The new Martin Committee "thread" from a TM emigrant



  • This is "TJ," aka "the chief gearhead" on Trumpet Master.

    A few days after TrumpetMaster bit the wax termite, my Martin Committee arrived. Like many, I hoped it would return, thinking perhaps it was just another brief outage.

    Like you, I'm also a member of TH, but for some reason TM was where I posted the most. I just happened upon some topics others were interested in, and discussions ensued.

    Since trumpet pedagogy is complex even when discussed in person, the discussions I found most interesting where equipment focused, specifically threads about vintage horns. I loved the vintage horns "eye candy" thread, and also the Martin Committee "Club."

    So first things first, I'm not trying to recreate another MCC, but I would like to solicit the opinions and knowledge of those who either play or have experience with these horns, because quite candidly, I'm absolutely smitten with my recent acquisition, and even the story of how I found her is a good one. If ever there was a horn which lived up to its hype, at least from my perspective, the Martin Committee does so swimmingly.

    I'd been wanting to play one for years, starting back when I was a young lad. Then, after my return to playing, and my love of vintage horns (I have a 53 Olds Recording which I bought from the daughter of the original owner) I began searching for a Committee, specifically one from the "preferred era." I played a couple Medium Bore horns, and found them similar enough to my Olds that I didn't see a reason to pursue them.

    After searching the usual online marketplaces I found one in, of all places, Facebook Marketplace. Had the seller not been a music professor, author of trumpet methodology books, and mutual friends of a couple people whom I hold in the highest esteem, I'd likely have moved on. But he is all those things, and after a couple FB messages I committed to buy the horn. He was in fact not the seller, but was representing the seller, who was a 70 year old woman, who had owned the horn since 1965 when her mother bought it for her at a used music store in Texas. The previous owner was, according to her, a local musician who played in jazz clubs in the area. She played it in high school honor band, and then apparently put it away and didn't do anything with it for.....50 years.

    It is a large bore "Deluxe" model, SN 194587, which puts its build date sometime in 1956 as far as I can tell.

    During the week that it took for it to arrive, I completely geeked out on the horn, reading and re-reading what little has been written about them. At this point TM was gone, so I could not read about it there, although occasionally I'd read it through Google archives.

    When the horn arrived, I heard the UPS truck at our gate, and then saw my wife walking up the driveway with the box in her hands. She too had been looking forward to its arrival, because she loves me and because, well, she was probably tired of me saying "you know what happens in 2 days?"

    I opened the box, opened the sadly non-original case, put my mouthpiece in the receiver, and blew air in to it. After quickly slightly modifying my approach to the kind of air the horn wants, I immediately realized that this horn is unlike any other horn I've ever played, and I was in love. I can't really put in to words how it feels, but the way it resonates and the feeling in my embouchure are large, round, sonorous, without edge, dark, and rich.

    The horn is in very good condition mechanically. The valves are fast and not badly worn, and there are only a couple small signs of repair. The only disappointing aspect of it is that someone buffed and re-lacquered the bell, making the beautiful engraving hard to see. There's still enough left for an experienced artist to touch up, and that's what I intend to do, as soon as I am willing to go without having it for a couple weeks. I sent it to my local brass tech to have the bent lead pipe straightened and the horn cleaned, and I washed it in hot water which removed the old cellulose lacquer.

    I bought a set of Harrelson's mouthpiece gap shim kit and have been trying different gaps. With my Monette Classic Resonance MP the gap was .226", which by all accounts is way too large, and which strangely made the horn very sharp. With the gap reduced to <.100" it's much better, although still slippery and still produces the known flat 2/3 valve combo sound.

    Here are some photos...I'll update the thread when I have more to share. Oh, by the way, I found a woman who can do the engraving through Robb Stewart, and I spoke with her.

    -tj in the Cruz Mtns
    IMG_1757.jpg IMG_1753.jpg IMG_1756.jpg



  • Congrats on picking up such a nice horn! It seems to be in good shape too.



  • Such beautiful amber color nitro lacquer, don't forget to get some Old English Dark Woods polish and apply some to the old finish on the horn, it seems to sustain the lacquer even further and gives the horn a very even gloss depending on how many areas you apply it on.



  • @Bay-Area-Brass said in The new Martin Committee "thread" from a TM emigrant:

    Congrats on picking up such a nice horn! It seems to be in good shape too.

    Thank you! Where are you in the Bay Area? I’m in the Santa Cruz Mtns.

    -TJ



  • @Efig said in The new Martin Committee "thread" from a TM emigrant:

    Such beautiful amber color nitro lacquer, don't forget to get some Old English Dark Woods polish and apply some to the old finish on the horn, it seems to sustain the lacquer even further and gives the horn a very even gloss depending on how many areas you apply it on.

    Interesting...thanks but the horn got relacquered a long time ago and it wasn’t done properly so I’m going to have the engraving freshened up and then we’ll see what to do. A lot of it came off when I had it cleaned. It had been in storage for decades and even though it played nicely when I got it, a fair amount of crap came out when my brass tech cleaned it and straightened the lead pipe.

    -TJ



  • @tjveloce said in The new Martin Committee "thread" from a TM emigrant:

    @Efig said in The new Martin Committee "thread" from a TM emigrant:

    Such beautiful amber color nitro lacquer...
    ...thanks but the horn got relacquered a long time ago and it wasn’t done properly so I’m going to have the engraving freshened up and then we’ll see what to do. A lot of it came off when I had it cleaned. It had been in storage for decades and even though it played nicely when I got it, a fair amount of crap came out when my brass tech cleaned it and straightened the lead pipe.

    -TJ

    I had the same problem with my '46 Committee. That nitro lacquer is so susceptible to pealing over the years and just giving it a tepid soap bath started the process. I sent it to Tom Green to get lacquered and he matched that amber tint to perfection with a new long lasting lacquer.



  • @Dr-GO

    I’d been told mine was cellulose based but regardless of what it was it came off pretty easily. Again whomever applied it tried to polish the bell before they did and the engraving was not crisp before they applied the lacquer.

    I really want the engraving refreshed but I’m just not ready to let her go for the few weeks it will take.

    -TJ


  • Qualified Repair Techs

    We just got in a very pristine large bore at Quinn the Eskimo - it should list shortly if it hasn’t already. It’s probably the best one I’ve played - you’re probably all lucky that I have no interest in it!!
    https://www.brassandwinds.com/



  • @flugelgirl
    I don't see it on the website yet!

    -tj in the Cruz Mtns


  • Qualified Repair Techs

    @tjveloce it had its pictures taken Thursday - I expect it will be up early next week.



  • A question about models - I've seen Committees with trombone styled spit keys and third valve finger loops, and conventionally configured keys and finger loops, yet they don't seem limited to only two periods of time or model. Does anybody know when there was one style and the other and if either style signifies anything, like (ex.) conventional = large bore or something like that? Thanks



  • @flugelgirl said in The new Martin Committee "thread" from a TM emigrant:

    @tjveloce it had its pictures taken Thursday - I expect it will be up early next week.

    And already it's gone. It was truly a nice looker! Flugelgirl, thanks for keeping us informed. Really appreciate it!



  • Not much to say excep that it arrived. Here it is:

    Committee.jpg



  • Hi flugelgirl,
    I just ran across a Martin Committee that just might pique your interest.
    https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/miles-davis-custom-moon-and-stars-trumpet-auction


  • Qualified Repair Techs

    @Dr-Mark Interesting, but probably not a price my boss wants to pay. Certainly not a price I want to pay, or even something I would be interested in owning! My personal vintage collection exists because they are horns I enjoy playing, and I have yet to find a Comittee I’ve enjoyed enough to bother with besides the flugel, and that’s honestly only fun because it’s weird! Just not my flavor! The Olds Recording is also one that doesn’t suit me - I actually own one, but don’t care for it. You’ll all see that up for sale soon.



  • @flugelgirl said in The new Martin Committee "thread" from a TM emigrant:

    I have yet to find a Comittee I’ve enjoyed enough to bother with


    Me Too!
    I own a really nice vintage Committee and I only play it occasionally to keep the moving parts from freezing up. Its great for people that like them but its just not my cup of tea. However, you have to admit, it's a kick ass looking horn but in my opinion not $70,000 worth of kick ass. However, there are people on this site that love old Committees and just might jump at the chance to own this piece of history. Purchase alert! This horn will NOT make you sound like Miles Davis.



  • @tjveloce said in The new Martin Committee "thread" from a TM emigrant: ...Oh, by the way, I found a woman who can do the engraving through Robb Stewart, and I spoke with her.

    So who's freshening up the engraving? Is Sherry Huntley still doing small jobs on the side?



  • I tried to find current contract info for Sherry a short time ago and was unsuccessful. All I leaned was that her company seems to be no more. She sure did a nice job of restoring the engraving on my LeBlanc...



  • @Comeback said in The new Martin Committee "thread" from a TM emigrant:

    I tried to find current contract info for Sherry a short time ago and was unsuccessful. All I leaned was that her company seems to be no more. She sure did a nice job of restoring the engraving on my LeBlanc...

    Yeah, she retired a few years ago. Luckily, I had her work her magic on one of my cornets back in the day. Such fine workmanship at such a reasonable price. You may recognize this one...😎

    MVC-038F.JPG



  • Yes I do! What a beauty! I’d post a pic of the LeBlanc if I were more clever.


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