My Martin Busine bari --IS-- a Grassi

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  1. #1

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    Default My Martin Busine bari --IS-- a Grassi

    Was ready to write about this in September, but I was sidetracked by the oddest "Grassi" bari on Ebay, upon which I pondered for my first post, about this odd/, counterfeit?? Grassi, while also promising a thread soon about my "Martin Busine" bari.

    Coming back to playing saxophone after 45 years off, I had an alto and a tenor sitting around, but bari was the first sax I ever blew and always my first love. But spend huge money to play bari in a community concert band, and home recording? AND I require all my instruments to look near pristine? I saw a bari online at a very well-known midwest sax shop, with beautiful Martin Busine (Charging Pegasus charging out of the clouds) engraving on the bell and the m/b logo stamped in the edge of the low B-Bb keyguard (where a Grassi would have a stylized G)

    Research quickly led me to SOTW, where most of the skimpy information even ON the net resides. There was, and you see on Ebay, the occasional Martin Busine Altos and Tenors. Often but not always they are beat, but most are clearly to me, in pictures, obviously Grassi. The keyguards. The laurel covered joining bands. With mine, also:The perfect logical fit in the Grassi serial number range. The location of the serial number back then (doesn't start with a letter like Orsi) Serial number is duplicated on the underside of the side HiF key, as well as the last four digits on the neck tenon. The talked about "Backwards Y" in the "Made in Italy", the shape of every key. And on this prospective bari (at the time), even the LH palm keys were identical, not only with what I suspected was the "mother horn" (from the published 1975 catalog Grassi Standard bari. that pic is a little blury but I could tell.)

    Studying about European stencils, most of them were identical to the then current model of the manufacturer. Writing here on SOTW and many other sites talked about that Grassi may have been known for garden variety student altos and tenors back then, but that their baris were consistently very good. BING! M/B=Grassi=Great bari + no one knows about them= Cheap. And pretty. And sold by a very well known and respected sax shop, And I could play it!

    It played very well, I bought it. I sent links of the very photos I'll post here to the expert who influenced me so much, and was crushed when he doubted its Grassi-ness. He concentrated MUCHLY on the body to bell brace, which is not the usual Selmer-style ring. I wonder if many folks put way too much emphasis on btb braces when talking about stencils. Perhaps the buying vendor wants it that way, or manufacturer wants some differentiation. I'm sure my tech could take out that brace and replace it in minutes. And, it does look a little like braces used by Orsi, but Orsi has used the almond-eye opening shaped brace, where Marting Busine brace has that shape inboard, but turns into a circle for 180 of the degrees at the bell. Probably off the same vendor wagon in Quarna.

    Last May I saw a pristine Grassi "standard" (as in that article on Grassi models, made- up, I know) bari on Ebay. Wow, perhaps even more pristine, a mid 12xxx serial- meaning probably more mid sixties (?). Convinced myself that a "back-up" horn wouldn't be a bad idea, and that it was undervalued. But if my feet were put to the fire, I would be screaming that:

    A----I wanted into the Grassi club for darned sure, and, B----to have those horns side by freaking side for months to prove to all who care (all 6 of you) that these horns are nearly identical. The M/B (serial # high 27000s) Hi F has a keyguard, as does the F3 trill key, and the aforementioned btb brace. End of list. Please see the many pics I have from the retailer when I bought the m/b in 2015. Polishing all the keys and guards makes it look better now than then. Then compare the Grassi (sorry, not as good!) pics from my cellphone, where I tried to take pics from similar angles to the professional M/B pics. Ooo...I'm limited to 5?. Well those will match up with the Martin Busine pics in next post. I have 24 total M/B pics, so request another angle if you happen to be one of those 6 who even care and can't see what you want.

    BTW, many say Martine Busine, a French concern selling woodwinds of several manufacturers, is largely been stated to heavily have used catalog sales, (Sears amoung others) but I have seen many ebay pics where the m/b are in cases where interior ribbons proclaimed the names of many family music stores across the US.as mb 5.jpgas mb11.jpgas mb 14.jpgas in mb bari 2.jpg are in cases where interior ribbons proclaimed the names of many family music stores across the US.

    My expert will certainly chime in as always when the subject of Grassi stencils comes up that Grassi was not very into stencils. Well, they made mine, I'm convinced of it. "Helen" agrees.
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  3. #2

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    Default Re: My Martin Busine bari --IS-- a Grassi

    I am now the biggest idiot in the world. I suddenly can't find THE 24 M/B pics I know I have. I can't believe this. Stay tuned... working on it.
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    Default Re: My Martin Busine bari --IS-- a Grassi

    I am not surprised by this. Busines ARE stamped Italy, and indeed the body ferrules on yours, which feature the 'fascia' sorta detailing, are pure Grassi.

    Grassis began, it seems, by building their own bodies and the outfitting 'em with the keywork which apparently circulated all thru Southern Europe at the time, as you see that style both on French and Italian horns. The tipoff often being the Pinky Tables.

    As time went on, Grassi started making their own signature keywork.

    But no doubt, your horn looks exactly like an earlier Grassi.

    Bet it sounds tremendous, too.....and I have never before seen a Busine BigHorn.
    Go for the Old-Skool, homies. www.2ndending.com

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    Default Re: My Martin Busine bari --IS-- a Grassi

    Sorry, I have confused you. Those pictures Are my Grassi, I had meant for them to be compared with the large, clear, professional pictures of the Martin Busine (I guess there WAS the one with the serial # and the laurel bands) that suddenly I can't find. They were there (on my computer) a few days ago when I constructed the best saxophone Craigslist ad ever done, for the Martin Busine to be sold. Perhaps if you go to the Chicago Craigslist, musical instruments, search bari sax, you can still catch my ad with the verbose (always with me) copy and the 24 SUPER m/b pics. Edit: The link I deleted is probably expired by now, PM me for new link if interested in all 24 pics.

    Anyone interested about the Martin Busine subject will want to do this. The pictures are best ever. BTW, this is not an off-handed way to sell, I think I pretty much have it sold Sunday. Just for the Pics!!!!!

    It is those that I really wrote this whole thing about and wanted people to see!!!! Somehow after I pulled them for the Craigslist ad that file has disappeared. I'm insane with frustration as I have been thinking about this for six months!!!

    EdIT: Well, I finally found the photos. I will try to load the five that show "Grassiness" the best.

    Mb Bari 14.jpgMB Bari 26.jpgMB Bari 19.jpgMB Bari 3.jpg

    JayePDX (George, did I hear?), you have been one of my favorite people in the Grassi camp. Obviously I am selling the m/b, as much as I have loved it, as I now have the earlier, actual Grassi. It will not take as much education and/or explaining to sell it for my heirs when I croak (not currently scheduled). Another reason is after swearing not to even look at Ebay ever again, I peeked one night and came face to face with the very horn I originally wanted when I started this whole thing..... a late Beaugnier/LeBlanc french Vito, looking as new. JayPDX was in that arena also, a big help to me. My Grassi will now be backup to the Vito. Only three years hanging with youse guys (as we say here) and I have full blown GAS. An old Gramps with three baris? I've gone off my rocker.

    I just wanted to throw light on the Marin Busine/Grassi thing before "Marty" goes down the road, possibly Sunday where I have a meet in the works. Edit: She cancelled
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    Last edited by moxie; 01-14-2018 at 05:24 PM. Reason: total redo--found M/B phots

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    Default Re: My Martin Busine bari --IS-- a Grassi

    If you look at the keywork, and good pics of a Conn 12M from that era, the only difference I can ever see is a more sophisticated Hi F key (not one piece) and the F# trill key around the side instead of the teardrop setup that Conn and Buescher used. The necks of all three (m/b, Grassi, and Conn all fit each other. I saw talk of a Conn bell being whisked away from a bench during a Grassi factory tour (wow, sax copying?), and most of us know how Conn's then parent UMI imported Grassis as an upper level choice after the Nogales horns had tarnished Conn's rep, albeit thru the King channel (also UMI then). I'm only assuming that my Martin Busine came to me with its original mouthpiece--marked as UMI, and perfectly matching pictures of earlier Conn Precision pieces.
    Last edited by moxie; 01-12-2018 at 09:45 PM. Reason: redone

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    Default Re: My Martin Busine bari --IS-- a Grassi

    Well, I found the Martin Busine pics folder, had accidentaly melted it in with pictures of my ancestors! Since I can only post five, and I can't load them to my Dropbox as they no longer support my old Windows XP computer ( big new laptop came today). So, if anyone (of the six in the world I guessed may even care about this) had my Craigslist link expire and still wish to see them, just say so, and what views you may want to see.

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