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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. There's a silver Martin Handcraft tenor, serial #48845 available on Craigslist that I'm interested in. It appears to be in pretty good shape, but I would like to learn more about the horn. Stamped on the back is: Martin, the serial number, and beneath that is "LOW PITCH". Can anybody help me locate information on this horn? Thank you. - dale.
 

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I don't know whether that's fairly late or early, you can look up the serial number and find out.

I have played with a couple guys who had these and they sounded very good indeed.

If you plan to use it seriously I would only buy it if it has the front high F key (I don't know when this was added to Martin tenors).

It probably will play a lot better in tune with a mouthpiece of medium to large chamber (think Meyer or bigger, a #0 Berg Larsen probably won't give good results).
 

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I have an even earlier Handcraft tenor - 22k c. 1920.

Of the 3 Martin tenors I have including a 1942 HC and 1954 Comm 3, the 1920 has the fattest tone. It is a lot of fun to play but it is a period instrument. The ergos will be awkward to some along with the lack of a front F.

Even without the F key, I'd take it over a Conn NW, and it survived my 'herd thinning' to a series 3 Buescher. Did I mention the fat tone?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Information regarding Martin Handcraft tenor #48845, please?

I have an opportunity to buy a silver-plated(?) Martin Handcraft tenor, serial #48845. Where can I learn more about this horn? I've read about Committee I, Committee 2, Indiana, etc. but I don't know where this Handcraft sits? Is it a Standard? A Special? Is there a single source for information on Martin saxophones? On the back body tube is stamped: "MARTIN 48845 LOW PITCH. The horn appears to be in very good condition, and I would hope to use it as an alternative to my Kessler in my big band, and our lead alto plays a wonderful The Martin. What might I expect from this older horn? I would be happy to do my own research if I knew where to look! Thank you!
 

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Re: Information regarding Martin Handcraft tenor #48845, please?

The Martin story is one of the best places

http://www.themartinstory.net/version7/cookieLaw.php

It is an Handcraft, you are saying this yourself and it should have no other designation or it would have it right there on the bell.

This is the handcraft section

http://www.themartinstory.net/version7/models-handcraft.php

The serial number puts it into a early to mid ’20 range.

It should be a very good horn. it is unlikely that a horn so old and which looks very good hasn’t been relacquered but a silver plated is unlikely to have been replated. I am sure that it would play and feel very differently from your Kessler but itmay have a lot more personality , as a good vintage horn should.

Good Luck!
 

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These are decent horns, really as good as any other American splitbellkey and better than some, actually. Intonation is good, they blow freely, and indeed they sound very BIG.

Some of these splitbells had the Front F..dunno if that was a factory option. But if Front F not there it's not quite outfitted with all the 'usual' keys then, although FWIW a tech can outfit it with one in a few ways, probably for around $150-ish.

Keep in mind, the market value of one of these should only be around $500...in GOOD condition: playing up and down, no significant dents, pretty clean inside and out, and pads looking pretty healthy or better.

If anyone is asking MORE than that....tell them that a Handcraft Standard or Handcraft Imperial in the above condition (the horns which came after these and before the Committees) as well as the later Indiana model all only run around $750-800 and are much more desirable.

If any of those positive attributes above are absent, then really the horn isn't worth much, market-wise. A 'project' one, needing disassembly, cleaning, some new pads, some bodywork, etc...worth maybe $250 absolute tops.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Threads are now merged. Note to dalegregg: please stick to one thread per topic, cross posting gets confusing.
Thank you for merging. I found additional information, so I reposted with additional questions. I didn't know I had cross-posted. Sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Re: Information regarding Martin Handcraft tenor #48845, please?

The Martin story is one of the best places

http://www.themartinstory.net/version7/cookieLaw.php

It is an Handcraft, you are saying this yourself and it should have no other designation or it would have it right there on the bell.

This is the handcraft section

http://www.themartinstory.net/version7/models-handcraft.php

The serial number puts it into a early to mid ’20 range.

It should be a very good horn. it is unlikely that a horn so old and which looks very good hasn’t been relacquered but a silver plated is unlikely to have been replated. I am sure that it would play and feel very differently from your Kessler but itmay have a lot more personality , as a good vintage horn should.

Good Luck!
Thanks for the lead to The Martin Story. If that had popped up during my Google search, I would have known what I need to know! Great site.
 

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Thank you for merging. I found additional information, so I reposted with additional questions. I didn't know I had cross-posted. Sorry.
It's all related, alternatively you could edited your first post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
These are decent horns, really as good as any other American splitbellkey and better than some, actually. Intonation is good, they blow freely, and indeed they sound very BIG.

Some of these splitbells had the Front F..dunno if that was a factory option. But if Front F not there it's not quite outfitted with all the 'usual' keys then, although FWIW a tech can outfit it with one in a few ways, probably for around $150-ish.

Keep in mind, the market value of one of these should only be around $500...in GOOD condition: playing up and down, no significant dents, pretty clean inside and out, and pads looking pretty healthy or better.

If anyone is asking MORE than that....tell them that a Handcraft Standard or Handcraft Imperial in the above condition (the horns which came after these and before the Committees) as well as the later Indiana model all only run around $750-800 and are much more desirable.

If any of those positive attributes above are absent, then really the horn isn't worth much, market-wise. A 'project' one, needing disassembly, cleaning, some new pads, some bodywork, etc...worth maybe $250 absolute tops.
Thanks for the info! Certainly puts the horn into context for me, and gives me a good idea of what I'm willing to pay.
 

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Prices are not firm and I think Jaye may be on the low side at this point. This one from 1919 just sold on eBay for $699 plus shipping.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-TH...al-Hard-Case-Nice-Plating-19502/133189406211?
I was following one in gold plate and was surprised to see it sell for 2 grand or better.

I have been noticing both higher prices and less availability of the Standards, Specials or Imperials - all of which are still the same Handcraft with variations to the keywork. The front F found its way on to these early Handcrafts about the same time as it did on Buescher, the late 20s. There is plenty of room to add a key. But if you are going to go for a more modern Martin, the best buys still seem to be on the Committees.

But if you can grab yours at the right price, you'll be pleased, I'm sure.
 

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Prices are not firm and I think Jaye may be on the low side at this point. This one from 1919 just sold on eBay for $699 plus shipping.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-TH...al-Hard-Case-Nice-Plating-19502/133189406211?
I was following one in gold plate and was surprised to see it sell for 2 grand or better.
Wow that is crazy....quite a stupid buyer, actually....$700 and it likely needs a full repad, which adds another $500. Granted the finish is in excellent shape....so perhaps a bit of an outlier.

You can get a Comm I, refurbished, for $1200.....

...here are a few more project ones, a bit saner in price than $700...but maybe indeed I underestimated:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/The-Martin...469519?hash=item3b39e65f8f:g:ANIAAOSwlddc1eWT

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Ma...=true&nordt=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

I still would not pay that sorta $ for a project one...I think all of these sales represent poor decisions by the buyers; Indiana project horns, for instance, are cheaper and they are better horns....

But yeah, I guess revise up my previous estimates a bit....
 

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Again, prices are all over the place all over the world.

A friend bought relacquered Indiana in perfect playing conditions for €700 and the same horn (he has the receipt) was sold 5 years before from a local shop for €1600 .
 

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Perhaps the buyer didn't want a refurbished Comm 1.

I disagree that Indianas are "better horns". In fact, they seem quite different from one and other depending on the year. The early ones look fine but the newer ones are stripped down with clunky action parts.

Fair market value is determined by a reasonable buyer and seller. That buyers are paying for instruments is proof alone. No sense in questioning the intelligence of an anonymous buyer. It's in the books as a sale. Next one that comes up has the reference.

i did mention their tone, right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well, guys, sorry. All this commotion over ... nothing. The Martin Handcraft was indeed in very good shape. No dents, no dings, low action, no corrosion, pads good, it played from top to bottom ... but it wasn't a tenor. It was a C melody. It had been their son's horn in high school. They though it was a tenor because of the neck. I can hear the band director now: "What is wrong with you? You're at least a whole step sharp ALL THE TIME!" Poor kid. Cards were stacked against him!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

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You were absolutely right. Pretty horn, well-maintained and in perfect playing condition, but I have absolutely no use for a C-melody.
They are very nice sounding horns and all you need is get used to concert key scales. It's really not as difficult as you may think :soapbox: :twisted:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
It IS a nice sounding horn, but most of my playing is with a big band reading charts. I have enough challenge with many fast-paced solis with crazy rhythms and accidentals without adding transposition to the mess!
 
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