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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I'm looking for an opinion (aren't we all?). This afternoon I came across a "The Martin Imperial" alto, ser 321xxx (1970 or so). It played alright, and sounded pretty nice(*), but it needs a complete pad job (and corks and felts, and it has a small dent in the neck). They're asking $475 but, in its present condition I know it isn't worth that much. If I could get a better price, is it worth it to buy and fix up? (What would it cost to repad?)

(I currently play a MexiConn, this DEFINITELY an improvement)

*) the mid-range was stuffy, but I think the bad pads were responsible for that.


Thanks,
Jeremy
 

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I bought one like it for $99 on ebay. I can't find a tech I'd want to do business with around here who wants to work on it. The tech I've been using wants to do a complete overhaul for $800. The horn might be worth $450 if it was in perfect condition.

So it comes down to whether you want to invest a lot of money in an intermediate quality horn or not. It also comes down to the going rate for repair work in your area.

I'm thinking of sending mine out of state where the rates on repair work are a fraction of what they are here in N. California. There's a guy in S. Carolina who advertises complete re-pad and adjustment for $250. I'm thinking about it. Meanwhile the horn sits in its stinky case, unplayable.
 

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That ask price is very 'optimistic'. I agree with Addicted - a 70s Imperial -in need of full overhaul - could easily be in the $100-150 range. I paid just under $400 for a Comm II alto that plays but has original 1938 pads and cork that are pretty dry. Around my area - full pads/corks/minor dent work, etc runs near $450 for an alto.

Seller should be open to a (significantly) lower offer if you really like the Imperial - but factor in that overhaul and look what else you can get for the total.

JeremyLC : PM sent.

mm
 

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Keep searching. I got my 1935 Comm I alto for $145 on ebay within the last couple of years. I've seen Comm-II altos go for $300-350! So, I think you're just too far away from a reasonable price on that one, keep looking.
 

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Too much. I sold one with great pads and lacquer, no dents for $350. I just got a really nice silver plated Comm one for $325. All original pads. These later Martin lower line models are good but not worth that asking price. Should be about $200 if it needs pads.
 

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I just picked one up for $75...supposedly no body damage and keys are in good shape, although lacq is at about 50%.

I am gonna give her a cleaning and repad, and hopefully I can get her playing again.....

My first Martin....
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the advice all. I didn't go back after the horn, I doubt they would haggle down a low enough price to be worth the effort.
 

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A 321xxx would be a Kenosha-made horn, maybe use that as a bargaining chip? ;)

(Not that I have any idea how the quality compares, but conventional wisdom says it wouldn't be as desirable as an Elkhart horn, no matter how rare it is.)
 
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