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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've found yet another interesting deal, it's a silver Martin Handcraft for $375, great condition, serial about 40000 something or another. Yay or nay? Any reviews/experiences?

I've never dealt with Martins... :(
 

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I'd probably be tempted too.

I used to own a lacquered brass Handcraft tenor; it was a 76K series, iirc... 1927 vintage as compared to the 1924 vintage you're looking at. And I am definitely not expert enough to know what design differences may have cropped up, if any. Gut's telling me they're of similar design.

Anyhow, the old ergos are what they are and all, but let me tell you, that tenor had the loveliest, richest, dark tone, and spoke the easiest-blowing and most full-throated notes in the upper register of anything I'd ever played on. Built like a tank, too. I may have paid 325 for it back in '99, and I was happy with the purchase.

Have you had the chance to see / play test it? You could be looking at a nice deal here.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hmm, that's pretty high praise! Unfortunately, I have not been able to test it out or see it, except from pictures, and I'd be buying it as such.

Ahh...too many horns out there...!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ah, alto. I forgot to mention that. Thanks for reminding me. And I will check eBay... :)
 

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ZephyrSax said:
Hmm, that's pretty high praise!
Well, feel free to take my two cents with several hands full of salt. I am not a pro. But, I have owned several tenors over the years, and for real, I loved the tonal quality of that old Handcraft.

Good luck with it--send follow-up word if you pursue / acquire it!
 

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I have a 68k Handcraft alto (possibly relaq'd, not certain), which I got on Ebay for low $200s a few years back. It's a great horn. I'm not sure what the "vintage ergos" deal is, the only "modern" horn I have is a YAS23. I actually find the Martin easier to play (in addition to having a better sound), but that may be because it's set up so well, or because the Yamaha is a student horn. In any case, a silver Handcraft in good condition at that price sounds like a good deal, if you can live without the front high F.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the thoughts. I think I might do some haggling, and we'll see what happens.
 

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I would hold out for one form 1928 or newer. These series 2 don't have the front F which I could live without if needed BUT the pre '28 models do not have the high C# adjuster. This is the thing that closes the small stack pad to lower the pitch on high C# and palm D and helps somewhat on Eb. The horns without it really are quite sharp up there. If the one you are looking at is in good playing condition and the plating looks nice, it is well worth that price. Don't worry about older pads if they are adjusted well. You might also consider a Troubadour or Typewriter as they are quite nice and hold their value.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hmm, yes, I might miss out on those features. I knew about the front F, but not the other...It is in excellent shape, though, that's for sure.

Which "small stack pad" does it close?
 

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If it needs some work I say nay, if it's ready to play and the plating is in nice shape I say yea. I have one very close to that for sale now for more money, but it is in almost pristine shape, and ready to gig with. Great sound comes out with non-reso pads. Intonation is supposed to be tricky up high, but I'm not the player so can't comment on that.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
docmirror said:
If it needs some work I say nay, if it's ready to play and the plating is in nice shape I say yea. I have one very close to that for sale now for more money, but it is in almost pristine shape, and ready to gig with. Great sound comes out with non-reso pads. Intonation is supposed to be tricky up high, but I'm not the player so can't comment on that.
Well, I did lose out. Someone else called the guy and bought it before I did :( ...any details on yours, docmirror? Are you doing an eBay sale, or one here? I *may* be interested...;)
 

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I just won one (wow... two of the same homophone...) on eBay. I'm hoping it will be a good deal. 1927 74,000 range. Can some one explain just tad more on that c# thing. I'd like to know some more of what I'm getting into. I'm also sure this will have a great tone. I'm a little peeved that there is no front f (that is, until the 1928+ models).
 

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The C# thing is a small rod that runs from the bar under the upper stack. The bar closes teh small pad above the B pearl. This is the pad that is open on C#. On some horns, mostly sopranos and older horns, when you play C#3 (the high one), this little pad needs to be closed to bring the pitch of C# and the palm D down to be in tune. These older Martins really are quite sharp up high without it. It can be fashioned by a tech where a piece of brass or nickel rod is soldered to the underside of the bar and stretched to operate with the octave lever. A front F can be put on but is quite a job. If you like using the front F, just add the F palm key (only) to your A2 fingering, same thing.
 

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ZephyrSax said:
Well, I did lose out. Someone else called the guy and bought it before I did :( ...any details on yours, docmirror? Are you doing an eBay sale, or one here? I *may* be interested...;)
Mine is listed on this forum in the for sale section. I'm talking with a gentleman now that is interested. I'll have pictures this weekend. Bruce discusses the modifications for the horn that doesn't have the C# rod. This would be beyond my capability to add. It seems to play well the way it is, but improvements come along since 1924.
 

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bruce bailey said:
The C# thing is a small rod that runs from the bar under the upper stack. The bar closes teh small pad above the B pearl. This is the pad that is open on C#. On some horns, mostly sopranos and older horns, when you play C#3 (the high one), this little pad needs to be closed to bring the pitch of C# and the palm D down to be in tune. These older Martins really are quite sharp up high without it. It can be fashioned by a tech where a piece of brass or nickel rod is soldered to the underside of the bar and stretched to operate with the octave lever. A front F can be put on but is quite a job. If you like using the front F, just add the F palm key (only) to your A2 fingering, same thing.

Thanks for the info. I'll see what it is like when the sax gets here. I can't wait to play groovin' high for the first time in a long time.
 

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Ah, and I thought it was just me with those high notes... (1926 Handcraft, otherwise immaculate.)

I imagine the right mouthpiece might help. My Brilhart Ebolin works beautifully in the mid to lower register, but makes the high notes (everything C#/Db and above) a bit trickier than you'd like.

Sorry: not meaning to 'highjack' the thread. But thought this experience might be relevant. Others may have suggestions on a good mouthpiece to ease the passage to those high notes.
 

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When playing C#3 and above, try holding the little stack pad closed with your first finger and see what happens.
 
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