Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 42 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Ok all, I'm recently back in to enjoying playing tenor again, after 30 years. I bought a nice 50's Martin Indiana horn from Music-Oldtimer and am enjoying it. Dern thing, though, these forums talk and I've seen loads of articles on the King Super 20. Could you pro's out there that have played various makes provide some feedback on this comparison? I played 5 years through high school; best described as intermediate (good sound, intonation), and miss jazz band like no tomorrow. Glenn Miller, Sy Oliver, Chu Berry.....I loved being in Jazz Band! I've taken up with a local community concert band, and would love your feedback on best way to improve (machine-wise.......we all know the PRACTICE part!)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,808 Posts
There are others here more qualified than me to respond here, but my initial response is that this isn't exactly a fair comparison. I hold the Indiana tenors in high regard as fine horns. But I'm gonna guess you paid about $800.00 for it. You can expect somewhere around 5 times that for a Silver Sonic.

Again there are others here that will hopefully post as I have never played a Silver Sonic. But they are considered high end pro horns where the Indiana (and my '60's Martin Imperial) are kind of intermediate horns.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
Joined
·
3,286 Posts
You have to try them both to compare -- there really is no way for us to tell you whether one will be a superior tool for you. Its soooooo personal re feel, tone, etc. Both are fine instruments -- I've played some Indianas that were downright excellent.

Short version -- there is no short version. We can't tell you that you'll play better on a King. Good luck with your quest!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys. Working on a couple folks who have them to perhaps try one out, to see what all this hubbub is about. Btw, I paid twice what you mentioned for this 50s Martin Indiana---a total refurb by Max at Music-Oldtimer.com. Anyone out here know of him? Did I get ripped off?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,319 Posts
Thanks guys. Working on a couple folks who have them to perhaps try one out, to see what all this hubbub is about. Btw, I paid twice what you mentioned for this 50s Martin Indiana---a total refurb by Max at Music-Oldtimer.com. Anyone out here know of him? Did I get ripped off?
If we answered yes, you're not going to do anything drastic, are you? To put things in perspective, you can buy a The Martin, which is a more professional horn for about the same price. I have an Indiana Martin alto from the mid-fifties I got for $165.00 at a Goodwill type store. It needed a few pads. Total price was about $200.00. But, the Indiana is a wonderful horn, even if it's not rated as highly as other Martin models. So, yes, you paid more than the market would generally charge for that model.
You really don't need a Supersonic in the sense that the Indianas have a wonderful tone and are quite playable. If you happen to prefer the tone and action of the Silversonic, then that would be a selling point for the King. The main difference at this stage of your re-emerging development would be price, the really cool looks of the Supersonic and of course the ego boosting bragging rights which would go along with owning a horn like a Supersonic. :) I imagine you, like most of us, will sound like "you" on most any well set up quality horn.

Sunday afternoon I was invited to play at a jam session. I met a sax player who used to play in his younger days and is getting back into it. I brought a '49 Buescher Aristocrat 156 tenor which I bought for $600.00. I used an inexpensive new style Brilhart Levelaire ( cost about $100.00 ) since I couldn't find any reeds to fit my favorite mouthpiece. I played for about an hour and a half. When I got down, he asked me if I was playing a Mark VI. He thought I was getting a Mark VI tone out of it-I'm not sure what he meant by that, but I think he liked the loud, thinner high pitch Rock tone, complete with growls, that I was using on these blues songs. Anyways, he was complaining about his new Cannonball tenor which he didn't like the tone of. It wasn't bright enough and preferred the tone I was getting. When he played it was a more midrange type of tone. He was using the mouthpiece that came with the Cannonball, but he didn't like the way he sounded on his Berg 105/0 mouthpiece either. He asked me to keep my eyes open for a horn like mine so he could buy it. I thought I would do him a favor, so I asked him if I could play his Cannonball tenor while he was playing his baritone. I put on my mouthpiece and pretty much got the same tone I was getting from his horn as I was getting from mine. At least it sounded the same to him and it was the tone he's been looking for. He was overjoyed that he owned a good horn after all. So, now he thinks it's not the horn, but the mouthpiece that makes the difference. Now he wants to get a mouthpiece like mine. He has yet to realize it's the player first, not the horn or the mouthpiece. LOL
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
@Honeyboy: I hear what you're saying completely! In my business I run essentially antique equipment, and no two have the same character, and for the most part it's 90% operator and 10% machine. I've got 30 great machnes and 10 awesome operators.

I remember well my brand new Conn Tenor in '78 getting blasted by some fool who knocked over a music stand ---right on my mouthpiece. Was a cheap Precision mfg piece....but the sound I was able to get with that horn my bandleader (and I ) LOVED. School gave me a new mp, but it never played the same. Ever. I went off to college and parents sold my horn, and here I am again. The Martin I have sounds good----the mp that came with it is way unevenly worn on the top side (someone had a very elongated right front tooth!), so I've ordered a simple Rico Royal Graftonite A5...to give a go. More than likely i'll take a sander to the one that came with it, for a nice CUSTOM : ) fit. I've also picked up a couple decent looking alternates on eBay for less than $15 ea. I even put that Chu Berry C Mel mp on the thing and while it gives it a stuffy nose, it does sound and work neat!

You know, it always is the quest for that sound. I'm pretty much there, and generally am pleased with the mechanics and ergo design of the Martin (much better than Conn---altissimo is amazing). I'm not on a mission to blow the bank, surely, but at this stage of life, I've spent some hard labor in the salt mines, and am not in to endless bidding on EBay for another fixer upper project I don't have time for (my full time "gig" is 60 hrs/wk). Overall I think Max did a nice job with this horn, and backs up his work with a full-return guarantee. I'll keep up the practice, and the search as always.....thanks all, ESP Honeyboy, for the unvarnished input!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
Joined
·
3,286 Posts
To put things in perspective, you can buy a The Martin, which is a more professional horn for about the same price. I have an Indiana Martin alto from the mid-fifties I got for $165.00 at a Goodwill type store. It needed a few pads. Total price was about $200.00. But, the Indiana is a wonderful horn, even if it's not rated as highly as other Martin models. So, yes, you paid more than the market would generally charge for that model.
Well, this is a tricky comparison. The prices of Indiana altos and tenors are quite different. I STRUGGLED to get an Indiana tenor for a friend's kid for under $500 in good shape, fully playable. The altos can often be found for $300 playable. Up to $800-900 in newly overhauled, good cosmetic condition is probably market value for a tenor.

Over $1100 -- yes, you overpaid. So what? If you like how it plays, its water under the bridge.

Honestly, oldsaxplayer, it really sounds like you're still just re-developing your chops -- nothing wrong with that, many of us took hiatuses at different points. However, until you have your chops reasonably back together, there will be absolutely no meaningful difference in the King versus the Martin.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
You're absolutely right, mymartintenor. Chops are the key as we all know. I'm getting there, and my main curiosity between various horns is this bit about ergonomics. What IS so doggone special about the Super 20 that cost 5x the rest? The Indiana is amazingly well designed up top, at least for my small hands. The bottom, even with the adjustable thumb rest, is a bit cumbersome I find, and the reach sometimes a stretch when using the "j, k, l" keys.

I suppose to clarify my aims here---we're talking ergo. Talk to me Smokey613! ; ). Perhaps you could post a photo of the right hand set up? :mrgreen:
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2012
Joined
·
7,216 Posts
Great post Honeyboy.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
Joined
·
3,286 Posts
I suppose to clarify my aims here---we're talking ergo. Talk to me Smokey613! ; ). Perhaps you could post a photo of the right hand set up? :mrgreen:
Ah, ergos! I was way off base on what you were hunting -- can't build ergo chops! Sorry! Frankly, as compared to modern horns, the ergos of both the King and the Martin stink. Honestly, a YTS-23 feels better than either. IMO, the Martin ergos are just slightly better than the King's (I've played plenty of both), but I'm such a "Martin" guy that I'm probably very biased.

Sorry for misunderstanding!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
33,531 Posts
Yes, I concur. Tasteful, without too much ego, or overtone of condescension, right? ; )
I just read H'Boy's post again and I don't think one should take it as condescending - unless you really want to.

Watch out for this place. If you only want to read the slap on the back posts that tell you to buy that next horn 'cause it'll take your playing to the Next Level, you'll end up a gear head that would rather look at a mouthpiece than play it to know what it sounds like.

Enjoy your horn.

Tenor - It's all that matters.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2012
Joined
·
7,216 Posts
Tasteful yes, and something that I relate to.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2011-2015
Joined
·
1,869 Posts
Ah, ergos! I was way off base on what you were hunting -- can't build ergo chops! Sorry! Frankly, as compared to modern horns, the ergos of both the King and the Martin stink. Honestly, a YTS-23 feels better than either. IMO, the Martin ergos are just slightly better than the King's (I've played plenty of both), but I'm such a "Martin" guy that I'm probably very biased.

Sorry for misunderstanding!
As in all things it is a matter of personal preference. If you have no experience with a Super 20 tenor, do not judge it based on any other King tenor sax. I know I am biased, I do not hide it, but I have tried MKVI, YTS-23, YTS-62, T991, Selmer Series II, Buescher, Conn, etc. I admit to having never played a Martin of any kind and very few of the newer saxes on the market. My Super 20 fits me the best. The main thing is play as many as possible before making a decision. It is the little things sometimes that make a big difference.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2012
Joined
·
7,216 Posts
If you have no experience with a Super 20 tenor, do not judge it based on any other King tenor sax.
Have you played Zephyrs, say 281xxx-305xxx?
 
1 - 20 of 42 Posts
Top