The Martin Standard
This horn comes from a totally different era – some 80+ years in the past and pre both WW2 and the Martin Committee as most know it. Around the mid to 30’s the Standard and the Imperial (Handcraft) both existed.
The Standard was essentially an ‘all-brass’ version – where the Imperial had nickel slides and trim. (The exception to this is the mid 40’s models which had nickel trim also).
They were very much a pro horn at the time and were built in such a way.
One giveaway to this process to me is the fact that you find hand stamped serial numbers not only on the side of the horn – but also on the bottom caps and the side of the actual valves. (Having said that tolerances of the later Committees were better as machinery improved etc).
When considering such a horn always ask if the number stamped on the valves matches the outside number.
The top caps will also have the same number – those are common areas that are consistently swapped out over the years.
Comparison vs a Martin Committee:
- More in tune – the mouthpipe/leadpipe contributes to this as the Committee tapers quite a bit vs, this one which looks like it’s a more ‘traditional’ style setup.
- The valve block is in the more traditonal position vs. the Committee which is actually drawn back towards the player.
- Mouthpiece receiver is different – the Standard has a receiver more like you would find on an oldConnof that Era.
- Waterkeys – are the more traditional setup vs. the Martin ‘Trombone style’ side dumps (Very cool loking but almost impossible
- to replace)
- The Finger Ring is on the top of the valve slide – Committee is off to the left
- Trim is different – the standard has small finger buttons vs the wider and thinner versions on the Committee
- The braces are very different. The Committee has very light style bracing – where the Standard has decidely larger bracing.
- Bellflare – although similar (Bell Diameter is the same) the flare is less drastic as you approach the bell on the Committee.
So how does it play?
That’s a hard one to pin down as it all depends on the player.
I will say that the Standard is easier to lock notes in – so it gives a much more defined scale – hence more in tune.
To me it also plays a little darker than the Committee – as in it has less edge but more power.
I also feel the projection is slightly better on the Standard than the Committee.
For what you will pay for one of these horns (about a third of the price at least vs. a Committee) these horns are real sleepers. Unfortunately as they didn’t hold the same prestige as the Committee there are far less examples that seem to be available. (Mind you at the time of writing there are 2 on Ebay at the moment).
It seems weird to me that so few of these are available when you can readily find a raft of Martin Dasants from 10-20 years prior to these horns coming out.
I suspect that there is a very good reason for why there are so few Standards out there – yet so many Handcraft Imperials and Committees – but that’s for another time to explain ;-)