Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi SOTW,

I've been looking around for a new horn lately. I want a different sound than what I'm getting from my YTS-62II.

I was browsing craigslist, and I found two Martin tenors for sale. One was a Martin Committee, serial 19xxxx. It has original lacquer, and the seller claims it's in playing condition. He wants $1400.

The other horn is a The Martin tenor. Its 176xxx, and satin silver with a polished silver bell. It's in awesome cosmetic and playing condition. The seller wants $1600.

I've done some research, and these seem like really good deals. I'm really looking to get a darker and fatter overall sound that has more core, while still being very powerful. I've read that Martins have the sound that I'm looking for. Is this the case? I've also heard that they have intonation issues.

I'm currently playing a laser trimmed Guardala MBII from WWBW, and I was considering trying some of the Theo Wanne pieces. I'd also like to hear your opinions on what I should in the way of mouthpieces.

I look forward to reading the responses!
Cole
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
Joined
·
19,207 Posts
Martins are good horns. I guess they could be classified a 'dark', and mine are 'powerful' with the right mouthpiece.
Any 'vintage' horn is going to have a few intonation 'quirks'. Most are easily compensated for with practice.
You will have to play a few to see if it's what you're really looking for. The ergonomics are VERY different than what you're used to with the Yamaha.

If you're looking for a mouthpiece for a vintage horn be aware that some prefer medium large to large chambered pieces with little to no baffle. Small chambers and high baffles can result in tuning difficulties of the sharp kind.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
Joined
·
21,033 Posts
I have (tenors) a Martin HC Imperial, Comm. II and Comm. III (the Martin). For the 2 you are considering, I would put the Comm II as the darker, and the III as the more centered. Although the III has a more modern keyboard, I tend the like the II a bit better. I think you also need to consider the condition of each horn. I have all 4 of my Martin tenors for sale and want to keep whichever one doesn't sell. It is that close for me. Although I am mainly an alto player (12 Martins), I have owned 3 Mark VIs, SBA, Zephyr, Chu, Keiwerth and other tenors and the Martins are the best overall. Large booming sound and a low end like no other. That silver one sounds really nice and if you don't buy it, I would consider it. My III is a very good relacquer with new pads but a silver plated horn is my first choice! Almost all of the IIIs were gold lacquer (goes bad early) and the IIs were mostly gold lacquer with nickel plated keys. Here is my III:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/tags/martintenor3/
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Technician, Forum Contributor 2
Joined
·
1,760 Posts
Good advise from BandMommy and Bruce.

While you may find it difficult to use small chambered mouthpieces on a vintage sax like The Martin, you will find plenty of folks on the forum that use more aggressive mouthpieces on Martins. I assume you are looking for a contemporary sound since you mention the MBII. The MBII has a medium chamber and might work well for you. Theo Wanne's designs do feature a large chamber and pretty much all of his models would work well, but at price.

My number one choice for an "off the shelf" piece for The Martin Tenor is the Drake Contemporary I Tenor (model CRCCT I). Check it out here: https://www.drakeceramicinstruments.com/Ceramic_Chamber_MPCs.html
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,127 Posts
Both saxes are actually Committee III's (AKA 'The Martin'). And they will definitely be a big change in terms of sound coming from a Yamaha.

The satin silver one is much rarer (if original, and if you're into rarity)...it might also have US engraved on it, as some of these were used in military bands. If both are in equal condition, the silver plated tenor is the better deal of the two (again, at least from the collect-ability standpoint).

IMO, a MB II is a bad choice for a Martin. While not the exact same Guardala, I have a Studio and I feel that it doesn't do anything for my Martins (in fact, it takes something away). For a lack of a better description, it makes the saxes lose that special richness in timbre that makes me want to play them in the first place.

I've used a 105/2 M vintage Berg for the longest time, but the last few months I've been playing my new 10* 'Vintage' HR Link...it really brings out the fat lower end of these horns.

As far as intonation is concerned, I've had far fewer issues with vintage Martin's than other brands. Yes, you can run into some minor issues, but the 'vintage saxes have intonation issues' statement isn't quite as true as some people make it out to be, although unfortunately the generalization seems to have stuck through time (and become more frequently used as well).

If possible, you should definitely go try out the horns and see what you think. There's no substitute for going out and blasting away to find out if a given sax is a good fit or not.

But, if it was me and I had to pick between the two...I would be a little biased towards the satin silver Comm.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,828 Posts
martins are richer in sound, than a yamaha normally i like them both, i do understand slight"intonation issues but these are nothing to be overly concerned with,as for putting mouthpieces with martins, it depends on the sound you require!..a lot of martins turn into great sounding R,n,B horns, with high baffle pieces,alternatively large chamber pieces really enhance the fatness"within the core sound!.
I would say a yamaha has a more focused sound to the martin,thats what i hear anyway..
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
Joined
·
25,981 Posts
One was a Martin Committee, serial 19xxxx. It has original lacquer...
I would be real skeptical concerning this. Martin lacquer was notoriously bad, and if the lacquer looks too good to be true, it's probably not original (absent other indicators).
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
Joined
·
3,286 Posts
No, Grumps. The "The Martin" lacquer was very much improved over the earlier Comm-I and Comm-II lacquers. I play a perfect condition original lacquer The Martin. I know its original because it still has the little sticker below the serial number (that's how you know, by the way, to the OP). The Martin horns can hold their lacquer fine.

Ok, to the OP. The Martin horns do not have significant intonation problems. Earlier Martin models had some problems (particularly back in the old "Handcraft" days). But those were ironed out by The Martin (both horns you're looking at are The Martins). The silver plate horn, if original, is a very good deal. The other is about market standard.

These can take any mouthpiece. Personally, I play a high baffle, large chamber piece (Wanne Durga). But, I've used every possible type of mouthpiece on it from links to Morgans to metalites to soloists to ..... no problems.

Very versatile sound. Dark, yes, but can cut nicely with a stronger-built piece. Definitely more spread than your Yamaha, and definitely darker. Massive projection.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
Joined
·
25,981 Posts
No, Grumps. The "The Martin" lacquer was very much improved over the earlier Comm-I and Comm-II lacquers.
Improved to what? Not so bad? Not nearly as bad? Certainly not up to par with what else that was being made at the time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the replies!

I'm going to try and sell my old Antigua tenor and then try out that satin silver Committee III. Hopefully it works out!
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top