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Are Martin Handcraft Master "Typewriters" worth buying for the purpose of playing or are they more collector's items?
 

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they have a very limited market base and there fore are not worth as much as other models.

They are certainly good players but they don’t please as many people , this was also true at the time when they were made and that’s why, Martin and few other brands ( I am thinking of Kohlert for example) which experimented with this quickly abandoned it.
 

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Are Martin Handcraft Master "Typewriters" worth buying for the purpose of playing or are they more collector's items?
A tenor player in my concert band has one of these. She was looking for a tenor and found a Martin Typewriter in her boyfriend's uncle's attic, I think. The horn was in pretty solid shape, so she had it overhauled it and now plays it regularly, using Vandoren V5 T20 that she bought from me. I asked her about the strange keywork at one point; she said that it wasn't too difficult to get used to, but it does tend to limit the player's speed.

It's a nice-looking horn, with dark amber lacquer and an abundance of white pearls (because of all the typewriter-style keys). Another saxophonist in the band has a Ref. 54 alto, and it was funny to observe that the Martin Typewriter actually has the old-timey lacquer that the Ref. 54 is trying to replicate.
 

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I asked her about the strange keywork at one point; she said that it wasn't too difficult to get used to, but it does tend to limit the player's speed.
Thanks, that was actually my next question that I was going to ask. Since I'm mostly just playing aimlessly on my own now, speed doesn't really matter to me, and I may soon be the owner of one of these cool horns.
 

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The front man of Big Ray and the Motor City Kings totally wails on a Typewriter alto. The thing sounds great, if you pass through Detroit they're worth seeing.
 

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I love my alto, it was an attic find (why do these end up in people's attics?!?) that I have had since junior year of high school. It has a deep, naturally dark tone. After playing it pretty much exclusively for 25 years, I had the opposite problem that most have-- I am so used to the keys that normal ones freak me out. Your pinkies will develop a little "hop" on the spatulas, and it will never be as fast as rollered keys, but speed isn't everything! Buy it and enjoy it!
 

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Typist; “Second Line Society? Great idea!
 

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Typist; “Second Line Society? Great idea!
That was our trumpet player's choice, he was kind of the group's founder. I wanted 'Brass Knuckle Brass Band'. But now we have merch so we're stuck with it!

But back to topic, BUY IT. Don't mind the haters.
 

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I have a matching trio of soprano, alto and tenor with the tenor in gold plate. They are gorgeous and wonderfully weird.
Like has been said before, the keywork is manageable, but certain pinky-key movements are tough to impractical, like low Bb to Db or C# to G#. Low C to Eb is a pain, literally.

I pull these horns out to play every once in a while for maintenance and gawking, but I prefer playing the "non-Master" Handcraft models much more.
 

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Are Martin Handcraft Master "Typewriters" worth buying for the purpose of playing or are they more collector's items?
Definitely yes! The sound is fantastic.

(But you need a good repair tech and patience to adjust to the keywork.)

A point to consider is that the keywork, even after an overhaul, feels heavy. When I started playing on mine, I had some muscle pain in my fingers in the first couple of weeks (even though I have been playing woodwinds for 20+ years).
 
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