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Discussion Starter #1

....leave it to ol' Saxophonium to get it completely wrong (no, not the part about trying to sell a $600-700 horn for $2000...he tries that all the time). :tsk: I mean the attribution to Pierret, which it so clearly is not.

http://cgi.ebay.com/F-E-Olds-Pierre...063?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a669b0adf

Sheesh...I mean, can this person do just FIVE minutes of research ?

OK, so...what this is is an Olds Studio. Very interesting, because I have never seen this stenciled model before.

In Brasses, Olds has/had the Ambassador, Special, Studio, Recording, and Opera models (going low shelf to high shelf).

We have seen Olds Ambassadors...the earlier ones, pre '50's, being Martin Handcraft Imperial stencils...the later ones being (ding-ding-ding) Pierrets.

We have seen Olds Supers...those very cool albeit odd-looking ones (with the flute-ish keycups) which people still debate as to whether they were actually produced in-house by Olds or not. But they certainly weren't made for very long.

We have seen Olds Operas....these are Buffet DynAction stencils (to my knowledge, the only time DynActions were ever stenciled).

But this is the first time I have ever seen an Olds Studio.

It looks to certainly be a Martin with altered bellbrace and keyguards...but I am not sure which model.....and ol' Saxophonium didn't divulge the serial # (I cannot quite make it out from his photo, either); so hard to tell the era of production except from stylistic specs....and granted, a rather aesthetically clunky and odd conglomeration of details she exhibits.
 

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You mean Buffet Dynaction above.
 

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Most of it looks extremely similar to an Indiana...though a few bits are certainly different (spatula keys and side keys, the bell brace, and a modified Indiana B/Bb guard, just to name a few).
 

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Serial number is in the item title, 59,xxx.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
:fftheai:....this ol' tool is a tad less than sharp today.....thanks.....

Most of it looks extremely similar to an Indiana...though a few bits are certainly different (spatula keys and side keys, the bell brace, and a modified Indiana B/Bb guard, just to name a few).

I agree...it seems to be an Indiana with some silly flourishes on the bell brace and keyguards.

If so, then the Indiana serial # list indicates it to be a '56-7.

That's interesting, because that is around the time when Pierret started making the Parisian for them.....and my assumption was that Olds' relationship w/ Martin had ended some time before then, based upon the design of the older Ambassador model (photo in my next post below).....

....the other interesting thing being, that old (Olds) Ambassador model was a Handcraft Imperial....while this later Studio model is an Indiana.....very arguably a lesser horn than the Handcraft Imperials; yet marketed by Olds as a step up from their Ambassadors (?)
 

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Looks just like the Olds Ambassador (Martin stencil) alto I learned on, apart from the nickel(?) keys and the articulated E trill and it's a tenor. Same bevelled tone holes, same thumb hook etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #8

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That's interesting, because that is around the time when Pierret started making the Parisian for them.....and my assumption was that Olds' relationship w/ Martin had ended some time before then, based upon the design of the older Ambassador model (photo in my next post below).....
To the best of my knowledge, the Ambassador and Parisian were offered at the same time (at least at one point they were).

I've seen a digital copy of a catalog that shows this...I'll dig around and see if I can find it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
If you can find that, that would be awesome....PM me if you do. I thought one had displaced the other......

I also believe, based on some comparisons that Ah Cheung once did several years ago, that the name "Parisian Ambassador" evolved from the ones just names "Parisian" (i.e. Parisians were the first several years, then they renamed 'em Parisian Ambassadors).
 

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Well that didn't take as long as I thought it would!

These are from a '57 catalog and also happen to show the Studio model.





I can't remember for sure where I found these, but I think they came from an Olds trumpet site.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the links, both of you....that's very helpful.

Actually, I have had plenty of Parisians and a few of the Ambassador/Handcraft ones, and they have always been real solid horns. Every customer I have ever sold one to has been really happy with them. Of course, I was never dumb enuff to try to sell 'em for $2000, either....

So while no doubt they subcontracted the saxes (with the possible exception of the Super, which the jury is still out on)...they used Pierret and Martin, neither of whom were slouches.....

The interesting thing about that '57 catalog (besides the fact that they had relationships going with BOTH Martin AND Pierret simultaneously).....is that it's the Indiana-stencil which they market as the more expensive Studio horn, while the Handcraft Imperial stencil is the slightly cheaper Ambassador.

????....That's twisting my pretzel...because the Handcraft was the better horn of the two (although granted it was an older design).

Matter of fact, the Parisians are the same price as the Ambassadors. Also a surprise.
 

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....the other interesting thing being, that old (Olds) Ambassador model was a Handcraft Imperial....while this later Studio model is an Indiana.....very arguably a lesser horn than the Handcraft Imperials; yet marketed by Olds as a step up from their Ambassadors (?)
Some clarifications, if I may, based on what I know, or at least what I think I know :)

First, I do own a few F.E. Olds Ambassadors, some are Martin Indiana stencils, others are Buescher model A20/A30 (aka "The Elkhart - Made by Buescher") stencils. I used to have a Martin-made Olds Studio tenor as well but gave it to one of my students a couple years back.

From what I understand, F.E. Olds specified the shape of key guards and some of the key touches on these stencils so that they are very similar even when made by different manufacturers. That's why it is a little difficult to tell who made a particular Ambassador. From 10 feet away, the Martin-made and Buescher-made Ambassadors look very much the same. The obvious differences are the tone holes and LH pinky cluster.

The Martin-made Ambassador model is an Indiana stencil and has the same body tube as the Indiana (which is the same as the later Handcraft models, BTW) and essentially the same keys with some changes to the touches. You'll notice that the pinky clusters resemble those on the Indiana, for instance the RH touches are at a 90 degree angle.

The Studio, once again, has the same body tube as the Indiana and the later HC Committees (Comm I and II). (Yes, the tone holes on the Committee's have a different bevel, but the inner dimensions are the same as on the Indianas.) The Studio's keys are more "advanced" than those on the Indiana, like the angled RH pinky keys and pearled alt-F# key, but the keys have Olds-specific features as well, such as the elongated side-Bb key touch and the scoop on the high-E key touch. The Studio also has nickel plated keys, whereas the Ambassador does not.

As I've stated in many other posts, I've come to believe what I do about Martin's based on the rather large collection of Martins and Martin-stencils I aquired a few years back (here's a post referencing that collection). Most of the Martins I have are still completely disassembled and I've spent a lot of time measuring the body tubes, tone holes, key cups and necks. I am currently trying to rebuild my database of measurements that I lost in a hard disk crash last year.

Anyway, the Olds Studio that my student now has plays virtually identical to my Ambassador with the same setup. The Studio does feel a bit more comfortable under the fingers than the Ambassador due to the key work, but for me, the sound is what counts. In that area, these two models are the same.

[Edit: Later added the following...]

JayeSF said:
The interesting thing about that '57 catalog (besides the fact that they had relationships going with BOTH Martin AND Pierret simultaneously).....is that it's the Indiana-stencil which they market as the more expensive Studio horn, while the Handcraft Imperial stencil is the slightly cheaper Ambassador.
Jay, I don't understand how you came to those conclusions. To you, what makes a Indiana stencil or a HC Imperial stencil? Right in front of me, I have an Ambassor (sn 42xxx) and an Indiana (sn 54xxx). Both are bare bodies. Everything about these horns is identical (except the low key guards). The tenon, the tone hole size and the design and placement of every single post. You can swap the keys from these two horns. OTOH, The HC Imperial is very different. For instance, the posts were obviously made with different tooling (oval bases rather than round). The keys can't be swapped between an Ambassador and a HC Imperial. There's just no way I could ever accept that the Ambassador is anything but a stencil of the Indiana.

Please understand I'm not trying to poke at you, and hopefully I am bringing something of value to the discussion. I don't pretend to be an expert on Martins or anything else sax related, but I do hope I can share some of the info I've gathered over the years.
 

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So while no doubt they subcontracted the saxes (with the possible exception of the Super, which the jury is still out on)...they used Pierret and Martin, neither of whom were slouches....
As I tell myself "Try to resist ... No need to repond... Oh, okay, I can't stand it..."

I, for one, am convinced that the Olds Super was not an Olds design, but was at least based on Martin's Handcraft Committee II. Sarge at worldwidesax.com has stated the same based on his observations.

I've compared the body tubes and keys from a Super with those from my Comm II and it is obvious to me that the Olds was made by Martin machinery. The posts are identical in every dimension. The body tubes, tone hole diameters and placement are the same. The tear-drop touches on the palm keys are the same. The LH pinky touches are identical. Heck, the G#, C#, B and Bb keys are identical. I'm willing to accept that Olds bought or copied Martin's machinery to make the Super. It is even easier to accept that Olds might have bought the majority of the parts from Martin and then customized them with the cool key cups and key guards. No matter what Olds did, the Super is a Martin design in my book.

Well, it is late for me. Sorry for sticking my head into this thread so much. Forgive me. Good night all!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
As I tell myself "Try to resist ... No need to repond... Oh, okay, I can't stand it..."

I, for one, am convinced that the Olds Super was not an Olds design, but was at least based on Martin's Handcraft Committee II. Sarge at worldwidesax.com has stated the same based on his observations.

I've compared the body tubes and keys from a Super with those from my Comm II and it is obvious to me that the Olds was made by Martin machinery. The posts are identical in every dimension. The body tubes, tone hole diameters and placement are the same. The tear-drop touches on the palm keys are the same. The LH pinky touches are identical. Heck, the G#, C#, B and Bb keys are identical. I'm willing to accept that Olds bought or copied Martin's machinery to make the Super. It is even easier to accept that Olds might have bought the majority of the parts from Martin and then customized them with the cool key cups and key guards. No matter what Olds did, the Super is a Martin design in my book.

Well, it is late for me. Sorry for sticking my head into this thread so much. Forgive me. Good night all!
I tried hard not to reply...but cannot help it.:whistle:

No apologies necessary.....your input is appreciated.

Jorns...I certainly believe, if you say so, that you have had Ambassadors which were Indiana stencils. However, the horns which I linked to above...are 100% certainly Martin Handcrafts with minor keywork simplification.

I know this....the same way YOU know this. Because I literally took calipers to a Martin Imperial Handcraft side-by-side with an Olds Ambassador (the one pictured above), and they were the same horns, with the exception of maybe 25% of the keywork. It wasn't an Indiana. It was a Handcraft Imperial. There is no mistaking a Handcraft Imperial for an Indiana.

I spent hours doing this. Most of the dang keys were interchangeable.....I have had about a half-dozen Ambassadors of this kind thru here...and they were all of the same design.

Clearly, the 2 horns in the catalog above are not of the same design, and the Studio model matches the Saxophonium auction.... while the Ambassador model matches the saxes I link to in my pics. These certainly are not ALL Indianas.

I appreciate your findings as well, and do not write this to contradict...because your reply seems to indicate what hr7 was saying, above...that HIS Ambassador also was an Indiana stencil, as it looked identical to the Studio of my initial post.

I buy that entirely....not very hard to believe that Olds may have used the Ambassador name on two different Martin stencil models.... before finally settling upon one being the Ambassador, and the other the Studio.

:grouphug:



Regarding the Super...all good points again, yes. All of this MAY very well be true, but (as has been posited in other threads on the subject of the Super)...this doesn't mean that these were made at the Martin facility.

THAT is the theory some people have posited. That Olds acquired the older Martin tooling, along with a few former workmen, and began in-house production, which was then interrupted by WWII (some feeling the Super vanished after WWII).

That the Super is a tweaked Martin design is pretty well accepted (...by any of us oddballs who care !). As Bruce chimes in, it seeems to have pieces of this Martin, and of that.
It has also been discussed that, while many have noted the similarities....there are enough dissimilarities between a Super and a Martin model to make one wonder why Martin would actually create new tooling for what was essentially gonna be a subcontract job of ONE single model ....and never have those details appear again.

Interesting thoughts.... interesting questions....interesting observations....

....impossible to prove or disprove based solely upon one's observation/examination of similarities. To date, all one can do then is speculate one way or the other.

This is why when something pops up like that catalog, it just really writes some things in stone. I wish someone could dig up some printed mat'l on the Super. Until they do....
....so many questions, so few answers...

I find it interesting that VSG and Henry found a '57 catalog which clearly illustrates that BOTH the Studio-Indiana and the Ambassador-Handcraft existed in production, side-by-side. Particularly considering that, really, by '57.....the Handcraft Imperial design was hecka, hecka old-school ! It is tempting to say this lends some credence to the notion that Olds acquired the superceded Martin tooling (if one were inclined to speculate, of course....:|)
 

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Thanks for spending the time putting that information together. Good stuff. I've been away from the forum for a few days and could not respond. I agree that there are plenty of "Interesting thoughts.... interesting questions....interesting observations....".

Several times I've tried writing the info I've gathered on Martins (differences between models, tweaks within certain models, key cup and tone hole sizes, etc.), but have never had enough time to consolidate it. It seems like a lot of good stuff about Martins is scattered through the forum. There's also a lot of information missing from www.themartinstory.net and www.saxpics.com. There is a lot of misinformation on those sites as well. It would be nice to have a nice wiki that everyone could contribute to.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
New stuff comes up all the time...I guess that's what makes the info ever-evolving. I thought I had seen enough Martin stencils by now to figure that only the Ambassador and Super were Martin-associated.

Then up pops the Indiana, and 2 members stating that they have seen Ambassador Indianas...yet in 4 years of perusing eFlay, I had only noticed and purchased the Handcraft Ambassadors....

All this stuff which is buried in history (or peoples' closets)....and horrific or tragic record-keeping of the mother companies making it all the more difficult to connect things....
 
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