martin imperial trumpets

Discussion in 'Vintage Trumpets / Cornets' started by sidelines, Nov 8, 2006.

  1. sidelines

    sidelines New Friend

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    Nov 8, 2006
    I'm having trouble locating any info about a 1957 Martin Imperial trumpet and would appreciate any input about what quality trumpet this would have been.

    Thanks,

    Marian
     
  2. supportlivejazz

    supportlivejazz Piano User

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    Dec 4, 2006
    Quonnie Breachway
    The Imperial models made after the 1940s were the student line. I have owned a couple and was not impressed with the tone, the quality of the build or finish. I have a Handcraft Imperial from the 30s and it is a whole different horn. Different as in way better.
     
  3. Robert Rowe

    Robert Rowe Mezzo Piano User

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    Dec 24, 2004
    Incorrect.

    The Imperial became an intermediate model, subsequent to the introduction of the Committee.

    The Indiana was designated as the student model, although (in my opinion, as well as many Committee owner/players) the Indiana is now considered a finer horn, in respect to tone and playability than the Imperial. I, and many others, use an Indiana as a "back-up" and "rehearsal"-horn.

    The Imperial is "flashed-out" with much nickel trim and adornments, making it appear to be "fancy".

    None-the-less, the Imperial is a fine horn; ... one could do worse than to play a later-day Imperial (Trumpet, Cornet or Fluegelhorn). I have several of each.

    Robt
     
  4. supportlivejazz

    supportlivejazz Piano User

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    Dec 4, 2006
    Quonnie Breachway
    Not wanting to pick a fight with RR, and perhaps I am incorrect, but, I disagree. The Handcraft Imperial in every aspect was a top end, detailed, quality horn. After the Committee was introduced as the Handcraft Committee, in the very late 30s, the Handcraft Imperial was discontinued and the Imperial was introduced. Perhaps this was in the very early 40s, but the ones I have seen were all late 40s or perhaps 50s and beyond. They may not have been designated as student horns. The Indiana may have gotten that title. I'm not sure. However the two that I have owned did not compare with the earlier Handcraft Imperial, the Committee or some other student level trumpets of the day that I have also owned. Two that come to mind are the mighty 40s and 50s Olds Ambassadors or, a horn I think is underated, the 40s-50s Blessing Standard. I never felt the later Imperials held up and the ones from the 60s were even less worthy. Just my opinion, but I stand with it.
     
  5. supportlivejazz

    supportlivejazz Piano User

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    Dec 4, 2006
    Quonnie Breachway
    I've got a right to be wrong, but, I disagree. The Handcraft Imperial in every aspect was a top end, detailed, quality horn. The ones I have owned were very much like the early Handcraft Committees I've had. They both play dark and fat, almost flugel/cornet like. More so than the later Committee Model. After the Handcraft Committee was introduced in the very late 30s, the Handcraft Imperial was discontinued and the Imperial was introduced. Perhaps this was in the very early 40s, but the ones I have seen were all late 40s or perhaps 50s and beyond. They may not have been designated as student horns. The Indiana may have gotten that title. I'm not sure. However the two that I have owned did not compare with the earlier Handcraft Imperial, the Committee or some other student level trumpets of the day that I have also owned. Two that come to mind are the mighty 40s and 50s Olds Ambassadors or, a horn I think is underated, the 40s-50s Blessing Standard. I never felt the later Imperials held up and the ones from the 60s were even less worthy. The bell taper accounted for a distinctly non-Committee sound and the valve block was different. There also may have been a totally different design in the bore configuration. The handcraft Imperial, HC Committee and Committee Model were, to varying degrees, step bore design, helping to create the dark, cornet like sound. Not sure that the step bore was carried over to the later Imperial. Anywy all this is just my opinion based on what I saw and how I thought they played, but I stand with it.

    I have not owned or played an Indiana. I have read they mimick the Committee sound, perhaps due to a similar bell flare. Don't know.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2006
  6. Robert Rowe

    Robert Rowe Mezzo Piano User

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    Dec 24, 2004
    I have a Handcraft Imperial, as well as two Handcraft Committees. Also, three Handcraft Standards.

    I believe the Indiana was not a Martin horn, originally. Martin bought the Indiana company ... when, I don't know (without doing some research ... I'm just doing this post from memory. Somewhere, I have a couple old Martin brochures, showing this "line-up". I recently moved, and I can't find anything ... including my underwear). Subsequent to this "buy-out", the Indiana became the designated student instrument. The "line-up" was shuffled, to position the Imperial just below the Committee, as an intermediate-level horn.

    I agree that there isn't much of a comparison with the Handcraft Imperials, and the later (1940s onward) Imperial instruments.

    I suppose (?) this is the overall point of this post-topic. However, I stand by my statement declaring the Imperial is not a student-level instrument. The early Handcraft Standard, and the later Indiana were marketed as student-level instruments by the Martin Corporation (Elkhart, Ind).

    I think I read somewhere on the internet (could have been one of those "historical" horn-websites) , that it was a student-level instrument. This is erroneous.

    Good example that you shouldn't believe everything you read. There are other example of erroneous "information". I have a photograph of Louis Armstrong playing a Trumpet, that was previously not known to be one that he ever played. I have been challenged (over the internet) on this by some people that claim they are "experts" on the subject, and resolutely deny the existance of my account. Photos don't lie.

    Robt
     
  7. royjohn

    royjohn New Friend

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    Feb 11, 2005
    I'm not sure about this "the Committee replaced the [Handcraft] Imperial" as the top of the line instrument. I have read a post long ago somewhere indicating that for a time Martin continued to make both instruments as pro-line horns. I have a Handcraft Imperial, serial number 136,xxx, which dates it to about 1939-1940, depending on which serial number list you use, but that is certainly after the introduction of the Committee. Mine has had to have the leadpipe replaced with a similar vintage leadpipe, but I neglected to ask which model leadpipe it is. It has the Art Deco type pinky hook and a reversed tuning slide and the lion and some other very nice engraving on the bell. These features and the way it plays, about equal to my several vintage Holtons of the period (Llewellyn, #49, #51LB) lead me to believe it is a pro-line horn. There is also a "2" under the serial number and I'm told this means it's medium bore and that there was a small bore ["1"] and a large bore ["3"] model.
     
  8. Robert Rowe

    Robert Rowe Mezzo Piano User

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    Dec 24, 2004
    Would be nice to interview the actual "marketing people" that were involved in the Martin "family tree" of instruments.

    "Marketing people" in general, seldom know a great deal about the product or services they are hired to promote, whatever it might be.

    Since most (or all) of these people are dead, it is a moot point to debate all this. Kinda like regurgitating your own vomit ... (sorry for the graphic analogy).

    I have a couple vintage Martin brochures from the era in question. Along with the actual examples of some of these horns, one can speculate as to where each horn-model may have been placed ... and I suppose the retail pricing may be of some assistance.

    The "best" ... the "finest" ... the "top-of-the-line" referencing is somewhat subjective.

    We horn-players are extremely judgemental. Today's (2006 AD) standards are biased toward horns that excel in the jazz idiom of tonal spectrum.

    Sometimes overlooked, is the concept that many horns of the "Golden Era" were designed (engineered?) toward orchestral, "big-band", and symphonic applications ... not as "jazz horns".

    Think about it -- if you were at the top-level of the corporate end of the horn business, would you set your sights on selling horns to the rather small segment of the market called "jazz"? Many emerging jazz-artists were not well paid, and struggled to get by on whatever "decent" horn they could get their hands on. Give them much credit for perservering and getting a lot out of mediocre instruments.

    Anyhow -- I think I'm getting off on a "tangent" (nice 50-cent word from those trigonometry-classes). I enjoy this friendly discourse with my fellow horn afficionados and colleagues here.

    Interesting stuff ....

    Robt
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2006
  9. supportlivejazz

    supportlivejazz Piano User

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    Dec 4, 2006
    Quonnie Breachway
    There probably was some overlap between the HC Imperials and the HC Committees. It seems to me that I have owned both a 1939 HC Imperial and a 1939 HC Committee... just not at the same time... and I no longer have either.:-(
     
  10. gmcmurry

    gmcmurry Pianissimo User

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    Sep 20, 2007
    Pacific Palisades, CA
    I picked up a Martin Imperial because I just thought it was a good deal. It is serial number 707389. I really didn't think it was going to be such a nice playing trumpet but find myself liking the way it plays.

    I always wondered how old it was. It seems like such a high serial number.

    Can anyone tell me what I might have?

    Greg
     

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