Archive for the ‘Martin Committee’ Category

Which one is the Committee??

Posted: December 10, 2012 in Martin Committee





I thought I would do a quick experiment this afternoon and record a short sample of a song on a number of horns.

The challenge is to work out which one you would define as the closest to the Martin Committee sound concept?

Horn #2 Sound Test

Horn #3 Sound Test

Horn #4 Sound Test

Horn #5 Sound Test

Horn #6 Sound Test

Horn #7 Sound Test

These are one take (mostly) quick recordings with no editing – just a mic (AT2035) into a Zoom H4n recorder.

For the purpose of this exercise there is no horn #1 – the track got lost somewhere – which is unfortunate – but the experiment can still be run without it.

Put your votes in here or via trumpetherald!


Which is better – a Bb Harrelson Summit or a Vintage Martin Committee??

Let your ears do the deciding for you.

I finally have some semi decent home recording equipment for which to make some accurate recordings of horns. (More on this later as I dive further into this)

This comparison I have been asked for several times – so here it is:

Summit vs Committee Sound Test

Conditions for recording:

Mouthpiece – Wedge Gabriel Rim 24 with a Medium Backbore on both horns

Mic – Audio Technica AT-2035 linked into a Stienberg CI-1 Audio interface and Audacity software – there are no effects added to this recording – it’s raw and ‘as-is’


Greetings all,

I originally did a post about this horn back in October 2010.

Since then I have a better way to photograph horns  in the form of a studio light box, lights and better camera so I thought I would do a quick update on this post. Here’s some better images on the horn:

Also, I gave some incorrect information about point #2 on the initial post stating that the 3rd valve throw was longer than a standard committee – not in fact the case at all.  It’s the same. (Shame on me for messing that up)

Also, point #1 about the bell – was correct it’s yellow brass.

What I failed to point out though was that it’s a larger bell than a typical committee coming in at a full 5 inches.

It also has a different style flare in comparison to the standard Committee that is best illustrated in the picture below:

The mouthpiece receiver is also a modified receiver – I initially write that it was set up for Schilke mouthpiece – but after having picked up a Holton Heim #2 mouthpiece recently and testing it I am more confident that this was in fact set up with this style of mouthpiece with the tapered shank setup instead.

The last point is that the bottom valve caps are more like a Deluxe Committee version than a standard.

This horn still to me sits nicely between the tone and color spectrum of a Schilke and a normal Martin. Having found a better match in mouthpiece it has shifted more towards the Martin sound by about 10% but has a little more power with the larger bell that projects a little better.

If anyone else out there has examples of Schilke custom/modified horns I would love to hear about them!

Final Pic is of my 46 Committee in the foreground and the Schilke X Horn in the background.

Don’t read to much into the size difference – that’s just the camera giving you the illusion that there are a different size due to depth perception.

Here’s an interesting horn than I picked up from a prominent brass technician in the US recently that is bound to spark a few comments.

Apparently this horn has been played by a few heavy hitters in the US (Mr. Wallace Roney for one) and they really dug the way it played and sounded.

What we have here is suspected to be an early Schilke prototype horn that is based of a Martin Committee parts. It has the unique serial numberin the 182XXX range and an X stamped above the number.

It’s rumoured that Schilke was perhaps one of the main driver’s behind the original Martin Committee designs. Being in a Committee of people making a lot of decisions (especially creative ones) will tend to lead of course to not only a lot of ideas – but also a lot of compromises (we’ve all been there right?)

Hence he would go on to design his perfect horn – and the Schilke horn line was born.

The major differences between this horn and a standard Martin Committee that I can easily identify are:

1) Bell is a lighter weight yellow brass bell (in raw brass) and is not stamped – apparently he like it this way as the bell didn’t get stressed by any stamping

2) The 3rd valve slide throw is a lot longer than a typical Committee

3) The RH finger ring is smaller

4) The leadpipe appears to be a lighter version yellow brass and has a Schilke style mouthpiece receiver.

So what does it play like?

Well it’s kind of right in the middle between a Martin and a Schilke in my opinion.

The slots are more Martin like – as you would expect as it has a Martin valve set.

The feedback behind the bell and the projection to me sound more like a Schilke.

To test my theory I went down to the local music store, borrowed a Schilke B3 and jumped into their testing room with my Zoom recorder and did a very quick recording between the 3 horns.

This was all done ‘on the fly’ and no allowance was made for gap adjustment between receivers (Schilke’s are set up for zero – to almost zero gap).

Since this video I’ve had a custom shank made and my Committee sounds 40% better as I’ve had the valves aligned properly – but it will give you an idea.

As some of you may already know – I recently happened upon a chance purchase of a Martin Committee Bb trumpet.

The horn was advertised as a 1950’s horn in playable condition and checked over by a tech.

What an understatement.

I received the horn early last week – the serial is in the 158,XXX range which according to various sources possibly puts it as manufactured between 1946 and 1947.  (The majority of the best ones were meant to be between say ’44 and pre RMC taking over – unless you factor the Handicrafts which are a little earlier)

The condition is not great cosmetically for sure – but it has that certain character about it that you can only get from being 60+ years old and seeing some action.

I’m sure that every bump and scrape has a story to tell, and the valve tops where someone got the cap stuck is a little damaged must have been a fun day for them too.

But if you look down the leadpipe – nothing.

Just a nice clean pipe – rare for such an old horn (usually most have red rot in some of them)

The valves have been re-plated at some stage also – and that contributes to the super valve action that is evident on this horn.

So how does this thing play I hear you ask?

All in all this is a fantastic playing horn!

The tone is like a wall of sound emerging from the relatively small bell. There’s really not edge to it at all. The sound just keeps getting bigger and rounder. It’s something that is really quite hard to describe in words.

If I could use something you could relate to in your imagination I can describe the difference between this horn and a regular Bb as like drinking a coffee vs a hot chocolate.

With coffee you know your drinking it and you just want to be done with it and get the benefits of having consumed it so it kicks you into gear. With a hot chocolate you put your hands around the cup and sip it slowly feeling content with the warmth on your hands and the subtle hint of chocolate in the air and on your palate and you take your time with it.

It’s the same with this horn – once I pick it up – I pretty much loose 20-30 mins before I put it back down again. In fact I like it so much – I’ve switched to practicing outdoors in public (parks and down by the waterfront). Due to the nature of the sound production and ability to play at softer volumes this now seems possible – and I haven’t had any complaints so far.

I can see now why these horns are so highly regarded amongst players as they really are quite special in more than a few ways.

Right now these horns will run you at least around US$1100 in fair condition (more likely to have issues with them in this price range) all the way up to US$3,500 for a nice example #2 Bore. If you are lucky enough to come across a #3 Bore – or large bore these will start at around US$3,000 at a guess.  My advice is to get a horn that has been serviced or looked over by a technician – don’t worry too much about the cosmetics – it’s the sound and blow that makes these horns so special – not if the lacquer is 100%. For a nice playing horn – that’s cosmetically rough you’d best budget US$1600-1900.

Mines definitely not for sale – that’s for sure.

More to come later as I get to terms with the new addition to my arsenal of horns.