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You've got another convert on your hands.

A few months ago I went to JunkDude Music in Columbus to try out a few saxes and in general gawk and the massive number of saxes he has. I asked Dave what he played personally, and he said he preferred Martins. Mind you, my extent of saxophonic knowledge was a YAS-23 and my Buescher True Tone bari. I asked him if I could try a couple and he said sure. Handed me a couple of Committees and off I went. To be crude, I nearly wet myself. All of the saxes I'd tried previously sounded vaguely similar. Not so with the Martins. They had this amazing deep, husky sound right out of the box. I decided right then that I had to have a Martin alto some day.

Well, I'm now the proud owner of a Martin Typewriter alto and I'm loving every minute of it. I got me a Meyer 5M mouthpiece, and wow, this is one hell of a sax. Besides my personal anecdote though, I did have a question. How do I enhance that sound? Right now I'm playing on the Meyer with Vandoren ZZ 2.5's with the stock Meyer lig. If it's possible, I'd like to get more huskiness :) Just a real fat, thick tone. I'm not sure I like the ZZ's at all, honestly, but I'm really enjoying the Meyer. Any recommendations on setup to make the most out of this silky beast?

Thanks a million!
Jim
 

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Martin sound

A quick fix is to change the reeds. The ZZ's have an edge to them. I liked them at first but then the edge began to bother me. I've used the Vandoren Javas to good effect. I'm using Alexander Superials (DC) right now.

In terms of mouthpieces....The Meyer to me has always been a really tame mouthpiece. Darkish, but it doesn't provide that much "huskiness, etc" I'm talking Meyers since the '70s.
I use a Morgan 6M, but a more accessible choice would be the Jody Jazz 5M or 6M hard rubber. The latter is very much like the Meyer, but with a bit more of everything you want to hear. There are some ideas for you....
 

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Martins are fantastic sounding saxophones. Very unique, rich sound.

I also agree with Lairmon's recommendation of a JJ HR* mouthpiece. These are nice compliments to the Martin sound, and great playing pieces. Try a 5M or 6M and see what it does for you. Jody has a great return policy.

Saxaholic
 

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It's particularly interesting to me that you guys are discussing Martin altos. I've always perceived that there was pretty uniform respect for Martin tenors, but somewhat less for altos, especially as pertains to intonation in the upper octave. Even on Magnas, for example, a tech guy I respect recently told me he thinks the altos have intonation issues. Can any of you comment on this and whether intonation is a disincentive to get into a Martin alto? I fully understand that it's most important to evaluate an individual horn and not generalizations, but I'd be interested in your experience with the Martin altos. Thanks.

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John
 

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I can't comment on any other Martins other than my own, but sitting down with a tuner, mine seems to be pretty well in tune from top to bottom. A few cents sharp or flat here or there, but nothing that can't be lipped into place. One thing I really love about this sax is how easily it plays in every register. The lows pop out really nicely, and the highs are just instantaneous (none of that fwwaaaaaa-WEEEEEEE effect I get on my Yamaha's high F/F#, which is mostly my own fault). But to be honest, I've been really happy with the intonation on mine.
 

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Martin Altos do not deserve that incorrect generalization. The intonation is on par with the best of their respective contemporaries.

I also agree with the JJ HR* and reed recommendations. The JJ HR is quite capable of a darker, husky sound with both the Tenor and Alto models, depending on the reed chosen.

I had a brief romance with the ZZ reeds, but like most found that after the honeymoon was over, they can be both buzzy, and don't last long enough to suit me.
 

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John S. said:
It's particularly interesting to me that you guys are discussing Martin altos. I've always perceived that there was pretty uniform respect for Martin tenors, but somewhat less for altos, especially as pertains to intonation in the upper octave. Even on Magnas, for example, a tech guy I respect recently told me he thinks the altos have intonation issues. Can any of you comment on this and whether intonation is a disincentive to get into a Martin alto? I fully understand that it's most important to evaluate an individual horn and not generalizations, but I'd be interested in your experience with the Martin altos. Thanks.

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John
Nooooooo! Not this old chestnut!;

http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=63389

My Martin alto has much better intonation than my 1 year old Yamaha 62.

I also had never heard of that "reputation" before swingtone posted the above, but lets not get into all that again! It really has been discussed to death in the thread above.

Martin altos are great, my favourite (Art Pepper) played one throughout most of the 50's and 60's and I don't hear him having many problems with intonation.

Back to the question!;

My mouthpiece scores with my 57 Martin "The Martin"

Jody Jazz HR5, bright and punchy, bit too harsh for me 7/10
Meyer 6M, soft and round tone, hard blow though 7/10
Selmer c*, Lovely round and soft tone, little edge and can get shrill 8/10
Runyon SR 6, Too harsh, not dark enough 5/10
Yanagisawa Metal 6, suprisingly nice, modern tone, buzzy, bright 6/10
Gregory Master Hollywood 420M, lovely full and rich tone 9/10

I like a very soft tone though, so the Jody may suit you. On my youtube page below the latest is with the gregory, rest with either the jody or c*

Good luck!
 

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There are a few intonation issues with respect to my Martin Indiana Alto, especially drifting sharp in the upper register.

I have to remember to not unconsciously lip up, rather just support from the diaphragm and focus the airstream with oral cavity/throat.

I am used to playing with a Portuguese marching band, and as I am the only college educated/musically trained performer, I often have to play loud enough to lead the 30pc band - from the saxophone section.

My Selmer alto is less "flexible" with the intonation of the upper notes, the Martin moreso, therefore it requires me to listen more carefully and adjust more often.

Even with the intonation "issues" I enjoy playing the Indiana more, it's more of a challenge because it is "new" - the Selmer horn I've been playing since 1993.

I find that the Martin alto "prefers" my Selmer Soloist F mouthpiece, or the Selmer E more than my Lakeys or my Link...

dv
 

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Oh, never mind....aside from the use of the derisive quotes (above), I'm just glad that the Martin folks have found that instrument that gets them excited about expressing themselves musically. After finally trying a Martin tenor (HCII) I'm afraid I can't say the same. Having owned all the major vintage makes and models out there, I've decided the horns that do it for me were made by King and Buescher (and not necessarily in that order--hopefully I can keep one of each).
 

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As noted, the "intonation" issue was discussed extensively before. Although Swingtone is entitled to repeatedly voice his opinion -no matter how often and in how many threads-, it is reasonable to suggest that if that opinion is to have credibility, and display the ability to discuss the issue objectively, one also must acknowledge the significant number of those who praise the intonation of the Martins, which –as noted in the earlier thread- includes a number of highly respected and distinguished pro players and technicians.
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=63389&page=4

Having said that, now back to original topic of this thread!

akumaJFR, congratulations on your purchase. While each of us can have our own personal preferences as to brand names, serial number ranges, etc., etc., what it all comes down to is finding the horn that’s right for us. We can go into a shop and try a wide range of fine horns, when suddenly –if we’re lucky- we pick one up and that’s it. Sounds like you’ve found yours. Congratulations!

NOTE: The above was posted in response to a post by Swingtone that has now been edited.
 

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Actually my statements about Martin's and their intonation reputation (no derisive quotes this time as it's a real rep--yep it shore is) went way beyond my personal opinion. If you go back and read the thread from last summer (link posted above), just as you quote professionals on the other side of the argument, so too did I post negative experiences from respected authorities ranging from our very own Pete "saxpics" Hales to a former sax player in the Glenn Miller Orchestra, not some revival act, mind you, but the original band (i.e. actually shared the stage with Miller and Django Reinhardt, no less). I wouldn't dismiss the personal accounts of these musicians so readily, or it would appear you have a built-in bias :D.
 

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Swingtone said:
Oh, never mind....aside from the use of the derisive quotes (above), I'm just glad that the Martin folks have found that instrument that gets them excited about expressing themselves musically. After finally trying a Martin tenor (HCII) I'm afraid I can't say the same. Having owned all the major vintage makes and models out there, I've decided the horns that do it for me were made by King and Buescher (and not necessarily in that order--hopefully I can keep one of each).
Please state clearly where I was in any way derisory.
 

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Hmmm...sorry if it was my posting that dredged up an old and sore point. I hadn't found the earlier threads, but now found them helpful. I have no desire whatsoever to be unfairly critical of Martin altos on intonation or anything else. Indeed, my motivation was in trying to make a final decision on several altos to demo, including a Martin Magna. I intend to buy a new alto based on a comparison of individual, specific horns, but was just interested in general impressions as background information.

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John
 

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