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I currently own an Antigua Winds black lacquer alto, but play a SA80 II. I've been looking at a Martin Indiana and am curious about the differences between the three. The Antigua has a very sweet tone and pretty good action, which I love. I prefer the Selmer because it has a more focused sound plus more ease in the low and altissimo ranges. How will a vintage Indiana compare to these? I posted this in the Martin section but then realized it belonged in here instead. :oops:
 

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I think you will find that the Indiana tend to play a little looser and the pitch may not be as good. The Indiana actually has a pretty good sound and when set up right, has some nice right hand and low notes.
 

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My first horn was an Indiana bought in 1959. I used a Brilhart Tonalin with it and the tone was very rich and full--much more so than any Conn I ever played. But the intonation gave me some interesting problems (C#3 was very sharp) and the keywork was prone to things like breaking springs (very thin needle springs that rust), rusting rods, stuck rollers, you name it.

In short, it's definitely a vintage horn so don't compare it with an SA80II.
 

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clem said:
... the intonation gave me some interesting problems (C#3 was very sharp)
I have found this to be true on Indianas and Handcraft stencils since they lack the high-C# compensation mechanism. The true Handcraft models have a little lever that partially closes the C# combination key when the octave mechanism is pressed. I soldered this little lever onto my Martin Indiana altos. Also, reducing the size of the octave pip opening in the neck can help bring down the pitch of high-A through C#. With these mods in place, intonation problems on my horns are gone.
... the keywork was prone to things like breaking springs (very thin needle springs that rust), rusting rods, stuck rollers, you name it.
Sure, you'll find rust on 60 to 80 year old steel parts that haven't been lubricated consistantly, but I haven't found that Martins tend to have rusty parts more than any other horn.
 

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Stencilman:

About the C#3 playing sharp, as a matter of fact, I also owned a 1934 Handcraft Imperial and it did have the half-open lever you describe, and in fact the C#3 played very much in tune. How about that!

I mentioned the needle springs because they were very prone to rust and it was not unusual for one to break (I carried spares). The positive thing was that the keys had very light action such as I don't think you'll ever experience on a modern horn.

The best thing I recall about my Martin altos was the dark and lovely tone they both had. Listen to a 50's recording by Art Pepper and that's it!
 
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