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"The Martin Tenor"

Serial Number 153740
That'd put this horn at 1945, same year WWII ended.


I took all the keys off, replaced a fistful of pads and corks and felts.
It is now tight and fast...an eager player.
Oodles of density in the sound of the low end...rich timbre throughout.

Why isn't this horn $1800 or more? Well, it IS an old relacquer.
IMHO, Martins can stand up to a relacquer better than practically any other horn, owing to the thick-walled, soldered-in tonehole chimneys. It isn't the relacquering that takes a toll so much as the step that precedes relacquering, namely...buffing. Pity the poor buffer. He's at the low end of the totem pole...minimum-wage, subject to dirt and noise, breathing in red rouge buffing compound, losing his hearing...so often he's pressured to turn out the horns and the easiest way to get those horns shiny? Just lean on them...pushing them into the buffing wheels. I've seen tonehole rims come out of the buffing room with dips and waves in them...it's almost impossible to get the pads to seal. These thick-wallled Martin tonehole chimneys have a far greater chance of making it through intact compared to drawn toneholes.

And this relacquer job has a lot of hours playtime on it. You can tell this horn has been played since it was relacquered.

There has been dentwork, most notable in the bow.
The neck has a small ding, not far from the octave pip.
The neckstrap ring was partway worn through by a metal neckstrap hook. Someone resoldered the neckstrap ring upside-down to start over again...a common fix for this problem. Use a plastic neckstrap hook...okay?
I've tried taking pictures showing all these things.

I don't want to dwell on the negatives though. I found this a really fun horn to play.
I tried playing it with the Yamaha mouthpiece I keep sitting around, but it was a little loose on the cork, this despite the cork looking to be new. So I tried it with a vintage Martin mouthpiece, which fit fine, and it played great.

I found the lefthand pinkie keys very easy to get around on, this despite the fact I broke my pinkie last summer in a bicycle accident. I was just zipping around on that pinkie plateau. Cool.
The bottom end is really nice and 'phat' and strong. This is a really nice player.

This horn comes with a next-to-new Protec case.
The Martin neck, with its unusual neck octave key and neck screw doesn't fit well in the designated case slot.
It'd be best to put the neck in a padded bag and stick in the bell when transporting.

I had a local pro playtest this horn. He said:
I did check out the tenor yesterday. It's a pretty sweet horn. It plays great and seals great.
The tone is smooth and dark. I don't know what to compare it too, but it's very "buttery." It doesn't have the edge that a VI or Super 20 has, but with the right set-up it would be fine.
It's got very quick response, almost immediate. Faster than my Mark VI.
Remember Art Pepper made this horn (but on alto) famous on all of his Contemporary albums in the late 50's to 1960. Right before he went to prison. I do have a video of him from 1964 playing this horn. When he got out of prison in the 70's he played on a Mark VII.

The Martin Tenor


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