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Horns Discuss Martin Horn Question in the Equipment forums; I recently picked up a Martin Imperial from 1960- s/n is 211,2xx. I'm curious if there are any Martin experts ...
  1. #1
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    Mar 2016

    Martin Horn Question

    I recently picked up a Martin Imperial from 1960- s/n is 211,2xx. I'm curious if there are any Martin experts out there that are familiar with any notable differences between the Martin Imperial (dated thru 1961) and the Martin TU-53 Imperial (dated 1961-1963, Richards Music Corp).

    My source of info is here:

    Page 18 of this PDF shows the Martin Imperial, and page 23 shows the Martin TU-53 Imperial. To me, they look identical from these pictures. Would it show a different location of manufacture? I'm guessing that based on my serial number mine is the former horn. I also would guess that the pre-RMC Imperial is the more desirable horn. To me, it doesn't really matter. It played well and will be a great horn for me to enjoy, but I figured I'd ask the experts.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Piano User OldSchoolEuph's Avatar
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    Apr 2011

    Re: Martin Horn Question

    I am surprised we have not heard from the Martin fans on this.

    RMC was only in control a short time, focused on consolidating management, finance and suppliers, and too buried in debt to make a lot of product change. They did halt some production and replace some models with stencils, but I agree that the Imperial looks like the same horn. Unfortunately, I have never seen an RMC one in person to confirm that. Since the design concepts carry forward in the Magna after RMC failed, it seems likely that the Imperial design was valued enough by RMC to be the R&D starting point - which would suggest that they would not gave made changes in the interim before the new one was to launch. But that's a guess.
    True Tone likes this.
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    Re: Martin Horn Question

    Thanks for your thoughts, I too thought that there might be a few Imperial fans out there.

  4. #4
    Forte User Kujo20's Avatar
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    Sep 2010

    Re: Martin Horn Question

    A certain member called zman visits here and there. He knows quite a bit about Martin and should be able to help you out.

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  5. #5
    Pianissimo User Zman's Avatar
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    Dec 2008
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    Re: Martin Horn Question

    I did read this initially. I'm still learning about these horns on a case by case. My focus is more on the 30's and forties. A few of the images on that document were supplied by me. I'm not sure about the RMC era but the earlier version of the horn is fantastic. It's about as close as you can get to the real deal without the expense. I'd need to see an actual RMC version to tell any difference. Based on the photo I'd initially say not much.
    walldaja likes this.
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