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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
I am looking for a good sounding alto and don't want to spend an arm and a leg, are these horns good to buy?

Thanks and best!
 

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As a general answer to your question: yes. They are nice horns, play in tune, and have a great sound. Some like the ergonomics, some don't, but I've played quite a few of these and personally I think the ergo's are fine.

There are MANY choices of saxophone for you to purchase. Without knowing any information (budget, sound concept, etc. etc. etc.) it will be near impossible for anyone to point you in a better direction. Make sure you save enough money to get a quality mouthpiece as well.

- Saxaholic
 

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Discussion Starter #3
As a general answer to your question: yes. They are nice horns, play in tune, and have a great sound. Some like the ergonomics, some don't, but I've played quite a few of these and personally I think the ergo's are fine.

There are MANY choices of saxophone for you to purchase. Without knowing any information (budget, sound concept, etc. etc. etc.) it will be near impossible for anyone to point you in a better direction. Make sure you save enough money to get a quality mouthpiece as well.

- Saxaholic
Thanks!

I have a good mouthpiece from my previous YAS62 (sold), I don't really want to spend more than 500-600 since I mainly play tenor.

Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks,
 

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Just my opinion, but you're not going to get much of ANY horn for $5-600 dollars, even a Skyline (Committee II) Martin. If you're going to get anything decent that hasn't been run over by a freight train, you need to plan on spending more like in the $1200-$1400 range minimum (for a tenor).

John
 

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Just my opinion, but you're not going to get much of ANY horn for $5-600 dollars, even a Skyline (Committee II) Martin. If you're going to get anything decent that hasn't been run over by a freight train, you need to plan on spending more like in the $1200-$1400 range minimum (for a tenor).

John
Thanks John, I understand. But my original question was how good are these horns.
 

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The Skyline is a Comm 1. It is a very good horn. I have one. I disagree that you can't get something decent for that price. There are a lot of altos out there. I have a couple for sale myself, but not a Martin.
 

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Curious, are you looking at a specific Skyline for sale, Pablitus? I own a Martin Comm. III alto, but began my search for a Comm. I, mainly because they're cheaper and, as a sci-fi buff, I really like the retro-futurist "Mars Attacks" engraving. Given the choice, I'd take one in silver plate.
 

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I have owned many many Martin Saxes. Committee I, II, III, the Indiana models, Handcrafts, imperials, troubadors. Altos, tenors, Baris, no sopranos though. The list goes on.

Anyway ... The Skyline or Committee I is a nice horn. They have a beautiful, oaky, lush sound and take air very nicely. I prefer the sound of these to any other Martin I've owned. The key layout isn't that bad, but it is inline and doesn't feel like a modern horn. That being said, you can still move around on them very well. Just make sure you have a tech that knows how to set them up well as they really need low key heights. I also prefer plastic resos in my Martin's, but flat metals work well too.

Your biggest challenge with this horn will be the intonation. Can you play these in tune, yes you can, BUT they have an inherently spread octave and the upper octave goes very sharp. The spread on a Martin is more than a Conn of the same era. Not sure if you've played an early 6M.

Overall these are fantastic saxes, but if you plan to play in a section or don't want to voice the upper octave down a good bit, then you may want to go another route.

Best of luck.

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Martin altos are underappreciated. I prefer their tone over any other (except maybe a Super 20.)The ergonomics of the older horns are not terrible, just different. Unless it's a typewriter, in which case, it will take a few practice sessions to get the hang of.
 

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so, are ergos not that great on them?

Thanks
Not really. Better than the Conn's ergos, IMO.

It's the intonation you will have to fight more than anything.

Again, completely playable in tune, just will have to spend time and work with the horn.

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Just my opinion, but you're not going to get much of ANY horn for $5-600 dollars, even a Skyline (Committee II) Martin. If you're going to get anything decent that hasn't been run over by a freight train, you need to plan on spending more like in the $1200-$1400 range minimum (for a tenor).

John
(he was seeking an Alto, as I understand it...(?) )

so, are ergos not that great on them?
IMHO I prefer the ergos on Comm I's and II's to III's.

Pab.....if you have familiarity/experience with playing Vintage horns...the ergos are good on a I/Searchlight.

If what you are used to is Yamaha ergos, and you have mostly been playing modern-keywork horns - then you will need to woodshed with ANY vintage horn you buy.

FWIW...one cannot really get a Comm I/Searchlight in GOOD playing shape for $600 tho. If you find one for $600-under, it will likely need some work. If you find one for $600...grill the seller as to its true playing condition (if you don't have the opp to try it yourself).
I usually sell 'em for $700 completely refurbished, and by that I mean they get a complete teardown and service back up - and they tend to sell pretty quickly at that price....

You might be able to find a Handcraft Standard or Handcraft Imperial for $600 in playing shape.

Another GOOD alternative would be an Indiana - arguably my favorite vintage second-shelf models. Those can be had for around $450-550.
An Indiana in good tack doesn't give up much ground to a Committee, IMHO....

$600 is a decent enough budget to get something pretty good in an Alto, tho. Definitely low end of budget scale for that, but certainly possible....
 

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I sell Skylines for about $700 ready to play but prefer the Lion & Crown for around $1,000. I sell a lot of these altos and no one complains!
 

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In the past year or 3, I've bought Martin altos for about $600 - Handcraft, Searchlight, Indiana. Any Martin alto in good playing condition for $700 is worth it. Jaye and Bruce are reputable sellers here on SOTW.

Some people don't like Martin ergos but I'm used to them so I don't mind. But it's the sound of Martins that's why you want one. Best sounding horn there ever was for loud blues/rock/R&B.

Edit: oh, and I 2nd Jaye's recommendation of an Indiana. Good horns that have been undervalued (until recently?).
 

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My bad.... I mistakenly confused the skyline with the Lion and Crown! Skylines can be had for cheaper and yes, I believe they're "Committee 1's". As for the ergo's of a Martin, I agree with Simon that they're more comfortable than a 6/10M. I'm finally getting around to doing a complete overhaul on my Stabile alto and can't wait to see how it plays. Oh and Jaye, the OP stated in post 3 that he mainly plays tenor, which is why I referred to tenor(s) in my pricing opinion!
John
 

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I don't at all. Even remotely. A Conn is CONSIDERABLY more spread than a Martin of the similar era. If anything, I think Martins lean more towards a focussed than a spread sound.

- Saxaholic
 

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I'm very curious about this. Are you reffering to Martins vs. Conns in general? Alto/Tenor?
Does anyone else feel the same?
The octave spread. Not the core sound or tone. If you check the octave spread on an early 6M or 10M, it is much closer in tune than a Committee I or II where the octave is much more spread and the Committees go sharp. Yes, true for both alto and tenor.

Maybe I should have used different language. Sorry.

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I don't at all. Even remotely. A Conn is CONSIDERABLY more spread than a Martin of the similar era. If anything, I think Martins lean more towards a focussed than a spread sound.

- Saxaholic
Same as above. I was referring to the octave spread, not the tonal characteristics. I agree that Martin Committee I and II is more focused. Especially the Com. I. The III is more husky than those two though.

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