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Has anyone tried these side by side? There are a few Indiana's floating around out there with decent pricetags. How do they compare in sound and construction to "The Martin Tenor"?

One particular Indiana tenor I'm looking at has lacquered keys (most have nickel) and a non-adjustable heart shaped thumb hook. Much of the keywork looks identical to "The Martin" but has simplified low C/Eb key design. Also, it has toneholes that are more bevelled than "The Martin's".

Saxpics' site doesn't have any Indiana pictures unless I missed them. I sure wish there was more information about the history of Martin horns somewhere.
 

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Stencilman - can't comment on tenors (I do play a 'The Martin' tenor), but I'm doing up an Indiana alto as backup to my Magna alto.
The Indiana is 'OK' - if you have to classify them it's more of an intermediate horn. If you work it well the sounds are there - but then go back to the Magna and you realise everything is just that little bit more.
The Indiana is a slightly more 'lightweight' horn in all respects, but without the better one for comparison I probably wouldn't complain too much.
Possibly the bottom on the Indiana alto isn't just dark enough tho'.....
Frequently tho' this is only in the ear/mind of the player, 99.99% of listeners really can't tell, but it's that 0.01% that we're in !
If I had the chance/money to pick up a reasonable Indiana tenor (based on what I've found with the alto) as a backup - or even (heaven forbid) if I had to sell my 'The Martin' - I'd go for it.....
Regards, Alan.

P.S. look on the (Dutch) 'Martin' site -
http://www.xs4all.nl/~adasof09/ - he has some Indiana pics, and under his 'Like some model info?' pulldown, he has some (mostly)nice things to say about the three Indiana models as well....

PPS - I've not heard such good things about the Imperial, I think that is more of a lower quality horn (except there was an 'Indiana' in the 30's - different beast), but there are good horns and there are bad horns within each model.
 

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In your hunt for information on these sax's, check out specific model info on the Dutch site listed in the former reply. As ever, there is also helpful information on saxpics.
I myself am learning saxophone on a 1935 Imperial since about April. Can only compare it to a Bach Strad 43 trumpet however. Got to say reaching those high notes on the Martin is much easier than the Strad!
Best of luck in your search for info!
 

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I have various Martin model saxes.
The THE MARTINS are the pro models 1945-1965 approximately.
The Indianas are the student horns of the Martin pro models going back to the COmmII until up to the end of the Martin sax run in about 1965. The Indiana ones up to the mid 50's are pretty good. The 60's ones are pure student horns and not nearly in the same league as the THE MARTINS. The keywork isnt as good, the metal is thinner, the sound is more tinny like a student horn.
 

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The Imperial model of the late 50's and 60's is a decent horn, it is an intermedaite model. It has nowhere near the desirability of the THE MARTIN in terms of tone and feel, but it is very playable. IT is a cheapened remake of the HANDCRAFT IMPERIAL of the 30's with some features of the CommII put in, and a cheapening of the metal thickness and also of the keywork.

The IMPERIAL gets a good bright sound and can be advantageous if you want the Martin family sound in a bright horn, it is sort of the Yamaha 62 of the Martin line.
On the other hand the HANDCRAFT IMPERIAL of the 30's is a monster horn to use my repairman's phrase. It is a great horn, somewhat different than the COmmII and the THE MARTIN, which are both very desirable.

I dont have any Comm I's but they are the model in between the HANDCRAFT IMPERIAL and the COMMII so they are real good too.

I also like the end of the run of the Handcrafts with serial no. in the 9x,xxx range, the ones with the brace on the neck. These seem to be bigger sounding than the earlier Handcrafts.
 

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i agree that the hand craft imperial is a monster .an abomination! this is the worst vintage sax i have ever played! intonation is so bad i cant play it in public. i only keep it because its rare. i have played every martin model and this one is by far the worst!
 

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I am very surprised to read criticism of the Handcraft Impeial model sax, since my experiences with them is so positive.

In the past, I have criticized Martin saxes when the trouble in all likelihood was that the saxes I didnt like had bad pads and needed repair work.

I have had no problems with tuning or intonation on any martin saxes that have had proper, complete rebuilds.

There is a THE MARTIN alto sax in a store I know of that has been rebuilt and the low Eflat seems a little out of tune, but there could be a repair problem too.

I think there is a tendency if you get an old sax to try to play it with bad pads, and you cannot accurately judge a sax in that condition.
 

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Gary:
In the past you allways said that you prefer Comm-II above The Martin alto.......

Because they have nickel keywork, AND because the intonation of the II is better.
DO you still think this??
 

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CommII, THE MARTIN, Handcraft Imperial-- they are all good horns.

I am not in the mood to try to describe all the differences and pros and cons, they are all good, desirable horns.

I have no trouble playing any of them if they have been properly rebuilt and repadded.

The THE MARTIN neck design is somewhat prone to getting out of adjustment and my repairmen have had some trouble (1) finding the right size octave pads for this model horn and (2) tightening the neck tenons.

I played a THE MARTIN alto for 9 years as a kid so I am attached to that model.
 

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Re: Handcraft Imperial

Hi I also have had excellent experiences using a Handcraft Imperial.

This sax (like many saxes) is extremely sensitive to the mouthpiece used with it.

The really fat low end, and the overall variation of tonal colors you can achieve with this thing are pretty amazing. I use a vintage Brilhart ebolin and Brilhart level Aire with it. Both which seem to match up extremely well. I have also used a dukoff with it and that combination was AWFUL!. The dukoff has worked well with other saxes I own, but not with any of the Martins.

It did take a bit of effort to get set up correctly, but once it was it became a horn I would never part with, I would not trade it for my Paris Buffet SA, which is also a damn fine horn.

btw I have checked the intonation with my Korg tuner.

>> Mike <<
 

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here's what an Indiana sounds like

Here's me playing on my Indiana by Martin. http://josenstacy.com/demo/demo.htm

My Indiana is really old with serial number 51xxx.
I've played Yamaha-23, Selmer Signet, Selmer Super Action 80. The quality of this horn feels much higher than the Yamaha student model horn. More like between the Selmer Signet and Super Action 80.
 

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I have various Martin model saxes.
The THE MARTINS are the pro models 1945-1965 approximately.
The Indianas are the student horns of the Martin pro models going back to the COmmII until up to the end of the Martin sax run in about 1965. The Indiana ones up to the mid 50's are pretty good. The 60's ones are pure student horns and not nearly in the same league as the THE MARTINS. The keywork isnt as good, the metal is thinner, the sound is more tinny like a student horn.
SO you concur that a 60's The Martin Imperial is not a student model; it is a pro?
 

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SO you concur that a 60's The Martin Imperial is not a student model; it is a pro?
(Fyi you're replying to a thread from 2003)

'60s Imperials were student horns. Maybe they were really good student horns, I don't know, but they weren't considered "pro" model. OTOH, the Handcraft Imperials of the '30s were all professional. I used to have a tenor & wish I still did.
 
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