950s) period. The tone quality is different to a horn like a Selmer VI, but in my opinion better and certainly more consistently good (there are some very good Selmer VI altos, but also some "rather ordinary ones"). This Martin has the typical lacquer cancer, but that's OK as it's preferable to have an "as is" honest horn rather than being buffed too much and re-lacquered.
 
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majordennis

Senior Member
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519
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Gone West
It all depends on what you intend to do with it, saxophones are are quite complex instruments, as well as pads, springs felts and corks connecting rods need to have minimal play and be straight, as well as the tone holes seating properly they were soldered on and can leak from the base, any good tech should have spotted this when he did the pads and springs so should be ok if it’s been looked after since the service, will the seller let you take it to a tech of your choice for an estimate, then you will be able to make a more informed choice?

If you want a “player” one of these well set up would be great, I’m sorry if this makes things more complicated but there is a lot to consider, I wish you well.
 

altissimo

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leicester
Looks like it's in similar condition to mine, but it's how it plays that counts and how it feels, how comfortable is it under your fingers? Does it feel 'right'? An older musician once said to me 'never buy an instrument unless it feels like it belongs to you' and that's wise advice.
$360 with new pads - oh boy, that's tempting.. if you don't get on with it you could probably sell it for a similar price..
Don't expect perfection for $360, but it depends whether you want a vintage horn or a brand new chinese instrument. Or want to look around for a secondhand Yamaha/Vito.
In my experience the choice of instrument you buy is based on what's available at the time you buy it - this may seem obvious, but you can either make the plunge or wait and see what else comes up for sale in your area. There are instruments I've regretted not buying cos I sat on the fence too long and there are ones that I did buy but never got on with and sold.
I'm biased, I've got a Martin Indiana of a similar vintage and it's my favourite horn. Other people would feel differently
We can't make the decision for you without actually seeing the instrument and playing it
general advice on buying used saxes can be found here -
Saxophone Buyer's Guide | Saxophone.org
Tips On How To Buy A Used Saxophone | Bassic Sax
 

Keep Blowing

Senior Member
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Bottesford England
Looks like it's in similar condition to mine, but it's how it plays that counts and how it feels, how comfortable is it under your fingers? Does it feel 'right'? An older musician once said to me 'never buy an instrument unless it feels like it belongs to you' and that's wise advice.
$360 with new pads - oh boy, that's tempting.. if you don't get on with it you could probably sell it for a similar price..
Don't expect perfection for $360, but it depends whether you want a vintage horn or a brand new chinese instrument. Or want to look around for a secondhand Yamaha/Vito.
In my experience the choice of instrument you buy is based on what's available at the time you buy it - this may seem obvious, but you can either make the plunge or wait and see what else comes up for sale in your area. There are instruments I've regretted not buying cos I sat on the fence too long and there are ones that I did buy but never got on with and sold.
I'm biased, I've got a Martin Indiana of a similar vintage and it's my favourite horn. Other people would feel differently
We can't make the decision for you without actually seeing the instrument and playing it
general advice on buying used saxes can be found here -
Saxophone Buyer's Guide | Saxophone.org
Tips On How To Buy A Used Saxophone | Bassic Sax
Wise words from Altissimo
 

thomsax

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Sweden
I don't think a -54 "The Indiana by Martin" was a second line instrument. These "Indiana" were manufactoried in Elkhart by The Martin Band Instrument Co and (as far as I know) in the same buildings as "The Martin" saxes were made. They were meant to be instruments for schools, marching bands .... . Most of these Indianas were made with the "Martin Handcraft Special" tools (Martin Imperial became HC Standard and later HC special). Most of the Indianas are not Committee saxes. But for a month ago I saw an Indiana that was practically a Committee sax (Comm tone holes, solid nickelsilver keys, adjustable rh thumbrest, heartformed lh thumbrest ). So you never know. I like Indiana saxes. Well built, dark tone, even scales .. but as all other old other horns it needs care. I have two Indiana saxes from 1960 (75XXX and 76XXX serial range). The Indiana brand was faded out when RMC took over "Martin". "The Imperial" and "The Medalist" are two brands from the RMC era. Here is a part of an ad by The Martin Band Instrumnts Co from 1955.
chief.jpg
 

jbtsax

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My "Terapeak" research service shows that in the past 12 months there were 71 of these sold on Ebay excluding those that were sold for parts. Of those the prices ranged from $135 to $661 with the average $244. IMO $360 is a good price for one with new pads and springs. If you buy it I recommend you take it to Mike Nye Repair in Tempe to get a "play condition". He is a "straight shooter" and plays saxophone himself.
 

MarkSax

Member
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328
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UK
I don't think a -54 "The Indiana by Martin" was a second line instrument. These "Indiana" were manufactoried in Elkhart by The Martin Band Instrument Co and (as far as I know) in the same buildings as "The Martin" saxes were made. They were meant to be instruments for schools, marching bands .... . Most of these Indianas were made with the "Martin Handcraft Special" tools (Martin Imperial became HC Standard and later HC special). Most of the Indianas are not Committee saxes. But for a month ago I saw an Indiana that was practically a Committee sax (Comm tone holes, solid nickelsilver keys, adjustable rh thumbrest, heartformed lh thumbrest ). So you never know. I like Indiana saxes. Well built, dark tone, even scales .. but as all other old other horns it needs care. I have two Indiana saxes from 1960 (75XXX and 76XXX serial range). The Indiana brand was faded out when RMC took over "Martin". "The Imperial" and "The Medalist" are two brands from the RMC era. Here is a part of an ad by The Martin Band Instrumnts Co from 1955.
View attachment 10811
The Indiana with the features you mention was called the Indiana Deluxe. The Medalist has the same features. A beginner/intermediate sax but not a Committee, their pro line.
 

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