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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Wife doesn't care and certainly doesn't share my excitement over this stuff so I have to share here.

I won the bidding on a Comm III alto on ebay about a week ago. Big risk (as usual with ebay), hoping it really was what the pics showed.

It arrived today and I am just thrilled $#!%less! It's a beautiful 186xxx in just near perfect condition. 99% original lacquer, no damage. I mean, there's not a ding anywhere on it. All but the LH palm keys have their original rivet pads still sealing and it plays top to bottom right out of the case without any adjustment. It looks like it was played for a few years then put in the closet for the last 60+. This is the horn I've had wet dreams about ever since I got my Comm III tenor in 2014.

I just spent the last 90 or so minutes playing around with several mouthpieces. I really thought I'd like one of my Runyons, but alas, the spirit of Art Pepper didn't materialize. A big surprise was discovering that my favorite piece on this horn so far is the original stock Martin piece that was in the case. I have no idea what the tip opening or facing curve are, but the sound is dark and rich like nothing the others could match.

So the horn is AMAZING, but...there's more.

To me, a big part of the charm of vintage horns (other than their sound) is their story. The value increases greatly in my esteem if you can know its individual history. This one came with an original, dated, hand-written receipt from the shop where it was purchased new in December 1953. It also has the warranty card, a little "note" from the Martin factory workers (Did you know they were UAW-CIO members? I didn't.), and the little "Instructions on care of instrument" pamphlet. These things, these connections to the past, are priceless little treasures.

$214.55 in 1953 is equivalent to $2094.89 in 2021 dollars.
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That's an obvious re-lacquer job.

Just kiddin'! Congratulations, that is a really sweet specimen.
 

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(Reacting to the wonderful obit, above.) My doctor, from when I was growing up in Philly, retired when his wife presented him with an alto for his 67th birthday. Turns out he put himself through med school playing in bands. And he started his own biggish band that played for the final 10 years of his life.)

The cosmetics of that horn are fantastic. Martin made killer altos.
 

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enjoy -i have one from same aprox ser no . its amazing horn and was a one owner very low miles and has orig mpc thats suprizing in its playability also. as an added bonus mine came with an early babbit meyer stuck inside.
 

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looks like orig pads ? those are the same as what was in mine and was original pads
 

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What a great score! That horn should be free-blowing and making some great sounds.
 

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Check the facing curve on the Martin piece. The one that came with mine was beautifully done, very even with a nice curve on it. If yours is the same it's no surprise it plays well
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Check the facing curve on the Martin piece. The one that came with mine was beautifully done, very even with a nice curve on it. If yours is the same it's no surprise it plays well
It is very nicely finished inside and out. Clearly hand-worked, quality HR. It's definitely not a just-throw-something-in-with-the-horn kind of piece. There was thought and effort behind it.

I didn't get one with my tenor. I'm seriously tempted to try and find one if they're like this too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
When I finished playing this evening I put a leak light down it. Despite how well it plays, it wasn't perfect. I sealed a couple leaks and made some adjustments to the lower stack and G#/Bis regulation.

Unfortunately, Wife's already gone to bed so it's too late to play test it tonight.
 

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That is a wonderful specimen! I still have the original Martin alto m/p from my mother's alto she played in school in the 1950s - unfortunately we traded the horn for another horn when I was learning to play saxophone in 5th grade in the early 70s. Someday, I hope to get another Martin alto to pair up with that old m/p... Enjoy that Comm III - I don't think you can find a nicer one than that anywhere!
 
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