Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 36 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
175 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Who plays a Martin Handcraft soprano

Hello everyone,

I'm a sax comebacker and I want to play mainly soprano. I just love the luscious tone of it. I have a couple here ( Cannonball Ark soprano, Dixon WWX-554 ) and I want to grab of one these old Martin Handcraft. They sound just perfect...

I read a couple of articles and it is said repadding one of these would cost an arm; toneholes soldering needs to be checked too. Is there anything else I should know before to buy one?

And what can you tell me about playing one of those vintage MH? Anyone has one for sale?

Thanks a lot, JO
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
Joined
·
21,116 Posts
I love them. I tend to prefer my Conn but the Martins are great. No worry about the tone holes as I have had maybe 3 or 4 needing work in the past 50 years. The only thing I would watch for on any straight soprano would be a bent body. As to repadding, they should be about the same as any horn. No odd tricks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,839 Posts
Matt Stohrer has a great video on these on YouTube.
I play one. My favorite out of Yamaha, Conn and R&C I’ve owned.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
Here is a link to the Matt Stohrer video. This is my Martin Handcraft. As mentioned in the video, there were no issues with the soft-soldered tone holes on this horn. Matt discusses how to address if there are tone whole leaks. He also discusses pad thickness and using flat resonators.

I pair this with a Martin Large Chamber mouthpiece and it sounds amazing.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jIZUr0GaqPc
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
18,342 Posts
I have to state here (having refurbished well over 100 Martins):

The soft-soldered toneholes are NOT a big issue. Steve Howard unfortunately posted a bench notes excerpt regarding Martin's toneholes which, while I believe t to be completely true for THAT particular sax he dealt with...in NO way can really be extended in a general way to Martins (which unfortunately he proceeded to do in his commentary). As a result of that, and other online comments over the years which have appeared regarding horns which were in really bad shape...a fair # of people will NOT consider Martins because of 'their tonehole issues'.

Those tales are outliers, however. I have never seen anything as bad as those tales cross my bench, not even close.

So...don't be afraid of Martin soft-soldered holes. Their soldered seams really don't just disintegrate spontaneously.....

So, no...a repad/overhaul will NOT cost an arm and a leg. The only caveat here would be if the horn was one of those rare ones which had the 'snap-in' like pad system, like Bueschers. Martin had this sorta pad as an available option back then. Of the 100+ Martins I have done, a good 30 of 'em being pre-1940...I have only seen those pads on two.

So, it's highly unlikely. But for the heck of it, check anyway.

Regarding the horn, these are nice playing sopranos. The tone will be warmer and rounder than your current two, very beautiful. It will also be a bit more 'delicate' toned, meaning it may not be as loud or 'cutting' as your others.

Go for it. These are sweet.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
4,664 Posts
I like to play mine with a Johannes Gerber Solo LC.
I've wanted one of these ever since I read/listened to Neff's review of one a while back. I can't pull the trigger on a new one at full retail price though, I just don't play enough soprano to justify $300+ for a mouthpiece. I've been waiting for one to show up used but no luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,914 Posts
I got a Martin Handcraft stencil 'Lewin' soprano recently. It's at my repair tech getting a full repad/overhaul at the moment - I hope to have it back next month.
I read that Sydney Bechet and Bob Wilber both played this model?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,253 Posts
I have one:) Use it with a Lebayle LRIII, best sop I ever played. Cost me a lot to overhaul it though, had a body bend
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,932 Posts
Good horns, used to play with a lead player who had one, good tone and intonation.

I have a general impression that the keywork is a bit flimsier than the corresponding Buescher or Conn.

The whole "tone holes/galvanic corrosion/conversion of the entire sax from mass to energy at the rate E = mc^2" is way way way overblown. I am sure there are occasional instances of this, but I am convinced it's quite rare.

There shouldn't be anything different about padding on one of these and any other soprano that's not a Buescher.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
175 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the comments. What would be a nice buy with a 'round $1000 budget for a vintage sop like the Martin? Of course I'd really like to get one but I'm not sure I have enough money to find one in ready to play condition.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
I also have a Johanes Gerber LC 6 which I have used on the Martin a time or two. Curious what brand and strength of reed you use on yours.

A Soprano Planet Open Sky 2 also sounds great on this horn.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2012
Joined
·
2,127 Posts
I have one and it’s the best soprano I’ve owned. Granted, I’m not really a soprano player so take that for what it’s worth. I find it has a great vintage tone with a very even scale. It’s quite mouthpiece friendly to boot. Mine came from a retiring musician and, while it could use an overhaul, it plays VERY well for me.

I have had enough Martins through my hands to completely agree with what others have stated. The toneholes are not an issue. Yes, there are exceptions to every rule, but even the roughest Martins to pass through my hand didn’t have leaky toneholes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,932 Posts
Thanks for the comments. What would be a nice buy with a 'round $1000 budget for a vintage sop like the Martin? Of course I'd really like to get one but I'm not sure I have enough money to find one in ready to play condition.
For $1000 you ought to be able to get a Buescher True Tone, Martin, Holton, or Conn in a private sale; maybe from a dealer, probably not all newly repadded, but certainly in good playing shape (I have recently bought two sopranos at around that money). Don't rule out the curved ones (though it seems like a bigger percentage of these only to to high Eb). Of the above, the Holtons are the sleeper, but the more we post about them, sooner or later the word will get out. I really wish I hadn't sold off my old Holton from college days. Don't be fooled by the "Holton Collegiate" which has a one piece G#/C# key; although OK, these are no where as good as the real old Holtons. Many even have high front F which most sopranos did not have till sometime in the 1960s.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
Joined
·
21,116 Posts
Thanks for the comments. What would be a nice buy with a 'round $1000 budget for a vintage sop like the Martin? Of course I'd really like to get one but I'm not sure I have enough money to find one in ready to play condition.
I can sell you a good playing Buescher series III in silver plate for $950 shipped US.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,932 Posts
I can sell you a good playing Buescher series III in silver plate for $950 shipped US.
I recently bought a Buescher True Tone soprano (not from Bruce) and a Holton C (from Bruce). You would not go wrong taking him up on this deal.

The Buescher is a great soprano. Bruce is a good guy to deal with.

Where else can you get a true professional grade sax of the highest quality for a grand? And make no mistake, although the keywork design is of an older style, that is what the Buescher soprano is.

Check out the overtones - basically perfect! Great tone. Professional grade action.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
98 Posts
I have a Martin sop with SopranoPlanet Missing Link tuned by Joe. Warm. Lush. No duck like qualities. Unique sound unlike anything else I have heard.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,531 Posts
I have an "American Professional" stencil silver-plated Martin Handcraft and I love it. Serial No: 14xxx which puts it at 1915 and in almost mint condition, great sound. The main thing to watch out for when you are looking for one is that the pre-1927 models do not have the high F# key. I am playing it with a Morgan Vintage large chamber MPC.

The pre-'27 run somewhere between 800.- and 1k (in very good condition) and the later ones that I have seen start at around 1200.-

There's one listed here: https://www.junkdude.com/collections/saxophones?page=2 and one here: https://www.pmwoodwind.com/instruments.cfm?c=1&instrumentid=5859&morepics=1 - just to give you an idea what to expect and you should be able to do a bit better
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
The Martin on the PM Woodwind site is 47 horns later than mine. Best wishes in your search.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
175 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
For $1000 you ought to be able to get a Buescher True Tone, Martin, Holton, or Conn in a private sale; maybe from a dealer, probably not all newly repadded, but certainly in good playing shape (I have recently bought two sopranos at around that money). Don't rule out the curved ones (though it seems like a bigger percentage of these only to to high Eb). Of the above, the Holtons are the sleeper, but the more we post about them, sooner or later the word will get out. I really wish I hadn't sold off my old Holton from college days. Don't be fooled by the "Holton Collegiate" which has a one piece G#/C# key; although OK, these are no where as good as the real old Holtons. Many even have high front F which most sopranos did not have till sometime in the 1960s.
Thanks. I'm not into curved sopranos. I highly prefer the sound of the straight sop even if the curved is easier to hold and play.
 
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
Top