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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, just received a Martin Imperial Handcraft (Ebay).
Does anyone have info and\or comments about it? And, since it will certaily need a little bit of work on it, is it silly to ask how much would anyone spend on an instrument like that to get it in good shape?!? thanks!
 

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Early imperials are pro horns but the late one's were student horns so the serial is important
Dave
 

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The Handcraft designation suggests the earlier pro model.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Dave dix said:
Early imperials are pro horns but the late one's were student horns so the serial is important
Dave
Yes I read anything I could find about it, it's a Handcraft Imperial, serial 112xxx from 1935 (from Martin story website).
In fact even looking at him in front of me, I still can't believe to have bought one of them for that money, even if it needs some work...
It's exactly the same tenor pictured on saxpics.com, with the same engraving, and it says in the site:

"One of the rarest Martin Handcraft model is the Imperial, a horn that I have yet to get my hands on.

The pictures show a horn approximately equivalent to the Troubador, but without split bell keys.

Don't confuse this horn with the Martin Imperial that was produced about the same time as the Committee ("The Martin") horns. That horn is not labeled Handcraft anywhere on the bell and is a student/intermediate model. "
 

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Congratulations on acquiring one of the best horns made. It should have a dark, fat sound with good intonation. Lucky!

Saxaholic
 

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I have a Handcraft Imperial that I had relacquered many years ago. It's been my main instrument for over 23 years of active gigging, and I keep going back to it even as I continue to buy more expensive saxes. Overall, the characteristic that separates it from every other horn I've tried is the smooth keywork. Hope you enjoy it!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the info! next month I'll get it to the repairman to get it perfect, hope not to spend too much.. Laquer seems to be original about 75% with some spots here and there but I love it like that, it is 72 years old, cannot be perfect!
It plays the 2 octaves quite ok, toneholes ok, I think I'll have a repad and general calibration and cleaning, since it's not so smooth but at a glance must have been stored for many and many years.. perhaps some springs.
Intonation is almost incredible (at least, compared to my Chu alto), even with all the leaks.
Any suggestion for a good MPC and a choice of pads?
(depending on what I play I use on tenor a metal Link 7* with Rico Royal 1,5 or a Brilhart Ebolin with 3,5 vandoren Jazz)
Thanks!
 

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I suppose all preferences for setups are a matter of personal taste, but I'll be happy to tell you what has worked well for me. A metal Otto Link 7 and metal Otto Link 9 have made my Handcraft Imperial sound great. What did NOT work were modern, open-tip mouthpieces. I tried both Dukoff and Berg Larsen models, and both of them were impossible for me to play in tune. The Otto Links sound like they're made for Martins, in my experience. One more bit of advice: You might want to try Fibracell reeds. I've been able to get a better sound from them on my Handcraft Imperial than any other reeds.

I'm sure you'll get many years of outstanding performances from your sax. Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
jjulian said:
I suppose all preferences for setups are a matter of personal taste, but I'll be happy to tell you what has worked well for me. A metal Otto Link 7 and metal Otto Link 9 have made my Handcraft Imperial sound great. What did NOT work were modern, open-tip mouthpieces. I tried both Dukoff and Berg Larsen models, and both of them were impossible for me to play in tune. The Otto Links sound like they're made for Martins, in my experience. One more bit of advice: You might want to try Fibracell reeds. I've been able to get a better sound from them on my Handcraft Imperial than any other reeds.

I'm sure you'll get many years of outstanding performances from your sax. Best of luck!
Thanx jjulian! I generally use a STM metal 7*, I'm still looking for the best reed, now I'm using a rico royal 1.5 and it's not bad, I have still to try something harder and see what happens..
I'm quite new in the sax world since I come from clarinet and bass clarinet, but in 1 year and a half this experience is giving me many satisfactinos..
Oh, which number of Fibracell did you use? Thank you!
 

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Actually, even the later, pre Wurlitzer buyout Martin student horns, including the 1950's Imperials aren't bad horns.

Martin didn't skimp on labor and materials to make their horns, pro line and otherwise, up until the second (1963) buyout of the company, and it shows in their horns.

Your 1930's era Imperial is indeed a great horn, and a steal at that price too.

Congratulations, and welcome to the Martin club. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
SAXISMYAXE said:
Actually, even the later, pre Wurlitzer buyout Martin student horns, including the 1950's Imperials aren't bad horns.

Martin didn't skimp on labor and materials to make their horns, pro line and otherwise, up until the second (1963) buyout of the company, and it shows in their horns.

Your 1930's era Imperial is indeed a great horn, and a steal at that price too.

Congratulations, and welcome to the Martin club. ;)
Thank you, I know that without any doubt it was a deal.
Now the problem is, since in 3 days I have it, I already falled in love with him, even if it has to be checked and set up, and I suppose it plays almost a 40% of its potentialities.
Even mechanically, it's a beauty just to look at and how it is built..
I'm seriously worried about my bank account, as soon as I'll find another old martin that catches my attention... ;)
 

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Sergiosax,

My own preference for the Fibracell reeds is soft, but I've also used MS and medium for a slightly harder-edged sound. Personally, I don't want to use anything harder than that, but, most importantly, I think you'll notice a difference from your normal reeds by using a Fibracell of any strength.
 
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