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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had a Martin Handcraft come in for a complete overhaul yesterday- can't really get my hands on the horn like I'd want to yet, but was found in a closet after client's grandmother passed. Dated 1925-1926, will definitely be showing the cleaned up photos when we're finished in two+ months.
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Cool find! I'll be interested to see the end result. Also, maybe it's the lighting, but the neck cork looks in surprisingly good condition for a horn that's been moldering in a closet for who knows how long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Cool find! I'll be interested to see the end result. Also, maybe it's the lighting, but the neck cork looks in surprisingly good condition for a horn that's been moldering in a closet for who knows how long.
There was a big crack in the bottom of it (slightly visible), but the neck itself was actually in the little compartment rather than the neck hole in the case- I think that helped with that because half of the pads have moth holes in them. Surprisingly, the case is in good condition save the flimsy latches, so I don't think we'll have to do anything there.
 

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Just Fyi if you don’t know - the early Martins had a tendency to play pretty sharp on high C#, so about the time they introduced the Front-F they also started incorporating an adjustment bar in the mechanism that would partially close the “C” pad when you activated the octave mechanism. At least that’s how I recall it working on a split-bell horn with front F I used to have. The Committee I horns have it, too, though it’s easier to adjust than on the earlier horns.

In any case, don’t be surprised if the high C# plays sharp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Would love to show this off for you all, but unfortunately the kid called back yesterday and changed his mind on the overhaul- was returned back to him without any work started on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That's a shame. I hope that doesn't mean it's getting turned into a "decorative lamp."
I hope so too. We told him how much it was worth and he didn't pay anything for it, so at the very worst he would have broken even. I was not here when he picked it up, but I hope that was stressed.
 

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1940’s Martin Handcraft screamer
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Just Fyi if you don't know - the early Martins had a tendency to play pretty sharp on high C#, so about the time they introduced the Front-F they also started incorporating an adjustment bar in the mechanism that would partially close the "C" pad when you activated the octave mechanism. At least that's how I recall it working on a split-bell horn with front F I used to have. The Committee I horns have it, too, though it's easier to adjust than on the earlier horns.

In any case, don't be surprised if the high C# plays sharp.
So all the later handcrafts with the front f have the c# adjustmeant ?
 

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Can’t say for sure whether one was introduced before the other, but if you’ve got a split-bell Handcraft alto with a front-F odds are it has the adjuster. Can’t say about the various intervening models, but my Committee I alto also has it. Don’t know about the Committee II horns.
 

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I have a Comm 1 without the adjuster. I think I've seen Comm2s with it, but I'm not sure.

The presence/absence of this feature seems not to be very consistent on the old Martins. However, it's not hard to add. A sharp upper C# is way better than a flat middle C# like Selmer chose.
 

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I have a Comm 1 without the adjuster. I think I've seen Comm2s with it, but I'm not sure.

The presence/absence of this feature seems not to be very consistent on the old Martins. However, it's not hard to add. A sharp upper C# is way better than a flat middle C# like Selmer chose.
I think the Comm I horns got tweaked a bit during that series; is yours an early or a later one? Mine's pretty early.
 

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As far as my experience' the series III with the front F had the C# adjuster. Any model before that (83,000ish) are not worth restoring. I have never seen a Comm I without the screw adjustment for the C#.
 

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...I have never seen a Comm I without the screw adjustment for the C#.
I have one. Don't know the SN and it's buried in the storage space so I can't get to it now. I'd have to look closely to confirm this, but I don't remember any evidence that it was ever there, either.
 

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I have one. Don't know the SN and it's buried in the storage space so I can't get to it now. I'd have to look closely to confirm this, but I don't remember any evidence that it was ever there, either.
What did the neck octave key look like - did it have a full ring in the old style or did it loop around to the back in the modern style? Late in the Comm I run they changed the neck key.
 

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My Comm I alto had the high C# adjuster and the solid nickel keys. With a little screw manipulation on my part, the high C# snapped right into pitch.

The Comm 1 has the very best low register of any alto I ever played (and I own 1951 Buescher 140, 1967 Selmer Mark VI, and 1962 Conn Artist 6M). Have played lots of other makes belonging to friends and colleagues as well, and nothing beats the Martin Comm 1 for warm tone with an edge. It is a fantastic alto for small combo work, and choosing concert keys that allow this alto's low register to be used for a portion of the song gives an alto tone not usually heard.
 
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