Sax on the Web Forum Archive / Alto Saxophone / The Martin Indiana vs. Snotty Technician

User ID: 2289444
Jun 30th 11:23 AM
So my second alto was an early Martin Indiana in great condition I picked up for $200. It had been sold by a band student to what was primarily a used guitar/amp store. It was marked $400, but since I ran across it in the early summer, he let it go for half because he knew he wouldn't sell it until school started up again.

It only needed a little tweaking & a couple of pads, so I took it to a tech at a respected local instrument shop who checked it out & gave me the rundown of what he could do for the horn & how much it would cost.

A full re-pad & overhaul, if I wanted, would cost $400-500, but he said "it's not worth doing it because it's only an old learner horn, and, well, it's jut not worth it".

This tech is reknowned locally for being the primo tweaker for Mark VI's, & I kinda got the impression he thought this horn was a waste of his time & beneath his dignity as a tech.

Needless to say I was irked & offended for my horn's honor. He played the thing, I had played it and I knew dang well the horn spanked any modern learner horn they had in the shop going for $600-700 up. If it sounds good, plays well, and is built to last, who cares how much much it would cost to overhaul it? A good horn deserves good treatment despite it's market worth!!

Randy M.
User ID: 0296604
Jun 30th 2:24 PM
Find another "good" repairman.
[email protected]
User ID: 0770504
Jul 1st 1:21 AM
Hey I am a repairman, and although this is thought of as a student horn, I haave not found a martin yet that I didn't like. I have a 1927 martin that really smokes, it has ok intonation, but has a real nice rich tone, and great projection.

Mike Reed
AKA Saxdaddy
Dr. J
User ID: 1314254
Jul 1st 4:00 PM
Aside from the Indiana, are any of the other Martin models considered student horns? Are all of the 20s and 30s Martins considered to be pro?
Jack W.
User ID: 1223124
Jul 6th 11:34 PM
I believe the answer to your second question is "yes", but will defer to the experts. You might find some information in the "Vintage Saxes" topic.

I've heard about these Indianas that they play very darn well, almost as well as the pro models. I have a pro Martin from the mid-1930s, sat in with a concert band where a girl had an Indiana, and she sounded just fine thank you with the same trademark big unfocused Martin sound. She said she really liked her horn. I agree with the others, bring it to a repairman worthy of the name. Never mind if the overhaul costs more than the horn. The thing is still a Martin, and unlikely to disappoint you when it is set fully right. :)
User ID: 2017574
Sep 9th 4:51 PM
THe Indianas track the pro model Martin of the same year. The earlier the Indiana the better it is, generally.

I have a 1963 Indiana and this is a pure student horn, I am sorry to say. THe keywork reminds me of student horns I knew, i.e. Bundy and King student horns.

IF you brought a 1963 Indiana to me ,if I were a pro repairman working on Selmers, I would give you grief too. If it was a 1950's or earlier Indiana that would be a little different.

Aside from the Indiana models, the other models that are at the low end of the Martins models are the Imperial which was made in the 60's and is an intermediate model, also the Medalist which it think may be the same as an Imperial, I am not sure.

Also earlier on (1930's) there was the Standard model, which was a no thrills version of the higher end models, I do not know how long they made the Standard model.

As is discussed on the Martin website, there are many differnet types of Indiana models.
The earliest ones from the 1930's had solid nickel keys or silver plated keys, and had an adjustable thumbrest.
Then the version based on the 1940's THE MARTIN had an adjustable thumbrest and gold color lacqoured keys.
Then it was cheapened and it lost the adjustable thumbrest and got cheaper silver color keys (not to be confused with the solid nickel keys of the 1930's models.)
Even then, it was still a good horn up through the 50's, I understand.
Then it got cheapened more.

User ID: 2289444
Sep 10th 9:53 PM
I understand mine to be from sometime in the later 50's, but I've never been able to accurately pin it down. It's got gold-colored keys, but it doesn't have the adjustable thumbrest, so maybe it's yet another sub-division in the gradual cheapening of the horn. It does look to me likes it's based on the later "The Martin" model. . . .
User ID: 2017574
Sep 16th 7:15 PM
if it has the gold color keys it is from no later than the late 1950's and it is a good horn.
Dr, J
User ID: 1314254
Oct 11th 6:08 PM
Is a "The Martin" from 1963 still considered a pro-level horn?
User ID: 0213374
Nov 27th 10:39 PM
Does anyone know anything about the 1931 Martin Handcraft Troubador? I have the opportunity to get one. It's in excellent shape. It hasn't been played in 25 years, but surprisingly most of the pads are still decent, but of course would get it overhauled.
I just want to know what it's reputation is and if it is going to be worth it to spend the money to get it redone. My 13 year old son has played it and the sound isn't bad, but hard to tell what it would be like with new pads etc.

I anticipate that I can get it for a few hundred bucks. My son has a Vito now and I would like to get a sax for him with a better sound.

Any thoughts?