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The Martin Committee ("The Martin")

This is possibly Martin's second most popular horn, after the original Handcraft series. They have very fine craftsmanship and beautiful engraving, featuring wire key-bumpers, adjustable metal thumbrest, nicely engineered neck clamp and heavy metal keywork. This saxophone was redesigned -- and patented (by EJ Gillespie) -- from the ground up.

These horns commonly are just called "The Martin" models. This is terribly inaccurate (see below and read further), but just about everyone calls them that. There are two reasons why this is incorrect: it's not the correct model name and most Handcraft bells are also engraved "The Martin".

There are several variations of this horn that were available. This is due to the fact that the company was bought out a couple of times during this horn's production:

  • The first series does have "Committee" along with "The Martin ___" (fill in the blank with alto, tenor or bari) engraved on the bell. (Around s/n 200xxx the engraving "Committee" started to pop up only every now and then.) This also appears to be the last Martin model available in plating choices other than lacquer.
  • The second series has a shield with RMC engraved on the bell. This is from when Martin was bought out by Richards Music Company (approximately 1961). Some baritones don't have the shield and retain the "Committee" engraving. Note: the RMC engraving actually stands for "Roundtable of Music Craftsmen" (I'm still looking for the list of craftsmen. It was on SOTW a few months ago).
  • The third series is "The Official Music Man" model, a a limited edition horn produced in 1962-1964 after the movie of the same name. This engraving appeared on the bow and are the rarest Martins out there. Allegedly they're the best honkers with the best intonation, too. I have one example of a model with BOTH the RMC shield and "The Music Man" engraving. There were also other Reynolds horns produced under the aegis of "The Official Music Man".
  • The last series was produced after Wurlitzer bought out Martin around 1964. The RMC shield was removed from the bell, but the "Committee" name does appear on some of these horns, particularly the baritones.

Martin was bought by G. Leblanc in 1971 (according to their website). Saxophone production was discontinued in favor of Yanagisawa-manufactured instruments.

I played a tenor from the first series quite extensively when I was in high school and I can confirm that this was probably the heaviest tenor I've ever played: the thing had a lot of brass on the keys. It also had a very powerful, but dark and smoky or bluesy sound. Unfortunately (and I hear this is endemic to these horns), it had some intonation problems.

I've tried to feature models that don't have too much lacquer leprosy. The elaborate bell engraving is cut pretty deep and makes the lacquer flake off pretty quick.

NOTE: Committee and Magna baritones don't have low chromatic F# keys (i.e. "RH 3"). I don't know why, but I assume that whoever designed the bari mold forgot to put a tonehole there :)

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