Saxophone/Old Martin Sax


My wife brought me an old sax to sell on e-bay. I guess she figures since I was a horn player, I'd know something about saxaphones. (I played trombone)I've figured out its an Alto sax and that it's a Martin, but I'm running into trouble identifying the make. I find no serial numbers anywhere on the instrument. All it has on the bell is the word "Martin" and then in small letters underneath it says "Indiana" the next line "Made in USA" and then some sort of logo with the letters "RBC". The keys are nickel and there is a distinct "R" in the keyguard of the low "C" keys.

I'm guessing it's an Indiana but the engraving doesn't match up with anything I've found. I don't want to misrepresent when I list it, but I also don't want to sell myself short.

Any help would be appreciated.

Hello Tom,
You have a second line sax. Martin"s second line was Indiana.
 "from the web..."
What's a "Second-Line" Instrument?
The best way of thinking of a second-line instrument is that they are student/intermediate horns sold by a major saxophone manufacturer. It is too complex to get into the subject of European and Asian second-line horns, so let's deal with the most common American second-line:
* The Conn Pan-American
* The Martin Indiana
* The King Cleveland
* The Buescher Elkhart
In all the above cases EXCEPT for Conn, the name of the second-line instrument comes from the name of a company that was bought out (for example, the Indiana Band Instrument company was purchased by Martin). In all cases, these horns generally follow the rules for stencils, except that they were actually sold by the companies that produced them -- they just had different names on the bell.
Interesting exceptions:
* The Conn Pan-Americans did not always use the same tone-hole layout of the Conn New Wonder. The keywork also gradually got more and more dissimilar fthan the Conn pro line.
* The King Cleveland was actually produced by the Cleveland Band Instruments company, as a kind of "wholly owned subsidiary" of the HN White Company after HN White purchased them in 1925. Also, the Cleveland has its own serial number chart and, while they have the distinctive keywork of other King saxophones, the body is rather dissimilar.
* The quality of second-line horns was generally higher than their stencil brethren.
These are wonderful student todays standards, they are really intermediate models. Made in USA, by the same craftsman who made the top of the line Martins...
It could be worth, depending on condition,  $600-$800 ,yet I just saw one on ebay for $1195. One of the earliest examples of an American handmade saxophone. And for a great price considering the quality! Yur vintage alto saxophone is stamped The Indiana by Martin, Elkhart, Ind.  made by the Martin Company. The serial number should be on both the body and neck places the date of manufacture.  Brass with nickel keys. All the qualities of the Martin "handcraft" of later years are present on this one. Hand soldered tone holes. Hand hammered keys. Rolled and seamed bell. Nice brass. Very strong nickel tubing. Comfortable thumb rest. Great seal on the pads due to the soldered tone holes. Excellent mechanical condition. All original pearls and rollers. About 45% lacquer intact. A few dings here and there that can be removed at a time. All pads have been seated and this horn is in perfect playing condition. Plays with a big rich ringing tone and fantastic range of dynamics. I recently had a talk with Chris Holt whose grandfather was the President of the Martin Band Instrument Company (1931-1948). He informed me that the instruments stamped "The Indiana" were not inferior or student quality instruments but simply quality professional instruments assembled from parts of previous models. It made perfect sense. The companies that produced stencils such as "The Indiana" and "Elhart Band Instrument Co." did not want to compete with their latest models. Instead they would put out the older models (keyworks or designs) as student line instruments or lower priced professional instruments. These horns play as well as or better than any pro instrument you can find today! And at a reasonable price considering the quality. For detailed info on Martin saxophones you can look at Theo Wanne's history page. I believe this model is referred to as the 3b by Theo Wanne.
Martin Indiana saxophones

Made 1942 - 1962 (Ser# 26K - 90K) Classification: Student/Intermediate

Contribution of "De Saxofoonwinkel", their site is on my Link page, have a look
The Indiana is one of their student/intermediate line horns which would also be indicated by the gold-lacquer body and Nickel keywork. Though people keep telling me that the earlier ones deserve to be called more then that.
Funny thing is though that the nickel keywork was a feature of their deluxe models.
One can assume that they were made by the company that was known as "The Indiana Band Instrument Company". The company that Martin got controlling interest in around 1928. The name of that company was changed to Martin in 1942.
Story goes that it has good tone. A dutch owner of an earlier Indiana (gold-laquer keys) wrote me his Indiana Alto has a nice full tone, and it sounds very well. Also the members of the forum and \ speak highly of them.
The Indiana tenor of a neighbour was very comparable with my "The Martin Tenor". Maybe a little thinner, but hardly noticable.
People claim there are at least 3 stages of Indianas:
Phase 1.
- Based on CommitteeI or II
- heart shaped left thumb rest
- nickel keys
- adjustable right thumb rest
Phase 2.
- Based on THE MARTIN with gold color keys
- at least some of them have adjustable right thumbrests
- No heart shaped left thumbrest (not on the THE MARTINS either.)
Phase 3.
- Based on THE MARTIN with silver keys
- no adjustable right thumbrest
- No heart shaped left thumbrest

Phase 1. - Indiana The Indiana
- Stencil of a Handcraft phase 2 made by "The Indiana Band Instrument Company" until 1938 not sold under the name Martin
Phase 2. - Indiana The Indiana
- Stencil of a Martin Imperial or Martin Standard Special made by "The Indiana Band Instrument Company" until 1942
- not sold under the name Martin (Or maybe under the name Standard Special
Phase 3a. - Martin Indiana
- Gold lacquered body (based on old Imperial or Standard Special)
- gold lacquered keys

Phase 3b. - Martin Indiana deluxe
- Gold lacquered body (based on old Imperial or Standard Special)
- nickel keys
- heart shaped left thumb rest
- adjustable right thumb rest
- Forked octave key on the neck
- I assume the design was the same as the latest Indiana The Indiana
Phase 4. - Martin Richards Indiana
- Gold lacquered body (based on ?)
- Keyguard with the 'R' cut out
- Not that much known about this type
I know for sure that 3a and 3b where sold at the same moment because I have a copy of a catalog and pricelist featuring them both.

End web content...
This would be a great player when fixed up!
Good Luck!
Grant Koeller  


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Grant R. Koeller


I'm a Professional Jazz Saxophone soloist recently retired from 23 years with the USAF Band Of Flight, WPAFB, OHIO, experienced in performance, technique and equipment. I'm not a buyer/seller or dealer. I have 40 years Alto, Tenor, Soprano and Bari Saxophone performance experience with additional years on the Flute, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Bass Guitar, Piano, Drum-set, Guitar and Voice. I'm a third generation professional military musician, my father, Bill Koeller(1939-1997) was in the USAF 1958-1962, and played Jazz Hammond B-3 organ from 1957-1997, and my fathers Uncle, Alfred Koeller (1912-1993), was a professional Acoustic Bassist in the Army Air Corps in WWII, and also performed on Jazz Guitar, Hammond organ, Piano and tenor saxophone.


Professional Saxophone Soloist, 23 total years with the USAF Bands, 6 years with the USAF Band of Flight, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, performing on Tenor, Alto, Soprano, Clarinet, and Flute. 4 years in Japan, at Yokota AFB with the USAF Band of the Pacific. An Avid Composer and Arranger for the Night Hawk Protocol Combo. Former Lead Alto Saxophonist with the USAF Night Flight Big Band performing the music of Glenn Miller as well as other hits of the Big Band Era. I collect LP records of Jazz, blue's, classical and rock, and have over 12,000 records.

USAF,Phi MU Alpha Sinfonia, Men's National Music Fraternity, Johnny Mack Super Big Band, Tom Daugherty Orchestra, Kim Kelly Orchestra, Dayton Jazz Orchestra, Eddie Love Big Band, Gem City Big Band, Jazz Central Big Band, Shin Sings Orchestra, Kim Kelly Orchestra,USAF Night Flight Jazz Ensemble, Different Hats Big Band, Jimmy Baker Blues Band, This Side Up, Freelance, KING KOELLER Quartet, Jazz Central Big Band, GB Work, Sax On The Web,

Saxophone On the Web; Anchorage Daily News; All Experts; Augustana College Public Radio, WVIK;

North Texas State University School of Music, Jazz Studies 1982-1986 Lead Alto, Lab bands 1982-83 and small group leader 1983-1984, Jazz Radio Host WVIK 90.1 FM NPR affiliate Rock Island, IL United States Collegiate Wind Band European tour 1980 Augustana College, Rock Island IL, Liberal Arts Music Mentors/Teachers:My father Bill Koeller, a Jazz Hammond B-3 Organist (1939-1997) Great Uncle Alfred Koeller, Acoustic Bass 1912-1993

Awards and Honors
Paul Shartle Musician of the Quarter Spring 2008; Glenn Miller Festival, Clarinda, Iowa featured soloist; McDonald's All-American Band and Jazz Ensemble 1979; US Collegiate Wind Bands,Paul Lavalle Conductor, tour of Europe,1980; John Phillip Sousa Award, 1980 Dimond HS Anchorage, Alaska; USAF National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star; USAF Achievement Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters; USAF Good Conduct Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters

Past/Present Clients
Performed with, Bob Hope, The Platters, Four Tops, Jimmy Dorsey, Crystal Gail, Helen Ready, James Williams, Dallas Jazz Orchestra, Jack Jones, The Mills Brothers, the G-Clef's, Lionel Hampton at Carnegie Hall, Performed for the King Of Thailand 2005, Tom "Bone's" Malone, Roy Hargrove, Tommy Turrentine, Performed for President Gerald Ford, President George W. Bush, The Maguire Sisters, The USO Girls-Andrew Sisters Tribute, The Four Lads, Lincoln Berry, The Dayton Jazz Orchestra, Louis Bellson, Buddy DeFranco, Walter Bishop Jr, Sadao Watanabe, Bobby Shew, Pete Jolly, Quad City Jazz Ensemble, Augustana College Symphonic Band, Jack Scott, Catfish Jazz Society, Intrigue-Boston Wedding Band, The Mark Herbert Little Big Band, The Pacesetters Big Band, The Ambassadors Jazz Ensemble, Pacific Showcase Big Band, Jimmy Dorsey Big Band under the direction of Lee Castle, Ronny Scott Orchestra, Big Al's Hot Dance Orchestra, The Dayton Sidewinders, Tom Daugherty Orchestra, Johnny Mack Super Big Band, Ken Peplowski, Eddie Daniels, Buddy Guy, Roy Hargrove, Warren Parrish, John OMeara Jr., Dave Holcomb, Albia Silva,Vinnie Demartino, Clon VonFitz, The G Clef's

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