My Martin Magna alto, and friends

Had the camera out today, to photograph a couple of altos that just ‘must go’, so I thought I’d take some pictures of my old faithful Martin Magna alto as well.  Had quite a few offers for her, over the years, still not for sale.  Here with its new friend, a very colourful Lawton – great combination. :wink: Museum piece indeed !

Right-click on the main image for options, including slideshow – or click on individual thumbnails to see the big picture (arrows mean more, there quite a few pictures and I’ll be adding more over the next few days…) If you want a full-screen view, click "Full Screen" in the bottom right corner.

Photo Album: My Martin Magna alto sax

And here are the couple of lesser Martin altos that I’m clearing out in the next couple of weeks – the one with nickel silver keywork is a Martin Medalist – the plain lacquer one is a Martin quite obviously stencilled on the Medalist, engraved Penn – Los Angeles.  To be blatantly commercial, both are selling as projects (each with a little bit of cosmetic denting in the lower regions, nothing really major that would affect playability) for £175 each – or if you’d like the pair, £320…  What a pair of characters !  I have a load of individual pictures of them to put into albums, on the ‘for sale’ page – but until then, here they are, the lovely pair, if only they could talk…

Photo Album: Martin Medalist and Penn Martin stencil alto saxes

Right-click on the main image for options, including slideshow – or click on individual thumbnails to see the big picture (arrows mean more, there quite a few pictures and I’ll be adding more over the next few days…) If you want a full-screen view, click "Full Screen" in the bottom right corner.

If, at any time, you don’t see all the thumbnails, press F5 to refresh the screen. In the interest of sanity, these pictures are quite low resolution, anyone wanting high resolution copies, just ask…

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5 Responses to My Martin Magna alto, and friends

  1. lewis Pelham says:

    Your Martin is indeed a most handsome saxophone. The bell key guard is so Art Nouveaux.
    I fully understand why you intend never to sell it; if the horn is perfect for you in every respect then it is beyond price.
    You refer to it’s new little friend the Lawton as being colourful…does that mean hue or tonal colour.   🙂

  2. Alan says:

    Thanks Lewis – it is a very tactile alto as well – I’m afraid that if I was given the choice of “one sax for the rest of your life ?”, the Martin Magna alto would have to be the one…  Yes, even above the C’s !  It’s the sax I always return to when I need a little stability and sanity, and it never fails to impress me.  I keep thinking that it deserves to be used more, so why not pass it on, but then, I get selfish and keep my little friend close…  Plays well, looks excellent (even covered in dust) and the simple design makes me wonder where all the extra gubbins’ on modern saxes come from.

    The alto Lawton ?  Looks aren’t always everything, and now I’m used to the taste ! Whilst it is a little closed for me at 6*, so I’m now juggling between 2.5 and 3 RR’s, it’s got hidden depths.  On the Martin Magna alto,  it’s almost like going from mono to stereo in comparison with the ‘average’ alto mouthpiece.  May have to contemplate getting it opened out to an 8 to match the tenor one, but I’ll persevere with the 6* for a while, makes for far easier blowing, but it’s touch and go on harmonics – hence the 2.5/3 reed juggling.   Amazingly, it sounds better than the tenor Lawton on Steve’s Aquilasax C, now there’s a turn up for the books…  (doesn’t ‘blow’ better, on the C, than the tenor one tho’ – what a confusing choice !)

    Anyway, back to the Martin alto – close up there are signs of a bit of corrosion, a little pitting, minor scratches, but then it is a child of the sixties.  This sax was being handbuilt just about the time I switched from clari to alto – so it’s as old as my sax playing.  Maybe that’s why we get on so well ? 😆

  3. Foonpyk says:

    Nice horn.  I have a Magna Alto as well and I wouldn’t part with it at any price.  I intend to pass it on to my grand children (haha).  I was amazed to see that you have the lawton setup,  what a coniecidence I have the same.  For a second there I thought it was a picture of my horn.  Like I said I love the horn.   Too bad I’ve been working over seas in Middle East (I didn’t take My Martin with me) for the past year but will be heading home in a couple of weeks.  The first things I’m going to is kiss the wife and kids and dust off Sir Frederick (My Martin) and do some much needed playing.  


  4. Mal-2 says:

    The octave key mechanism is pretty sweet too. It probably doesn’t work any better (or any worse) but it sure LOOKS streamlined!

  5. alan says:

    I hadn’t really noticed the octave mech until I took the photo’s.  Neat, isn’t it !

    I think the old gal deserves a bit of tlc now, good strip-down and lube – can’t remember the last oiling, but I must have done it before, surely ? 

    Apart from the neck cork disintegrating from too many different sized mouthpiece shanks, and being a bit clattery in a couple of places (cork shrink/wear again), she’s been so reliable it’s boring.  A pro’s horn if ever I saw one, but I’m glad she was never ‘seriously’ on the road with me – that can destroy even the best of saxophones !

    Foonpyk, the aged Lawton is a recent addition (altho’ I’ve been playing Lawton on tenor for decades) – normally it’s ebonite Berg or Couf, or an Aquilasax ‘Yani’ copy, before that a gorgeous little bronze Berg, and before that a Zinner/Strathon ‘Adjustotone’ and Stainless Berg…  They all gave her different personalities.  Just wish (now…) that I hadn’t sold any of them 😕

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