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Is this a Martin stencil? The wire guards are sort of Martin-esque, as are the non-ribbed post attachments, but the key cups aren't, and there appears to be a 'ring' around the bell lip too.

Pretty cool. Kinda want it.
 

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A bit of research indicates this is an early 40's (pre-war) horn actually made in-house by Olds (not Pierret) with design input from a former Martin employee. Apparently they are somewhat Martin-like, and have some sort of interestingly elegant octave mechanism, but are their own thing.

If I lved there and could try it out first, for $650 (I'd try to talk him down to $600 -yeah, I'm shameless) I'd most likely get this...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If I decide to pass on it or resell, the two of you will have first right without any markup over what I pay - still trying to get a hold of the seller
 

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A bit of research indicates this is an early 40's (pre-war) horn actually made in-house by Olds (not Pierret) with design input from a former Martin employee. Apparently they are somewhat Martin-like, and have some sort of interestingly elegant octave mechanism, but are their own thing.
If you are referring to that other thread, it's an interesting story indeed.

In that thread Jorns mentions that he actually took some comparison measurements between a II and a Super, and found a number of specs to be identical.

It'd be interesting if, in fact, it was a scuttled project by Olds to produce an in-house pro horn...if the story is accurate, they sure went to some expense actually fabricating all of the tooling themselves and outfitting a part of the factory solely to produce that model.
 

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Thanks lostcircuits, I'm not in the market for another alto, but if I were that Olds'd be on the list. Can't wait to hear what you think of it!
 

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Turns out the seller is an old friend of mine, another Pro Disc Golfer and neither of us had the slightest clue that the other one played sax. That was one hell of a funny phone call, like, "Man, you sound familiar .. and you do what? Oh Johnny Roberts Memorial .. Oh my gawd, we played a bunch of tournaments together ..." Small world, I'll pick it up next Friday and post some pics, no bartering in this case but what a funny coincidence
 

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If you are referring to that other thread, it's an interesting story indeed.

In that thread Jorns mentions that he actually took some comparison measurements between a II and a Super, and found a number of specs to be identical.

It'd be interesting if, in fact, it was a scuttled project by Olds to produce an in-house pro horn...if the story is accurate, they sure went to some expense actually fabricating all of the tooling themselves and outfitting a part of the factory solely to produce that model.
Everybody knows that I like to ruin good saxophone myths, so I'll be gentle. There are many similarities between the Martin II and the Olds Super. But it's actually a sort-of stencil of a later, less common Martin. Martin changed its body tube construction technique about 1942. Prior to that, it used the standard method of joining the two pieces by splicing them together with a band around the joint. Similar to using a coupling when joining two pieces of pipe. With the advent of the Martin Centennial, the two pieces were joined by using a "bell" on the large end of the body tube and the large end of the bow. The pieces just slipped together without the need of a coupling ring. The Olds Supra, while looking similar to a Martin II (and maybe having similar dimensions), uses the new Martin Centennial construction technique (and tone hole size, placement, etc.)

There was a subtle change in the guard posts between the Martin II and the Centennial. Both used cast nickel "deco" style posts when other manufacturers were soldering brass rods with diamond shaped feet (the Centennial having cast nickel posts in even more positions than the II). Cast nickel posts would have to be fabricated to match the contours of the body. Soldering brass rod stock with diamond feet would be more forgiving and less expensive. Although the cast nickel posts on the Olds Supra look similar to some on the Martin II, they are actually the later Centennial posts. One difference is that the top of the posts, i.e., where the guard rail passes through, is shaped different on the II and the Centennial. They are spherical on the II and pointed on the Centennial. The Eb key guard on the II is the older style spherical brass top. On the Centennial, it is the deco pointed top cast nickel, as shown in the pictures below.

As to the wonderful story of a past Martin worker showing up at F.E. Olds and designing a new saxophone in the span of a year that was remarkably similar to a Martin Handcraft II, that's not likely. All of the nickel castings, body tube size, and construction technique are identical. This Martin worker would have been what is referred to as a "miracle worker." An acoustical, metallurgical, casting and sheet metal genius who worked at the speed of light. Chose that story if you want.

My alternative version (since we all get to just make up stuff and post it) would be that Martin decided that the expense of the "bling" used on the Centennial (and a little on older Martins) wasn't paying off. F.E. Olds may have occupied a different retail space and thought that by adding even more bling it could make it work. It bought Martin's unused Centennial stock, but added a flashier "flute" style key cup (ala King Super 20 key cup engraving). It added a flashy "tone ring" (ala Buescher 400). It engraved a big, bold OLDS name on all down the bell. Then make as many as possible with parts and tubes purchased from Martin and see how it goes. It turns out that it went the same way as King's key cup engraving and Buesher's tone ring. Some player's obviously liked the bling, but not enough were willing to pay for the bling. A saxophone with a niche market is a difficult business.

I'm willing to pay for bling, just not very much.

Mark

The Committee II style brass Eb guard round-top post (siting on the coupling band).
View attachment 229912
The Centennial and Olds Supra deco cast nickel pointed style Eb guard post (sitting on the bell joint).
View attachment 229914
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Everybody knows that I like to ruin good saxophone myths, so I'll be gentle. There are many similarities between the Martin II and the Olds Super. But it's actually a sort-of stencil of a later, less common Martin. Martin changed its body tube construction technique about 1942. Prior to that, it used the standard method of joining the two pieces by splicing them together with a band around the joint. Similar to using a coupling when joining two pieces of pipe. With the advent of the Martin Centennial, the two pieces were joined by using a "bell" on the large end of the body tube and the large end of the bow. The pieces just slipped together without the need of a coupling ring. The Olds Supra, while looking similar to a Martin II (and maybe having similar dimensions), uses the new Martin Centennial construction technique (and tone hole size, placement, etc.)

There was a subtle change in the guard posts between the Martin II and the Centennial. Both used cast nickel "deco" style posts when other manufacturers were soldering brass rods with diamond shaped feet (the Centennial having cast nickel posts in even more positions than the II). Cast nickel posts would have to be fabricated to match the contours of the body. Soldering brass rod stock with diamond feet would be more forgiving and less expensive. Although the cast nickel posts on the Olds Supra look similar to some on the Martin II, they are actually the later Centennial posts. One difference is that the top of the posts, i.e., where the guard rail passes through, is shaped different on the II and the Centennial. They are spherical on the II and pointed on the Centennial. The Eb key guard on the II is the older style spherical brass top. On the Centennial, it is the deco pointed top cast nickel, as shown in the pictures below.

As to the wonderful story of a past Martin worker showing up at F.E. Olds and designing a new saxophone in the span of a year that was remarkably similar to a Martin Handcraft II, that's not likely. All of the nickel castings, body tube size, and construction technique are identical. This Martin worker would have been what is referred to as a "miracle worker." An acoustical, metallurgical, casting and sheet metal genius who worked at the speed of light. Chose that story if you want.

My alternative version (since we all get to just make up stuff and post it) would be that Martin decided that the expense of the "bling" used on the Centennial (and a little on older Martins) wasn't paying off. F.E. Olds may have occupied a different retail space and thought that by adding even more bling it could make it work. It bought Martin's unused Centennial stock, but added a flashier "flute" style key cup (ala King Super 20 key cup engraving). It added a flashy "tone ring" (ala Buescher 400). It engraved a big, bold OLDS name on all down the bell. Then make as many as possible with parts and tubes purchased from Martin and see how it goes. It turns out that it went the same way as King's key cup engraving and Buesher's tone ring. Some player's obviously liked the bling, but not enough were willing to pay for the bling. A saxophone with a niche market is a difficult business.

I'm willing to pay for bling, just not very much.

Mark

The Committee II style brass Eb guard round-top post (siting on the coupling band).
View attachment 229912
The Centennial and Olds Supra deco cast nickel pointed style Eb guard post (sitting on the bell joint).
View attachment 229914
Mark

Thanks so much for the post, I agree with the miracle worker theory ... We'll see how it plays by the end of the week.
 

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We'll see how it plays by the end of the week.
Should play just like an old Martin, which is good.

I've never had one of these, so I'm not sure about the key fabrication. One of the things I like about pre-war Martins is the solid nickel keys. I saw one Olds Super that looked like the keys were nickel plated (because some of it had worn through). I'm not a nickel plated key snob, but the flute style cups might be a problem with nickel plated brass. The regular style has the key arm extend as a rib over the key cup. This makes key bending easy from side-to-side and difficult "fore-and-aft." I'd be curious on how the Supra "edge fastened arm" responds to bending or, more importantly, resists accidental bending.

Get the LH pinky table working smooth. The rest is just basic saxophone tweaking.

Mark

I just noticed in the picture that there is a little green dot of verdigris on my Eb cup! Oh nooooo!
 

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It would make sense with the idea of Olds buying a bunch of Martin stock pieces, that there might have been a human resource that came with the stock, either coincidentally or deliberately, and that led to the story of a Martin employee 'helping them design' a new horn...

...and who know/who cares...

The horns are what they are.
 
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