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jbtsax

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Occasionally when I am "surfing" for information about saxophones I come across something I feel is worth sharing. I'm not sure how I have missed this site in the past, but I find it contains a lot of information that I previously didn't know. The background and "credentials" of the writer are a bit unusual, but the topic appears to have been well researched as far as I can tell. Perhaps Cafe members with more knowledge in this area can comment on the validity of some of the information on this page.

Vintage Professional Saxophone Timeline
 

just saxes

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Ugh. Why does he keep saying "us" when he is just one person?
 

just saxes

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Yeah. I can't even read that. I'm sure there will be some useful info in there, but the basic non-comprehension of rigor vs unrigor...I can't stomach it.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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It's a USA-Centric view.

One interesting point: He says
"All student line horns by Conn, Buescher, Martin, King, and Selmer (previous to 1975) were based on designs that more-or-less “froze” about 1932."
Is this correct?
 

just saxes

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It's a USA-Centric view.

One interesting point: He says
"All student line horns by Conn, Buescher, Martin, King, and Selmer (previous to 1975) were based on designs that more-or-less “froze” about 1932."
Is this correct?
It's a non-expert trying to claim and establish himself as an expert, imo, and because he is a non-expert he doesn't understand what truthful/accurate/useful framings are.

There's an accurate point in there, but it's misrepresented and seems misapprehended. Student-lines often used outdated tooling, e.g. the Buescher Aristocrat tooling being used to make Bundys under the Selmer brand, but the "American-style" LH table wasn't unique to the US. It's just not a useful, accurate or insightful statement. "IMO."
 

Stephen Howard

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It's a non-expert trying to claim and establish himself as an expert, imo, and because he is a non-expert he doesn't understand what truthful/accurate/useful framings are.
As witnessed by this quote:

" It is true that almost any sax listed on this page, restored to good playing condition will outplay and outlast any $2000 (MSRP) sax being made today"

'Outplay' is very subjective. I love a good vintage horn as much as the next player - and I've owned a few in my time - but if they outplayed everything else I've tried, I'd play one. I'd imagine it's fair to assume this is true for any other experienced player who plays an intermediate grade contemporary horn.

'Outlast' is just plain BS - even more so at the price point quoted.
I really don't know where this idea comes from. It seems to be borne out of some weird notion that the material the horns are made of will suddenly disintegrate after so many years.
Sure, cheaper horns are sometimes plagued with assembly problems - such as pillars and fittings dropping off Weltklang cheapies - but this is a mere inconvenience when compared to the propensity for soldered-on toneholes to spring leaks.
And I'm still fixing up cheap horns built 50 years ago that show no signs of crumbling into dust any time soon.

I've been reading crap like this ever since I got my first modem. It was crap then and it's still crap now.
 

thomsax

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It's a USA-Centric view.

One interesting point: He says
"All student line horns by Conn, Buescher, Martin, King, and Selmer (previous to 1975) were based on designs that more-or-less “froze” about 1932."
Is this correct?
The second line (later student saxes) were often based on earlier models/tools. Early Indiana were based on the Handcraft models with split bell keys, Later the Indiana were based on the Handcraft Standard and Handcraft Special and they were based on the HC Imperial that came in 1934. From what I know they had the same dimensions on body and necks. toneholes placement but they were spiced up with some fancy leftovers like adjustable thumrests, heart shaped thumbrest. diffent design of the key touches, nickelplated keys .... ., After WWII they dropped the second line saxes and called the saxes for student saxes. And in the 60's the re-named the Indiana saxes to Imperal or Medalist. Same, same but different. It's so hard to be correct when it comes to second line/student saxes. What I think it's completly wrong is to say that an Indiana is the same sax as a Committee models. Often a way for sellers to charge more the saxes. It's a completly differnt sax. India are good saxes. Some of them are very good. I think "Conn", "King " and Buescher/Selmer US worked in the same way.
 

nigeld

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I have read various different stories about Martin Indiana models:

Where were they made?
Version a. Indiana models were made in the old Indiana factory, separate from the main Martin factory
Version b. They were made in the main factory

What was the design?
Version a. They used a separate design by the Indiana company (presumably this was the case for the very early Indianas)
Version b. They were based on early pre-1930 Handcraft design. (This is what the Saxophone Evolution chap seems to be implying.)
Version c. When Martin updated the Committee models I to II, they re-used some of the Committee tooling for subsequent Indiana models, so an Indiana after this date has a body like a Handcraft Committee I but with cheaper/different keywork. (This is more or less what @thomsax is saying.)
Version d. When Martin updated the Committee models II to III, they re-used some of the Committee II tooling for subsequent Indiana models, so an Indiana after this date has a body like a Committee II but with cheaper/different keywork.
 
OP
jbtsax

jbtsax

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I had no idea posting this would be like hitting a "hornet's nest". ;) I agree that some of the information on the page represent the author's opinions rather than facts supported by evidence, and not everyone is going to accept or agree with those opinions.

However, I don't agree that "cherry picking" a few statements that are arguably not true and then dismissing the information in its entirety serves a useful purpose since much of the information does appear to be useful and valid. I would rather see specific corrections to statements that are not correct backed up with references rather than "throwing the baby out with the bath water".
 
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JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
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It's a USA-Centric view.

One interesting point: He says
"All student line horns by Conn, Buescher, Martin, King, and Selmer (previous to 1975) were based on designs that more-or-less “froze” about 1932."
Is this correct?
It's an odd way of putting it. Basically, the claim is that...around 1932-ish, american makers switched from opp-side bellkeys to same side (a reasonable claim, give or take a few years). So after that somewhat significant design change, they more or less kept the same design into the 70's (on their second-shelf model horns)...maybe tweaks appear, but no major design development (as occurred in their top-shelf horns). That is how I interpret that statement.

There IS some truth to that. If one looks at a Martin (or Indiana), Conn, King (or Cleveland), or Buescher (or Elkhart Band Instrument Co.)...one can make an argument that the differences between a late vs. earlier version of their second-shelf horns is....pretty minor.

So, a 70's King Cleve...a late 60's Martin Indiana....a Bundy I....and Conn 16M Tenors....are they the same pedigree as their cousins of 40 years prior...yeah, that's not an unfair statement.

I never though of it that way...but...it's not a ridiculous observation, really. It has some merit.
 
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JayeNM

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I have read various different stories about Martin Indiana models:

Where were they made?
Version a. Indiana models were made in the old Indiana factory, separate from the main Martin factory
Version b. They were made in the main factory

What was the design?
Version a. They used a separate design by the Indiana company (presumably this was the case for the very early Indianas)
Version b. They were based on early pre-1930 Handcraft design. (This is what the Saxophone Evolution chap seems to be implying.)
Version c. When Martin updated the Committee models I to II, they re-used some of the Committee tooling for subsequent Indiana models, so an Indiana after this date has a body like a Handcraft Committee I but with cheaper/different keywork. (This is more or less what @thomsax is saying.)
Version d. When Martin updated the Committee models II to III, they re-used some of the Committee II tooling for subsequent Indiana models, so an Indiana after this date has a body like a Committee II but with cheaper/different keywork.
Amazing thread here, a guy who actually is a relative of people who worked at Martin....see post #33 re: Indiana line information....
 

JayeNM

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BTW...I am not saying the article does not have inaccuracies....it does...and it missed a LOT of sax manufacturing history by sticking to US companies....but he seems, as an aside, to want to delve into the downfall of instrument making in the US, which while tangential, is not inappropriate subject matter.

I sorta am with @jbtsax here, though.....to dismiss all of what is presented there would be erroneous. And a lot of commentary here so far has been unduly dismissive....

There are some valid points and decent information presented in this...
 

Stephen Howard

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However, I don't agree that "cherry picking" a few statements that are arguably not true and then dismissing the information in its entirety serves a useful purpose since much of the information does appear to be useful and valid. I would rather see specific corrections to statements that are not correct backed up with references rather than "throwing the baby out with the bath water".
Trouble is, it's incumbent upon the reader to know what's factual, what's opinion and what's plain wrong.
Now, some factual errors are fine - we all make mistakes, and sometimes it's hard to find reputable sources.
Likewise, opinions are fine - as long as some effort has been made to mark them out as such.

But repeating plain old nonsense that's probably been dredged up from the bowels of a forum does nothing to reduce the 'noise' that's sadly prevalent in this arena. I have no patience for it any more.
 

thomsax

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I have read various different stories about Martin Indiana models:

Where were they made?
Version a. Indiana models were made in the old Indiana factory, separate from the main Martin factory
Version b. They were made in the main factory

What was the design?
Version a. They used a separate design by the Indiana company (presumably this was the case for the very early Indianas)
Version b. They were based on early pre-1930 Handcraft design. (This is what the Saxophone Evolution chap seems to be implying.)
Version c. When Martin updated the Committee models I to II, they re-used some of the Committee tooling for subsequent Indiana models, so an Indiana after this date has a body like a Handcraft Committee I but with cheaper/different keywork. (This is more or less what @thomsax is saying.)
Version d. When Martin updated the Committee models II to III, they re-used some of the Committee II tooling for subsequent Indiana models, so an Indiana after this date has a body like a Committee II but with cheaper/different keywork.
This is my own conslusions/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 separete buildnings . 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 benks/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 so much time on each saxophone. So they did lots of Indian 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 thes years the big market for student saxes increased.

What was the design?
I think te early versions were just a cheaper model. Bare brass, maybe bodies and necks that were not good enough to sell as a Handcraft. I don't know if there were sopranos, or c-melody. I've seen baris. And Martin never made bass saxes for the market. Maybe some prototypes? I guess the ones with split bell keys werer based on old Handcraft saxes. I pretty sure the Indiana saxes are based on Handcraft Standard and Handcraft Special. The Committee model were a complete new construction when it reached to market in 1935. The soldered on toneholes had bevelded toneholes on HC STD and HC Special and Indiana. But never on a Committee. The neck is also different on these models. The Eb vent was never on a Committee sax. But you can never be 100% sure. I can't see any bigger changes been made on the Comittee tubes over the years, The necks became a little bit longer and the bell flair became also wider on "The Martin" (Martin never used Committee I or III as model names, just Comm II). The Martin saxes had many patents. The "polyconical bore" (was the last patent on an American saxophone 1947), the combined neck, bell to body brace, low Bb and Bb key guards .... were all us patents in 1947. Nothing you do over short period so I guess the started with this before WWII. To have a second line or student sax made out of new patents are very unlikely. So I don't think Indiana shared the same body and taper as the Committee models. Maybe some detalais that they used on Indians but nothing that changed the sound. Two things I've think a lot about. Why did Martin continued with soft soldered tenoholes on a student sax while the labor cost wnt up after WWII? What about the few Kohlert (Winnenden) saxes in the 50's that had the same type of toneholes. Also on some Keilwerth and Hohner? There was a insrument manufactor in PA, USA called "Imperial"that Martin bought up?
 

just saxes

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The whole article is a form of gaslighting.

It's a non-expert, whose agenda is specifically, above all, to hold himself forward with "authority" while having no real authority, and in the effort exposing himself as a non-expert. It's narcissistic, loonybin BS. The article's author is a crazyperson, mentally ill. Yes, I can tell that from that one article, because if you gaslight at all you gaslight all the time, and all people who gaslight are toxically, harmfully mentally ill.

As in Stephen's post, it's the kind of nonsense that forces people who do know to spend a lot of time to unpack and explain what is wrong with a sentence that embeds massive errors in small numbers of words, Trump-like.

And then, down the line, that BS undermines the utility and good intentions of people who actually ARE expert, because when that bad information proliferates and gets repeated, the truth has to fight its way out of a quagmire that never should have existed in the first place.
 
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just saxes

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I say that affectionately. Just not with affection for that guy.
 

mpj.brennan

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Wow! It's an article by a non-expert, says someone who then goes on to make a psychiatric diagnosis.
 

Stephen Howard

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The whole article is a form of gaslighting.

It's a non-expert, whose agenda is specifically, above all, to hold himself forward with "authority" while having no real authority, and in the effort exposing himself as a non-expert. It's narcissistic, loonybin BS. The article's author is a crazyperson, mentally ill. Yes, I can tell that from that one article, because if you gaslight at all you gaslight all the time, and all people who gaslight are toxically, harmfully mentally ill.
I wouldn't go that far.

It's just typical cognitive bias - and yeah, OK, maybe a touch of wanting to puff up one's own standing - but I'd hardly call that mental illness.

Quite a lot of effort has gone into the article - it's just a shame that the author didn't read through it with a more critical eye. As it stands it's more useful to those who know most of the details already, which very much detracts from its value.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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The whole article is a form of gaslighting.

It's a non-expert, whose agenda is specifically, above all, to hold himself forward with "authority" while having no real authority, and in the effort exposing himself as a non-expert. It's narcissistic, loonybin BS. The article's author is a crazyperson, mentally ill. Yes, I can tell that from that one article, because if you gaslight at all you gaslight all the time, and all people who gaslight are toxically, harmfully mentally ill.
Wikipedia defines gaslighting as follows:
Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group covertly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment, often evoking in them cognitive dissonance and other changes including low self-esteem. Using denial, misdirection, contradiction, and misinformation, gaslighting involves attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim's beliefs. Instances can range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents occurred, to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.

The author of the offending article apparently seems to think that he knows a bit more than he does know.
Naughty, naughty! :fingerwag:

But that doesn't mean that the whole article is rubbish.

Of course, none of us in the Café would ever suppose that we know more than we actually do. I myself am scrupulously careful never ever to venture an opinion that I have not thoroughly checked, using at least two reliable sources. :cheers:

But in this case the sin is minor in my opinion. It is certainly not gaslighting, which is a deliberate psychological attempt to manipulate and control another person by undermining their self-belief.
 

GCinCT

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There is a "Contact Us" link on the top of the page you can use to point out errors if you are so inclined. I just sent him an email myself. He claimed that an identifying feature of the Martin Committee, Conn CONNstellation and King Super 20 is left side bell keys. I don't know about the first two, but the Super 20 always had right side bell keys.

Drop him a line, let's educate him and improve the article.
 
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