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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Just purchased this alto off ebay. The unimaginative engraving did not bother me, but reading about an influx of asian horns being sold as BELMONTE (with E on end) did give me pause. Why the rather generic "Made in U.S.A."? I wouldn't have thought that would be a big selling point for a horn sold in the USA. Globalization hadn't kicked in yet.

This is after the split bell era - but what model would you say it is? The straight forward (budget) Key guards didn't match any pics I saw on www.themartinstory (LOVE that site!) Is it true that the serial number system for martin stencils is useless for model/year identification?

I'd appreciate any feedback on model and/or year. Thanks! See link below

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=330154121900&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih=014
 

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My guess is that it was made by the Indiana Band Inst. Co. after the Martin buyout. I have a 1933 Indian head one (Indiana) an dit looks similar but with the opposing bell keys and front alt. Eb. I would put it in the 1935-42 period. If the bell rings are fluted like the old Pontiac hood stripes, that would confirm this. I cannot tell in the photos. Many stencils thought to be from Martin were actually Indianas or Courturiers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Identifying stencil

Hmmm...Pontiac hood stripes. I'm sure I'll know what you mean when/if I see them. I'll report back when horn arrives. So you're thinking that this is a stencil of an Indiana Band Company(IBC) model and not a stencil of a Martin model.

What do you think of the theory on 'the martinstory' site that Indiana Band instruments produced ALL the Martin stencils.

I wonder when IBC adopted beveled tone holes? When Martin bought company in 1928 or sometime later?

I have not heard of 'Courturiers' - is this another Indiana Band Co. model?
 

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All IBIco horns had the beveled holes. I think that Martin bought them in 1928 but had some connection before that. Courturier was another company and was bought by Lyon & Healy around 1927. I have 2 L&H altos and a soprano which also look like a Martin BUT the bore is a bit larger. I really don't know how they play as they are still awaiting time to repad> I guess I will sell them!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
stencil vs second-line vs operating Independently

Yes, IBIco was technically part of Martin during the years Bruce is talking about. I was getting confused over -stencils/second line, etc and their realtionship with Martin pre 1942. After '42, IBIco is making 'second-line' (and some very good ones) like 'The Indiana by Martin'and were making the Martin stencils.
But IBIco was allowed to operate independently from 28-42. That's the time period that's a fog to me. There's no site that shows their models as this was a smaller company. I know they made some slit bell Indiana models as I've seen those and they adopted the beveled tone holes pre-'42. I'm sure TheMartin is right that they also were making horns destined to be Martin Stencils.

I'm GUESSING that this Belmont is a stencil of a handcraft committee. This would fit Bruce's guess on years as I understand that stencils would usually be of models from a few years earlier.
But really, I'm HOPING this one is worth fixing up - as I know I won't be able to resist.

MM
 

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Perhaps a Standard or Imperial? With no front F it could be an early one.
There is a pic of a similar horn on saxpics.com
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Stencil arrived

Silverplated Belmont arrived yesterday. The beveled tone holes do not look unusual -they look like typical Martins, and just like those on my (unengraved) Home Model. My Home model is 18xxx, which would be 1936 if the first digit had been dropped. I did look for google images of Pontiac Hood stripes, though.

Overall condition shows promise -light tarnish/crud with no pitting and no dings/dents. Really heavy horn. Really!

I do want to comment on a utilitarian cosmetic detail that I have not seen mentioned before. The decorative bands that join the bow with the body and the bell on most Martins is usually a simple wide band with a thin line on either side. Doh! I'm just realizing now that maybe this is what Bruce called -"Bell Ring"s in his earlier post.

This Belmont and my Home Model (as well as some others pictured on themartinstory site) have a band (Bell Rings?) that is engraved as 5 thin bands. I've also see this on a couple Indianas, but not all.

Could this simple identifer give some indication of a time period? Of IBIco work?

And is it true there is no rhyme or reason to 'Martin' stencil serial numbers? No code to break? No one has written their dissertation on this? What a shame.:?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Bow Conector Band (BCB)

If I do write a disseratation, I decided I had better coin some phrases. I will refer to the typical wide bands ("Bell Rings?") mentioned above and seen on most Martins as "wedding band" style. For the less common style -with 5/6 thin lines - joining the bow to body and bell, I will need a term. Would 'Pontiac Hood Stripe' style be accurate?;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Mystery solved -thanks

Thanks for the detective help.I've decided that this Belmont satin silver alto is a Standard Special. Same side Keys, no low Eb below D key (a la Imperial and Standard) and the left-pinky cluster is stacked (1-2-1) with Bb at the bottom. Handcraft Committee has the spread pinky cluster (1-3).
Made at Indiana band Instrument Co (like all Martin stencils?) with those tell-tale Bell rings (Pontiac Hood Stripes).
The serial number of 25416 would put this in the IBIco numbers at 1941. This makes sense if stencils are often trailing edge models of the parent company. IF, this was a stencil made at the Martin parent factory - could they have purposely dropped the first digit? Then this would fit into the Martin serial numbers at 1937 - the first year out for a Standard Special.

What do you think? I think that this Martin serial number code can be cracked.
 

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1941 would be correct. I think themartinstory numbers are pretty accurate. It appears that the IBIco horns started the numbers from 1 when Martin bought them so there may be some pre 1928 numbers out there cluttering things up. My 1933 model is a real beauty but not worth much!
One place where I have been working with themartinstory is in overlapping models. It seems that there are Typewriters and Troubadors that are outside the accepted build years. I always watch ebay and try to identify abnormal numbers. I also have the second highest Martin number on an Imperial Alto from 1970. Again, a wonderfull horn that is not worth anything!
When you really get going, let me know and I will sell off one of my Typewriter altos with a nice finish. I try to have one of each model but have a few duplicates. Check out those gold plated HCs on saxpics. Really nice.
 

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I'm watching this with interest as well, because I have a growing number of Martins & Martin stencils, 20's to 60's (C, Eb and one Bb tenor) with the stencils having a real mixed bag of bow/body/bell band styles - and, having made the wrong choice for a donor/parts C-mel, often with bits that aren't quite interchangeable....
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Martin Serial Numbers

I'm glad to hear that's a reliable serial number list. I do love www.themartinstory.net and appreciate all who build help such a great resource. I'm going to send Edwin some $ to buy himself a Heineken. (Alans' site on C-melodies http://www.cmelodysax.co.uk/ is another of my regular stops on the web).

Bruce -thanks for your confirmation on the 1941 DOB for the Alto I started this thread with. By this same rule, I can look at that my Home Model C-melody. This is an interesting case as this model only had a 2-year run 1935-1937. My unengraved horn -no name/no body number - has only a neck serial number of 18102. I had assumed it was a dropped first digit so it would fit into very early '37 numbers at the Martin factory. But it has the 'Pontiac hood Stripe' Bell Rings that imply IBIco factory and that neck number fits perfectly in the LATE 1937 horns produced there.

I 'd like to imagine it was one of the last C-melody horns made and they just didn't bother to finish - a stencil that never found a taker.

It will be good to crack the martin serial numbers - certainly would be nice to fill in the missing years at Indiana Band Instrument Company (IBIco) for The Martin Story.

MM
 

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To add to the confusion, there are other brands with the same tone holes as the Martins. Early ELKHARTs (non-Buescher) and Courturier (which became Lyon & Healy) which built some for Holton.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
After picture of Belmont

Since the Ebay link will expire at some point, here is an after photo of my 'Belmont' Handcraft Standard Special stencil. The after picture shows the 'Pontiac Hood Stripe bell rings that Bruce picked up on (several years ago, i' might add). I can't say enough about this horn. It has light, fast action on the keys and is very responsive with very little air. I don't think it could have played better in 1941. These very affordable Martin stencils ( IBIco) seem like a terrific value.
This was purchased from seller in Western New York - not far from Belmont, NY. Do any SOTWers from that part of New York state recognize the Belmont name? Silver horns from that date aren't too common.
 
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