I have my father's Martin Low Pitch Indiana Sax. Serial no. 116324 It needs to be re-finished. It is priceless to me, but does it have any value? Thank you.


The Martin saxophones have always been a favorite of mine. I play a Martin Committee (The Martin Tenor) as one of my personal horns. The Indiana began as a stencil (copy) of the Martin Handcraft model, manufactured by (The Indiana Band Instrument Company) Eventually Martin bought out the Indiana Band Instrument Company and continued making the same instruments as "The Indiana by Martin" then "The Martin Indiana" also the serial numbers on these did not follow Martins standard list so dating them is a bit difficult. I would need to see some detailed photos in order to pick out the features of this horn and compare it to the various pro horn to see which it more closely compares to.

The horn I believe you have was the intermediate version of the Committee (The Martin ____) insert Alto or Tenor in the blank. However, the Committee was such a good horn that the Indiana was often considered to be much more than an intermediate model. Many top players would use them and loved them plus you could get them a bit cheaper than the top line Martins.

You said it needs to be re-finished. If this is a standard Indiana, than it's should have a lacquered body and nickel-silver keys. It may have lacquered keys if so that means its just older. Often the lacquer would start to come off around the engraving and the areas of the horn that were handled more often. The process of re-finishing is actually re-lacquering. This requires all the lacquer to be removed and then the horn is cleaned, polished and re-lacquered. This also requires all the pads to be replaced. Basically the horn comes back with everything except the metal being brand new. When this happens it changes the characteristic sound of the horn as the polishing process removes some of the metal. If the tech is not super careful this can erase some of the engraving and the result lowers the value of the saxophone by as much as half. It may look pretty, but players want horn with the original lacquer regardless of it's condition and are willing to pay more for it.

That brings up another point and you really don't want to do a re-lacquer to a sax unless the value of re-lacquering is worth it. In the past 20 year, the cost of re-lacquering has sky rocketed as the number of shops set up to do it has greatly diminished as techs just don't want to mess with the chemicals, disposal and inspection fees, etc. Currently the price for a complete overhaul with re-lacquering is running around $2500 -$3500 depending on make, model, and additional work required. This means only the top line pro horns are worth re-lacquering.  

You didn't say if this was an Alto or Tenor sax, but the retail market for the Indiana is around $450 to $700 for a Tenor and about $400 to $600 for an alto. This is also about what it would cost to have the horn re-padded without the re-lacquer. So I would not recommend you have the horn re-lacquered, as that would lower it's value and cost 5 times more than the horn is worth. But I would recommend you have it looked over by a qualified technician and to insure it's in top playable condition and if it needs any thing that can be addressed.

If you need to find a tech go to and do a tech search for someone in your area. Call ahead of time and see if they have experience working on vintage saxophones and if they are familiar with the Martin lines. If you have any additional questions, please let me know.

Charles Harris.  


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Charles Harris


questions regarding equipment, performance, repairs, lessons, etc. Almost all saxophone related questions.


I am a professional member of N.A.P.B.I.R.T (National Association of Professional Band Instruments Repair Technicians). I have been repairing saxophones, flutes, clarinets, and brass instruments since 1993. I perform in several professional groups covering genres form classical, jazz, and rock.

N.A.P.B.I.R.T (National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians

St. Petersburg Junior College (AA) University of South Florida.

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