Back to the 30’s Martins – naturally !

  Hey – just a minute, I’ve heard of ‘time flying’, but this is ridiculous, nearly two weeks since the last post…

Well, I have been a bit busy, and trying to get things organised to either sell on eBay, or add to the ‘for sale’ page on the website.  Which (incidentally) is now starting to have the changes added in, so that what’s listed there is actually what I have left to sell – not what was sold some time ago – bit radical I know, but there you go !

Anyway, in the course of trying to work out what to keep, I decided to try out a bunch of alto mouthpieces.  What sax to try them on, the modern Orpheus Pro, a modest modern Aquilasax alto, or an old beaten up Martin (stencil) ‘Penn’ ?  “I know”, I thought – I’ll try them all on all three…

Guess which sax I enjoyed playing most.  Yes, the old battered 30’s Penn, a Martin/IBI-Co stencil, the one on the right in the picture.  Not quite as easy or as fast as the modern ones, but fun !  No articulated whotsits, no  high-G keys (or even high-F# keys), no ‘tilting pinkie table’ and a mix of pads that’d make any tech wince.  But it could get ‘down and dirty’ with the best of them.  Fun, with a capital ‘F’ !

So, I thought, let’s give the old Martin C-Melody, and the Martin stencil tenor a blast as well…   Do you know, switching between them all was a piece of cake, same basic ‘feel’, same basic layout.  And, my favourite old Couf mouthpieces worked a treat on all three of them as well.  No surprise there then…

I may well have to go all ‘retro’ and stay in the past !  Certainly all three deserve a little bit of time on the bench, a quick strip-down, check the state of the pads and cork, lube, rebuild, tweak a few springs and a final leak-light test – even tho’ they all play quite well now.  I’ll give each one a separate topic as I go.

The Martins are back !!  Battered, bruised, and beautiful, the boys are back in town….

Also coming up soon –

Lewis’ latest C Project…

The ‘Horace’ – why it was named that !

More C-Melody videos, and much much more….

This entry was posted in C Saxophones, Eb/Bb saxes. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Back to the 30’s Martins – naturally !

  1. Lewis Pelham says:

    Certainly the Martin Penn stencil would be the most fun, despite being marginally slower & more cumbersome. Vintage horns seem to be more flexible, with a wider tonal palette.
    Presumably, it also has the G/G# trill key.
    To me a very useful adjunct despite the fact that it is seldom mentioned….a fair swap for a modicum of clunk.  😀

  2. alan says:

    Lewis – more in a later topic, but I find that the ‘faster’ horns almost always leave me with the slightly guilty feeling that I’d have much more potential if only I practised/played more.  Almost too fast for my current thought processes…
    The slower (but not necessarily worse) horns leave me feeling that what comes out IS ‘pure me’.  I am “Mr. Clunky”.  As Jeff Frazier just appropriately commented on Facebook – quote –
    “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything they have.”

  3. Lewis Pelham says:

    Hmmmm, with regard to Jeff Frazier’s comment :-
    The happiest people of all do have the best of everything & also know how to make the best of what they have. 😀
    The flood victims of Pakistan are making the best of what they have, but they are hardly happy.
    Sorry to be cynical but such platitudes are inevitably flawed.

  4. Michael says:

    Hi Alan, I am trying to get in touch with you regarding your Lawton Ebonite mouthpieces, but I can’t seem to get my Mac set up right to connect with your email link. Maybe you can send me a note directly at My main instruments are silver-plated Martin Handcraft/IBIC stencils. I play a 1920’s “Oliver Ditson” tenor and a “Lewin” alto with imperial-style Eb trill key. Nothing else gets the same density of tone. Regards – Mike

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