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Discussion Starter #1
This has probably been asked before, but, as a relatively new convert to Martin, I wish to know which were the Pro models & which were merely student.
ie. which is the alto to buy?
 

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Check out the Martin Story site at: http://www.themartinstory.net/version7/
Under the Model Details tab there is the class of horn and some detail. If you do a search on this forum and the web you will find out lots of opinions and information. There are players who like every model as their favorite for one reason or another. I have a Comm II & Comm III but keep coming back to play the Indiana for some reason. It plays so well. Do not overlook the Indiana, Medalist, or Imperial, even though they are considered an intermediate horn, they can be great players and seem way undervalued in price. As a reference, there is always one on ebay in the US $200-$300 range (alto). See if you can find a few different modelsto play and go from there. Be careful, they are addicting!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Many thanks...exactly what I need.
Today I accompanied a chum, a semi pro, who wished to change his yani alto for a horn with more of a vintage "American" sound. We drove 100 miles to try a 1935 Conn...good, but not good enough to merit the high price asked.
Back at my place he picked up & blew my "typewriter" C...he was blown away with the sound...a real Toad of Toad Hall moment...."all those wasted years behind me"...lovely to watch.
Now he has to buy a Martin. Hence my initial question.
Again, my thanks.
 

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I guess my "Dick Stabile" model tenor was produced more as a student than a pro horn? Good one, though. We've had a few altos for sale on here at good prices over the years.
 

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Yeah, the so called lesser horns like the Indiana can be great. I have one and it has a great sound though you have to hang on to it a bit to keep the intonation on.
I think the early Handcrafts whilst great sounding don't have as good mechanism as later models. I'd look for the ones with the bell keys on the same side as a rough guide, but they can all be worth a look. Most of the stencils are based on the early Handcraft but it is a little simplified which I think can make it a bit more reliable. (Though they can do with a couple of extra posts fitting to stop come of the keywork banding about on tenor models particularly.) Even Martin stencils are worth a look and make good horns.

The one to look out for is probably a 'The Martin' with the adjustable thumbrest. And as they're all a bit old think about including a repad in your budget.
 

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If he loved the sound of the Typewriter, then he should consider the earlier model Handcraft Committees in addition to "The Martin." The HC Committee I (Searchlight) and HC Committee II (Lion & Crown) models (made in the 1930's to early 1940's) have adjustable thumb rests just like the later "The Martin" (made from 1940's to 1960's) and actually have a more comfortable heart-shaped left thumb rest. I have owned all three models, and felt that the Searchlight and Lion & Crown both had a more "velvety" sound and vibe, which I preferred, than "The Martin." The "The Martin" was definitely loud and an ideal blues/rock horn. I traded that one, and kept the two earlier models. It could also have been the set-up, of course, so the bottom line is that your friend should try out as many Martins as he can, but keep a special eye on those earlier models, especially since he dug the sound of the Typewriter so much. And an earlier Indiana is basically a copy of an HC Committee II, so he wouldn't go wrong there, either.
 

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I guess my "Dick Stabile" model tenor was produced more as a student than a pro horn? Good one, though. We've had a few altos for sale on here at good prices over the years.
The Stabile is a great horn and made around the same time and with the same tooling as the HC Committee I/II, as far as I understand, so I've definitely always considered that a pro horn. :thumbrig:
 

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PM bruce bailey. get him in here. all your Martin questions may be answered.

here's my answer to the OP: I don't think of any Martin models as "merely student." The low end Martins were the Indianas but they're still good horns. I don't know much about the altos though. For tenor or bari, I don't think you can go wrong with any model that says "The Martin" on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Many thanks to you all....I am having to learn a new language incorporating such splendid titles as Searchlight & Lion & Crown.
As a point of interest as a Martin tyro myself, is my Typewriter the typical Martin sound?....ie In what respects do the various models vary in terms of sound, if indeed they do. So far, I have learn from your responses that the Commitees 1 & 2 seem to be less hairy than the Handcraft & The Martin....this, I can only assume , is relative & minimal, & Martin's big thick lush sound is present in all models.
 

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The Indiana/medalist/Imperial are all fine horns but in today's market, you can have one of the high end horns for about the same price. I find the earlier horns to be a bit darker but the LH pinky keys are less user friendly. The above mentioned Typewriter would fall into the early category. There are the Handcraft series I, II and III, the Troubador and Typewriter. The III, Typewriter and Troubador are all about the same. The horns with the left side bell keys are more popular and the keywork is more modern. As to prices, they tend to get higher as the models progressed but a good finish can add value. I would assume that the UK prices will be higher.
For reference, I have Martin altos priced from $600 (Comm I) to $1,600 (Magna) with Typewriter, Gold PLated HC, Comm II priced in the middle. Tenors run slightly higher going from about $950-1,500. Right now Baris and C Melodies are pretty low in the US. Sopranos are on the higher side but are really great. The C sopranos are the best of all the Cs.
When picking a martin, don't be put off by a relacquer. The factory lacquer never held up well so if it is redone correctly, you should be OK. I have found that relacs often sell for more than ratty originals. Now if you can find a plated horn, you are in good shape. You may find a decent Indiana on US ebay in the $500-700 range (alto or tenor).
Here are some photos of the ones I have up. Look in the Martin tags: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/alltags/
Also: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/tags/martingoldiii/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/tags/martingoldii/
If you find something on ebay UK, send me a link and I can fill you in.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Many thanks for such an explicit reply....as have been all the others. I am learning quickly.
Neither I nor my chum find any problem with the ergos of the Handcraft....at least, the typewriter, so Handcraft may well be the best bet. Ohhhh, that sound.
 

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told ya to Get Bruce. :D

if I was looking for a top quality pro Martin alto, I'd want to check out bruce's Magna for $1600. I'd also want to look at the Comm II, and the Comm I for $600 is certainly worth considering. That's a good horn for not a lot of bread.
 

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The Stabile is a great horn and made around the same time and with the same tooling as the HC Committee I/II, as far as I understand, so I've definitely always considered that a pro horn. :thumbrig:
I think it depends on the meat attached to it!
 

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I buy a lot of Martins and when I find a nicer finish, I get it and sell the next one down for whatever I have in it, thus moving these. Right now you can find some really nice horns ripe for an overhaul on ebay. Altos are around but tenors, sopranos and baris are a bit scarce.
 

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There was a gorgeous Searchlight (aka Comm. I) that ended on eFlay this afternoon....went for only 4 bill$ and it had a really cool engraving, was in fantastic shape also...


Indianas are nice horns, they tend to be had for very cheap. $125 is about right assuming it has no severe issues. The later Imperials are pretty good too....although given a choice I would tend toward an Indiana. Their tone is not quite as lush as, say, a Handcraft or Committee...but they still stack up nicely against most modern horns.
 

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That searchlight that went off ebay was nice. I got outbid on it as I wasn't home at the time. I just wanted the case, not the horn!
 

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Next time sumthin' like that happens, lemme know (i.e. you want the case but the horn looks nice too).

We can double-team it. I would have been quite happy with that Searchlight, sans case....I would have bid up to $550 or so if you would have taken the case from me for around $120 or so, for example...
 

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The Stabile is a great horn and made around the same time and with the same tooling as the HC Committee I/II, as far as I understand, so I've definitely always considered that a pro horn. :thumbrig:
Clarification: Like most other stencils, the Stabile model has simplified keys like the single-piece side Bb, so you can't say it was made with the same tooling as Martin's first-line horns. The Stabile is a dead-ringer for the later version of the Handcraft Standard, which was Martin's 2nd-line horn of the day, precursor to "The Martin Indiana". The HC Standard and Stabile have the same body tube as the Comm I and II (even though the tone holes are bevelled differently - the inner dimensions are the same) so they may feel slightly different under the fingers, but sound basically the same.
 
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