Ok, I've got a Selmer Bundy II from about 1968. Plays OK; not bad. I'm looking to upgrade a bit. I've got my eye on a Martin Indiana from probably about mid-1950's. Thoughts? Am I wasting my money? How will this compare to the Selmer? I've always wanted a Martin...
Don't get taken on the Indiana though. When produced, it was a student model. Now some folks think they measure up pretty well with some pro models, but that might be more a result of the lower quality and expectations for student horns made subsequent thereto. I'm not so sure what you have in mind is much of an upgrade.
I don't believe Bundy II's (bell toneholes are on the righthand side) are from the Sixties, they're from the late 70's and 80's. The 60's Bundy's (bell toneholes on the lefthand side) are basically late Buescher Aristocrats and would probably be the equivalent of a Martin Indiana.
I happen to have one of each right now, both in pretty good playing condition. The Indiana kills the Bundy for tone, but the Bundy has pretty good ergonomics, especially the spatula keys. I think with the proper setup, the Indiana would be a killer pro horn on par with any other Martin. This one is one of the earliest and is essentially identical to a Committee 2.
There are several 'types' of Indiana horns made by Martin. Several different grades of horns under the same generic Indiana name. I am not an expert, but I own one of the good Indiana horns, and it definantly has a better tone than a Bundy II. I don't play, I am a restorer, so I can't comment on the playability, but my son has used both and says it's a matter of comfort. The Martin requires a little more strength I've been told.
Mid-50s horn should be a good one, or it could have some of the features below and not others.
Things to look for on an Indiana:
Adjustable right thumbrest.
Bird cage, not sheetmetal lower tonehole guards.
More engraving, not block letters, 'Indiana' slanted, with a fleur below the name, and an Indian head in profile above the name engraving.
Some of these are on the Alto and not the Tenor, and vice-versa.
Just watch out for the Indianas, with the funky low eflat/c setup. The one where the keys has one piece of hinge tube taking up one half of the area between posts. These tend to want to lift up the Eflat when the C key is pressed.
the Bundy is a sturdy horn (at least some of it is) of limited value and appeal, it is made for a student to play and can suffer a little damage without too many problems, marching band quality. I didn't like it at all in the short time when I've owned one. The Indiana, provided is one of the better ones, some indiana series have ergonomics not unlike the better Martins (which I find far easier than any Bundy or most modern saxophones for that matter...)
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