Martin Committee 1946 Cornet

Discussion in 'Vintage Trumpets / Cornets' started by Brian Robertson, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. Brian Robertson

    Brian Robertson New Friend

    Jul 24, 2013
    As a Scot playing your wonderful American jazz music here in Edinburgh for the past 30 years I found myself bidding for, and luckily winning, a Martin Committee long cornet on e-bay US recently. The item has just arrived by international courier and my first impressions of it are very pleasing indeed. It looks great and is fully plated (it looks like silver plating rather than nickel) with the inner bell finished in what I think is called ‘rose’ brass, which presumably is lacquered.
    I had never even heard of Martin Committee until a couple of months ago and I have bought this instrument completely 'on spec’.
    I had been looking for a medium bore long cornet for a while but good quality ones are few and far between this side of the Atlantic and so I found myself watching the US market as well. Although I knew nothing about them, I was attracted to the Martin Committee by the medium bore (0.451”) which is narrower than the Bach Strad’ ML bore cornet which I have been playing for years.
    Prior to purchase I did read about ‘Martin Committees’ on the internet and I soon appreciated the rich heritage of these fine instruments. That gave me the confidence to look to buy one, despite the fact that I had never seen one in the flesh, far less ever blown one.
    Having now become the proud owner of this cornet I would dearly like to find out a bit more about it. The serial number is 157335, which seems to date it to 1946. By all accounts 1946 seems to have been the peak for these instruments, in terms of quality. I bought it as a medium bore, and indeed it seems to measure 0.451”, but there appears to be no marking of any kind on the instrument to confirm it is medium bore. Is the bore of these instruments not marked on them anywhere?
    My searches on the internet for further information have confirmed the existence of MC (standard) and MC ‘deluxe’ models (the deluxe apparently having some of the pipework in silver/nickel trim). Nowhere however can I see any reference whatsoever to a completely silver or nickel plated instrument.
    Can anyone please shed any light on what the pedigree of this instrument is and why does it appear to be silver plated overall when all the others I have seen pictures of seem to be laquer finished? The instrument could of course have left the factory laquered and subsequently been plated in later life.

    Any views and opinions on this cornet, and indeed MC cornets in general, would be greatly appreciated,

    many thanks,


    Martin Committee 1.jpg Martin Committee 2.jpg Martin Committee 3.jpg
  2. trumpetguy27

    trumpetguy27 Mezzo Piano User

    May 30, 2008
    You are correct... on many of the #2/M bore horns the bore size was not marked but assumed unless otherwise marked as this was the most common bore size produced.

    As far as the finish, I don't know for certain that NO silver horns were produced at the factory but from looking at your pictures I would say with 95% certainty that the silver plating was done at a later time and that the inside of the bell is actually a "gold wash" or very lightly gold plated finish.

    Hope that helps some... Enjoy her!!!
  3. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

    Jun 22, 2011
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Welcome to TM, Brian, here's hoping you thoroughly enjoy your association. Congratulations on acquiring your new Martin long cornet. Others will have loads more details for you concerning your horn. I own no Martins. I will guess that the silver plate came from a refinish. Might the color inside the bell be a gold wash?
  4. Brian Robertson

    Brian Robertson New Friend

    Jul 24, 2013
    Yes Jim, Scott also suggested in his reply that this may be a gold wash finish.

    Many thanks to you both for your replies,

  5. graysono

    graysono Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 22, 2007
    Hyde Park, Utah
    Beautiful horn. In that condition. it has to have had some work done on the finish over the years to look like that today. The several Committee trumpets that I have seen all were lacquered. And the Deluxe ones typically have quite a bit of engraving on the bell flare as well as nickel slides. I don't see much engraving in your pix but I don't know whether the same convention was followed on their cornets. Enjoy her.
  6. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    I'd love to see more pics, it's a beauty for sure. Some Martins were silver-plated, though not many. When you said long cornet, I was thinking as in American trumpet looking cornet, Conn 80A, 40A, etc. . Forgot the norm on your side of the pond is a shepherds crook! Welcome to the forum. If it plays as good as it looks, she's a keeper!
  7. Brian Robertson

    Brian Robertson New Friend

    Jul 24, 2013
    Thanks again for all your comments. The only thing which may prevent it sounding as good as it looks will be the jerk blowing into it.......... ( that will be me) !!!

    I'm going to get it cleaned/overhauled and 'set up' by my local repairer so I will post some more pics' of it after that,

    best regards,

  8. Bill Dishman

    Bill Dishman Piano User

    Nov 22, 2003
    Gainesville, Florida
    I have a Martin "Magna" cornet which I dearly love for its rich and pure tone. Best wishes for your playing with the Committee.

    Bill Dishman
    Gainesville, Florida USA
  9. MFfan

    MFfan Fortissimo User

    Sep 13, 2006
    Kalamazoo, Michigan
    Congrats on getting that beautiful cornet. My Selmer playing dad got me started with a new 55 model Martin Committee cornet when I was in 8th grade and a 'bust" on clarinet. I played it for 5yrs or so and dad got me a Selmer 24B trumpet to play in college. I don't know what happened to the cornet, but I sure miss it, mostly nostalgia probably. A player in the senior center band I am in plays a 48 model cornet he got new and still is using. Have fun with it.
  10. Brian Robertson

    Brian Robertson New Friend

    Jul 24, 2013
    Thanks again for your comments folks.

    I notice that many of you 'display' the instruments which you own so, although my list is very modest, I suppose I should do the same. Also I notice that some band names feature, so I have shown the name of my band below.

    I managed to pick up a fairly scarce 1970's Yamaha YCR 631 cornet last week here on e-bay UK, in need of some TLC but (having now given it some TLC) it still plays beautifully. I will be interested to compare the MC to the Yamaha. The MC bore at 0.451" is slightly larger than the Yamaha at 0.445" so it will be interesting to compare their playing characteristics.

    Edinburgh has for long been a hotbed of UK jazz. The Edinburgh Jazz Festival started back in the early 1980's and is still going strong. Many of the wonderful players which Edinburgh has produced in the last 50 or 60 years (and there were many) have gone now and, sadly, they are not being replaced.

    Personally, I have always had a leaning towards 'Ragtime' and I have always loved to listen to players like Bunk Johnson; George Lewis, Henry 'Red' Allen, Papa 'Mutt' Carey' and, of course, everyone loves Bix and Louis. I also greatly admire the English trumpeter Ken Colyer who in turn idolised George Lewis and indeed he played with him here in the UK back in the 1950's and 60's. Ken spent his whole life trying to stay true to the 'New Orleans' style.

    Anyway, enough nostalgia for the moment !!


    Vincent Bach Strad' (model 184)
    Martin Committee Cornet 1946
    Yamaha YCR 631
    The Harlem Ragtimers (Edinburgh, Scotland)

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