Martin ‘The Martin’ Alto (1944)

The Story

My friend Tony H brough this round the other day. He’s owned the horn for about 3 months. Unlike me he’s a transient collector, preferring to own just one tenor and one alto at any particular time.
He associates Martin horns with Art Pepper – a player he remembers from the 1950s. He had a melodic and light innovative sound – very different from Charlie Parker and his many imitators who were all the rage at the time. I definitely agree, having many Art Pepper albums. The poor man’s personal life was unfortunately in stark contrast to his beautiful horn playing. He also noted that a number of British dance band players used Martins in the post war years. Continue reading

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Martin Concertone C Melody (1926)

The Story

I can’t really remember too much about acquiring this horn. I know I already had quite a collection and believe I bought it from Magginisupplies before having it repadded by my favourite saxophone technician. I’m not even sure when it was. I know I already had my Conn C Melody at the time. However I was attracted to owning a Martin, even if only a ‘stencil’. Continue reading

Martin Handcraft Alto (1930)

The Story

I bought this from my saxophone technician a few years age, who had already repaired, repadded and replaced the felts on it. It is a silver-plated Martin Handraft alto from 1930 and is excellent condition, made just after the stock market crash the previous year. Continue reading

Hawkes and Son C Soprano (1934)

The Story

I acquired this unusual saxophone from Johnny Roadhouse in Manchester. Having looked at all of their vintage instruments on the wall, I eventually turned to look at this one which was standing on the top of the counter. I already had a couple of C Melody saxes, but had never seen a C Soprano. I also liked the idea of having a good English make in my collection.

As usual the staff at the shop gave me great service, throwing in some reeds, a pad saver to go along with the two mouthpieces in the case. When I forgot to take the reeds home they were quick to post them on to me – all good reasons to count this as one of the best places to shop for vintage saxophones. Oh – and this time the sax was in good playing order, an excellent tribute to the repairers there. Continue reading

Lyon And Healy ‘Artist’ Alto (1920)

The Story

I bought this alto from Magginisupplies, who are based in the West Country. Over the years I have acquired a number of fine instruments from Tony, who is a keen on sailing, so we sometimes meet in the car park of a local reservoir when something interesting comes up. This was one of a couple I bought at the time. What a grand tribute to capitalism it is – to be buying ancient saxophones on a Sunday morning from the back of Tony’s estate car. He has a lot of different instruments for sale, although I believe violins are perhaps his main thing. Continue reading