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Discussion Starter #1
Info. on this horn seems rather sketchy, I've poked around here but couldn't find an answer. Was this considered a "pro" horn or an "intermediate" horn? Any comparisons to other Martins or general impressions would be helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. It's a bit confusing because the Handcraft line (with no "Standard" added to the name) appeared to end in 1929. If this chart (see link below) is correct, once 1935 hit, they were making both the "Handcraft Standard + Special" and the "Committee" (and then in 1938 the "Committee II) all through the early 40's. I don't know if this means they were just making different pro models or the Handcraft Standard was considered some kind of "intermediate" horn. Clearly when the "Indiana" came on board that was a student model with a different serial number range, although it has a great rep. I guess my real question is, is the Committee "better" than the "Handcraft Standard" and if so, it it a significant difference?

http://www.saxpics.com/?v=ser&manID=14
 

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The themartinstory.net article I linked to above has a brief discussion of tone. However, IMO I think the significant difference is the ergos of the left hand table keys. Like many older horns, the Handcraft standard is missing a roller to low Bb. I dislocated my left hand pinkie finger decades ago, and it resulted in a kink at the joint such that when I use a horn with no Bb roller, my nail tends to hang up in the gap between keys. But that is me, not necessarily anyone else. Most Indianas have a similar arrangement, and you can try one of those out to see if you can play that type of table smoothly.

I have read many SOTW threads where members speak very highly of the CommI and CommII horns, and the fact that at least the CommI can be purchased at a generally lower price than the CommII or CommIII. Having said all this, I am no Martin expert. I have only owned an Indiana tenor in the past. I hope some of the Martin experts jump in and provide information for you.
 

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I don't have any actual useful information on this, but I will note that Martin appear to have been the worst about changing models like most people change their socks, right up till they finally settled on the Comm 3 (or maybe that's just when they ran out of money for design changes). Lots of good instruments, but the number of variations, name changes, etc., often running concurrently, is really hard to keep up with.
 

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I have 3 Martin tenors for comparison.

1920 Handcraft, one of the early series with beveled tone holes.
https://www.facebook.com/pg/StuartSaxophone/photos/?tab=album&album_id=422362244527878

1942 Handcraft Standard Special
https://www.facebook.com/pg/StuartSaxophone/photos/?tab=album&album_id=698761270221306

And a Committee 3, you've probably seen several.

I hope I can avoid an argument about this but, Handrcrafts are all basically the same with variations on the key work, neck brace, alt Eb tone hole etc. They all have the beveled tone holes and their action is built on single long rods for both stack keys. It appears to me that the Handcraft morphed into the Indiana in the early 40s. Same tone holes and, I believe, same long rod stack build. Perhaps the only thing that is different between the Standard and Special may be a roller on the low Bb.

I don't know much about the Comms other than the 3. C1 looks a lot like a Handcraft with the newer cup-like tone holes and nickel key work. C2 has a different neck and bell shape along with modernized key work which has independent posts and rods for G#, G and Bb bis along with distinct key guards and other cosmetics.

Playing the HcS in comparison to the C3, there are obvious and subtle differences. Obvious - the ergos are quite different. Subtle, all 3 of my tenors have distinct tone qualities which are both similar and different at the same time. It's hard to decide which is better or even preferred.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Rob, very helpful! As turf3 said, it seems Martin really had their hands in changing and tweaking multiple models through the years. Neither good nor bad but that's my amateur observation.

Since you have a Handcraft Standard Special, couple questions. Do you find the ergos (single long rods for stacks) annoying? I think my '42 King Zephyr had that (I have since sold it) but that was an alto. Wasn't bad, certainly wasn't a "modern feel" either. Second, do you think that horn would do well in a standard jazz setting (ballads, more "whispering tone" type of playing)? Obviously a lot of that is player/mpc....just asking because I saw your comment on that one pic about being a rock n' roll horn.

Thanks for your help on this!
 

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The ergos on the 1920 make most players hand it right back to me. Tone-wise, it's my favorite. The feel of the 1942 Handcraft is a lot better. There's no problem getting around quickly on the single rod construction horns. However, I would imagine alignment is critical and damaging such a set up could be devastating to the instrument.

I set the 42 up with key heights as open as I could and it really is the loudest horn I can recall. I don't really remember a couple of King Zephyrs that I had and I wasn't using that Wolfie Tayne BARI .110 mouthpiece.

It works equally well with my Link STM6*. I've yet to try it with a recently acquired Matt Voss made Meyer .108. I'm sure it will be fine. Dark but maybe not so smokey. The horn is more focused than Conns and I do think the 42 has a King vibe. It would be nice to do a shootout.
 

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Good conversation, I agree with most of above. Just as an aside, the Handcraft morphing into the Indiana...I am not sure I concur as the upper stack design of the Indiana is different, as are some other keywork mechanisms.

It'd be interesting to measure up the bodies of the two models, though...as I have never actually done that although I have Indiana specs recorded here....and quite honestly, the writeups on both themartinstory and saxpics are pretty darn losoey-goosey, comments based mostly on appearance. A solid measure-up of the various bodies would provide much more concrete answers.

I believe there are other threads here regarding the Standard. Unfortunately, the change in ownership of the website did not improve the search function any, so many threads still fall thru the cracks.

I think, OP, you sorta need to start pushing past this 'intermediate'-'pro' thing. Understand quite simply that even back in the 30's, instrument mfr's understood that they needed horns at various price points in order to compete. "Intermediate, Student, Pro"...these were marketing labels which came into being several decades later.

A more apropos question would probably be...."Are there significant differences between a Handcraft Standard, Handcraft Special, and (I'll throw in) Handcraft Imperial ?"...as opposed to concentrating on "which one was the Pro horn ?"

 

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The Imperial looks to me to be a Handcraft with the front mounted alt Eb and nickel key work. The Music Master aka Typewriter was a Handcraft with all pearl buttons. Etc.

I never messed with Indianas and certainly take your word for the different stacks. It's still the same Handcraft horn with different keywork. And cheaper as the years went on. The 60s Imperial was still the beveled tone hole Handcraft but far less well finished with clunky keys. Perhaps that's what was meant by intermediate. Not the player level, the skill of the craftsman making the horn.

Martins were all pro level until the Indiana, IMHO. Great for big band b/c of the way they can project. I think they were most popular in the Midwest. Perhaps we can get PaulWL in on this convo.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Really good info here. I agree, not good to get hung up on "student/intermediate/pro" categorizations (particularly with Martins, apparently) but I do like to know that info for the sake of price point, if I decide to go this route.
 

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If you are looking at tenors, mine is available at a more reasonable price than on the Facebook album.
I have offered it to the mechanic restoring my '86 BMW but he takes cash just fine, too.
 

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I think that's right, Bruce.
Interesting that the Standard has the alt Eb.
Does it have a roller on the low Bb?
 

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The Imperial looks to me to be a Handcraft with the front mounted alt Eb and nickel key work. The Music Master aka Typewriter was a Handcraft with all pearl buttons. Etc.

I never messed with Indianas and certainly take your word for the different stacks. It's still the same Handcraft horn with different keywork.
I am gonna say Jury is Out on that one until I can get a Handcraft Standard/Special/Imperial body here to compare it to. They well could be the same body and neck specs, perhaps minus a tonehole. It'd be interesting if that were the case. But I think perhaps not, b/c my recollection is there are some tonal/sonic/blowing differences between an Indiana and a Handcraft Standard/Imperial.

Indianas might not be considered in the same echelon as the Committees...but IMHO they are still very good horns. I would say my favorite second-shelf American model, actually.....not to be glossed over, IMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If you are looking at tenors, mine is available at a more reasonable price than on the Facebook album.
I have offered it to the mechanic restoring my '86 BMW but he takes cash just fine, too.
Thanks, have a couple things I'm watching on Ebay etc. but I will definitely keep that in mind. Pretty sharp looking horn!
 

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The difference in the "special" and standard seems to be the front alt. Eb.
Bruce, didn’t the “student,intermediate,pro descriptions start post WWII? Pre war options were Brass,Silver or Gold plate instrument?
Is there a historical thread on this to point the OP to ?
 

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I would question MartinStory's description/info on the Standards. I think he has it backward. The Comm 1 is a lot like the Handcraft body but with the new Committee tone hole shape and updated nickel key work. Not, the Standard/Special is a watered down Comm.
 

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I have a Handcraft Imperial. 1933 if I recall correctly. I sold a Comm 1 and have had several Comm III tenors. I think the Comm 1 is a spectacular sounding horn. I think the bell on my Imperial is a little smaller and the pinky table is different. I suspect the Handcraft standard is very similar. I don't know about Indiana tenors but do know about the altos.
 
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