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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I'm waiting to get Martin "New Era" stencil tenor from Ebay. It will need to be padded and looked over. I've tried a couple to Martins and I was real impressed with sound and key layout (ergonomics). I currently have Selmer Mark VI, Conn student with rolled tones holes, Conn 10M (1936 vintage awaiting finish of overhaul) and Keilworth stencil all tenors.
Any info on the Martin New Era? What can I expect for sound and fingering for this stencil horn (1940)? Is it worth doing more than just a repad?
Thanks for your help.
gappal.
 

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1940 stencil ???.... I am gonna guess it's a 30's Handcraft design....Martin seemed to have used that spec for stencils in the 40's and occasionally even up to the '50's.

Unless it's more of an Indiana-esque horn.....

But not having laid eyes on it...I am just guessing....but am also curious, now...
 

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Hey, I've got a "New Era" tenor. Actually, I've got several other Martin stencils that are just like it (Melody Master, Vega, to name a couple). It is a typical Martin stencil from the late 1920's or early 1930's. It has front-F key, opposing bell keys, simplified keywork. I have a couple of stencils, like the Vega, that have the aux Eb key, while the others don't. Otherwise, the keywork, tonehole dimensions and placement and body tubes are exactly the same. Depending on your preferences, they all can be good horns, with a smoky vibe and a big bottom end. I think you'll like the horn as long as you are okay with the tuning tendencies of these vintage tenors. The tuning gets "flexible" above G2.

Generally, fixing up a horn like this cost more than it will be worth in the end, unless someone has already put in new pads. More often than not, a horn like this will need more than a few pads. If there isn't much dent work and key straightening to be done, you might find someone who will fix it up for as little as $300.

Here's a picture of some bare Martin tenors. The New Era and Vega stencils are in the middle (3rd and 4th). I took a picture as I was measuring the toneholes and body tubes of the six tenors. (In case anyone cares, they are from left to right: Early "Martin Indiana", 1962 RMC Martin Indiana, New Era Stencil, Vega Stencil, HC Comm I, HC Comm II)


Good luck and please report back.
 

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Might it be this one? That is the exact same engraving on my "New Era" stencil.

If this is it, I hate to say that it is in pretty rough shape. There are a few posts pushed into the body, the neck appears to have "pull down", there's that nasty dent in the bow, missing key guard. Based on how rough it has been treated, I wouldn't be surprised if the bell brace has been pushed in to the body and bell. Good news: no keys appear to be missing. It might take quite a bit or work to bring this one back to life.
 

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That auction ended 10/25 while the OP posted initially on 10/12 (although as he/she never has returned since....)

But....I doubt it's the same horn...and, yeah I agree with you...the one you linked to is really a borderliner as whether it's worth a restoration or not...
 

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I love a good family portrait....
Kinda creapy with them all being bare-naked like that sprawled out on a sheet. It's like a Martin sax morgue. The scary thing is that there are somewhere around 20 other Martin tenors hanging out around here in different states of repair.

That auction ended 10/25 while the OP posted initially on 10/12 (although as he/she never has returned since....)
Hmm, I didn't notice the auction end date. Maybe he/she put it back up for auction once they got a close look at it, well probably not since they call it a New Age in the auction. I've only seen a couple of these New Era's over the last several years. Whoever sold that horn did well to get $150. OTOH, I've paid more than that for horns in worse shape just to get a replacement neck.
 

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Interesting that the New Era in the photos above has the aux Eb below the D hole. This was done by Martin on the Handcraft Imperials so I would guess it is like a HC III but with the front aux Eb. This would put it in the early to mid 1930s.
 

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Interesting that the New Era in the photos above has the aux Eb below the D hole. This was done by Martin on the Handcraft Imperials so I would guess it is like a HC III but with the front aux Eb. This would put it in the early to mid 1930s.
Sorry for the confusion, but it is the Vega that has the aux-Eb, the New Era doesn't. Otherwise, the two horns are identical.

Also, the early Handcraft Standard has a lot in common with the Vega and New Era. You can swap all of the keys between the Standard and the Vega, except of course for the low B and Bb keys.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hello,
Back to me again. The "New Era" that I have does have beveled tone holes. I have it with my tech right now. He will repad it, with felts and corks, etc. It will probably cost me $200-$300. Tuning is not an issue as I will use it for parades and the like. I will try to put up some pics soon, just for you curious guys. One of you said it might have a big bottom end sound. If that's all it has I'll be happy. Thanks.
gappal.
 

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Hi , Update 2013
I read this post and after decided to purchase one of these "New Era" alto sax in Indianapolis, Ind. not far from Elkhart.
It was a re lacquered horn with re pad and some sort of spray had damaged the finish. Then the horn had been set aside for some years.

I was a bit embarrassed to look at my lobster colored horn that was out of tune
on the upper end so I took it to Perry Ritter in NYC. He did not have much to say about the horn except,"It's a Martin". I asked him about the name and he looked at me and said "It's a Martin" and he gave me an estimate to get it playing.

What he gave me back was magical. What ever he did was on estimate and quite a better instrument to play. I hardly have to move my fingers and the tone is sublime. Perry Ritter could probably do this to any horn but I have to say I am extremely happy with my "New Era" and appreciate this site and have joined it because of this experience. I got a great old horn, and took it to a professional to have it serviced, two great pieces of advice that make my week so much more fun.
 

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Hey, I've got a "New Era" tenor. Actually, I've got several other Martin stencils that are just like it (Melody Master, Vega, to name a couple). It is a typical Martin stencil from the late 1920's or early 1930's. It has front-F key, opposing bell keys, simplified keywork. I have a couple of stencils, like the Vega, that have the aux Eb key, while the others don't. Otherwise, the keywork, tonehole dimensions and placement and body tubes are exactly the same. Depending on your preferences, they all can be good horns, with a smoky vibe and a big bottom end. I think you'll like the horn as long as you are okay with the tuning tendencies of these vintage tenors. The tuning gets "flexible" above G2.

Generally, fixing up a horn like this cost more than it will be worth in the end, unless someone has already put in new pads. More often than not, a horn like this will need more than a few pads. If there isn't much dent work and key straightening to be done, you might find someone who will fix it up for as little as $300.

Here's a picture of some bare Martin tenors. The New Era and Vega stencils are in the middle (3rd and 4th). I took a picture as I was measuring the toneholes and body tubes of the six tenors. (In case anyone cares, they are from left to right: Early "Martin Indiana", 1962 RMC Martin Indiana, New Era Stencil, Vega Stencil, HC Comm I, HC Comm II)


Good luck and please report back.
Jorns, with the measuring you did was there any difference between the Comm I and II models? They look so different but what did you find with the body tubes?
 

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A gift is pure when it is given from the heart to the right person at the right time and at the right place, and when we expect nothing in return”
? Anonymous, The Bhagavad Gita
 

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Jorns, with the measuring you did was there any difference between the Comm I and II models? They look so different but what did you find with the body tubes?
On the Comm I and II tenors that I have had, everything is identical except the last 6 inches of the bell. The Bb tone hole is placed differently and the flair is different. The Bb key is different due to the different placement of the Bb tone hole. Otherwise, the keys are interchangeable. If memory serves, on the altos there are a couple of tone holes in the middle of the horn that are slightly different sizes. There are a couple of key cups that are different sizes. And of course, the bell and low Bb are different.

I have a couple of examples of each, both alto and tenor, and to me the Comm I and Comm II are both great playing horns.
 

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Hi , Update 2013. I read this post and after decided to purchase one of these "New Era" alto sax in Indianapolis, Ind. not far from Elkhart....I have to say I am extremely happy with my "New Era" and appreciate this site and have joined it because of this experience.
Glad to hear you are enjoying that horn. I find just about any American-made stencil from the 1930's to be really good players.
I've always wondered what musical instrument vendors had all of these interesting stencils made for them.
 

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Re: Martin Stencil "New Era" & "Vega"

Jorns,
I really love this photo, what a historic record. Really ,,who is going to have that picture?!?!? Fantastic! Just curious about the evolution of this "New Era" an now the "Vega" you show - they have the tone hole on the top body near the bell. Aside from at the elbow, saxophones had them all on one side before them and after, but why did they try the one tone hole up on one side like the "New Era" and "Vega". Is it because they are stencils ? Did Martin ever do this on their label? Is it common to have the tone holes split on the body?
I'm having trouble posting a photo trying again.
 

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I assume you mean the low B and Bb keys. Generally, up to about 1932ish, they had opposing bell keys, one on the left and one on the right. After that, most had the left side bell keys with both on the back (right) side. The exceptions were:

Selmer with left side bell keys from the beginning in the 1920s and by the mid 30s, both on the right.

King had opposing (both sides) until the mid 30s and then to the right side (both) except their Cleveland models which were then on the left.

So most of the rest of the brands (Martin, Conn, Buescher) continued to have the left side keys until the 80s when almost every sax had right side keys.

This is not for ALL saxes but most. Stencils usually were the same.
 
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