Created by Folk and Roots Music
"perfecting the art of 'guitar porn' ...
This site is an amazing labor-of-love, quite possibly the most
in-depth, photo-intensive look ever at old, pre-war (and in many
cases antique) Martin guitars … All online and for free."
The Fretboard Journal
"Without any hesitation I can say that in my opinion, the website
that Robert has created is the most valuable source of information
on Early Martin Guitars in existence today, in or out of print."
Bill Cappell, Early Martin Researcher, November, 2013
Robert's photographs can also be seen in the books "Martin
Guitars, a History"
and "Martin Guitars, a Technical Reference" by Johnston, Boak
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A Note About this Web Site...
I've chosen to present this information on the web for free,
rather than publish a printed book, to make a comprehensive
...at any time,
...any place in the world,
...even on your smartphone,
...regardless of your means.
Publishing on the web allows me to show you the latest information
immediately, without waiting for publication, without missing
information obtained after a book is
published, or including information found to be
obsolete. Fortunately, careful choices have allowed me
to self-fund this project and share the results without charging.
If I should ever decide to publish a physical book, I still have
no plans to replace these free web sites.
I've learned that the instruments produced under C.F. Martin Sr.
in his first dozen or so years in America and his 22 year old
grandson Frank Henry Martin, who led
the company for 67 years, during the productive Hawaiian boom of
the teens, through the influential depression era, to the "golden"
pre-WWII years, virtually define
the evolution of the acoustic guitar as we know it today, so I've
focused on collecting these transitional guitars.
Martin's greatest achievement may have been listening well.
Virtually all of the greatest advancements in the development of
the acoustic guitar were conceived of not
at the Martin factory, but at the suggestion of Martin's
customers. Martin's longtime distributor, John Coupa, lived
in the classical world, who's players were attracted
to the influential guitars of Spain. Madame DeGhoni
commissioned guitars with prototypical X bracing, a necessary
precursor to steel strings, from both Martin and
Schmidt & Maul. Steel strings first appeared on the
Hawaiian guitars commissioned by the Southern California Music
Company. The modern guitar shape is the result
of the neck meeting the body at the 14th fret as requested to
attract former banjo players by Al Esposito of the Fischer Music
Stores. The Dreadnaught body style was
suggested by Harry Hunt of the Ditson Stores. Martin Shop
Foreman John Deichman helped realize many of these ideas.
Having guitars in hand has allowed me to to let the guitars speak
for themselves, observing, measuring, and documenting, with
exterior photos and images that
allow us to take a virtual walk through their interiors, and to
present as often as possible the results of direct observation
rather than speculation and debatable opinions.
Simple observation has allowed me to correct errors in several of
the most important elements of the narrative as presented by some
major books on the subject, leading
me to question who was responsible for building the first Martins,
adapting fan bracing, for "inventing" X bracing, and proposing the
14 fret neck design that informs
the shape of the modern guitar.
C.F. Martin & Co. has produced exquisite guitars, and I've
been fortunate to assemble a number of the most beautiful, but I
realized early on that any attempt at serious
research should also take the less expensive "bread and butter"
examples seriously, rather than fall into the trap of relying on
the "eye candy" of less typical "presentation
guitars" merely because they impress. Unfortunately, while
many more of the affordable guitars were produced, they were far
less likely to survive their tough years.
I'm also fortunate to have lived life as a President's Fellow in
Photography and Design at Rhode Island School of Design, in over
50 years of photographing musicians,
and as a professional designer with a background in publishing, so
I've worked to apply my learnings to set a higher bar for graphic,
vivid detail photos that I'm flattered
to find have been emulated already. Producing the photos
myself has also allowed me to avoid the industry funding used to
help other projects cover the significant costs
of paying a commercial photographer, keeping this project
independent and free of outside influence.
While many of the foremost experts on vintage Martins are friends,
and I owe thanks to all of them, I've been careful to avoid owing
favors to friends, or to anyone in the
industry, that might interfere with my objectivity, or keep me
from presenting my findings fully, letting the chips fall where
they may, and not having to worry about who
might be offended and who will "look good".
contains 67 chapters. www.vintagemartin.com
is 115 chapters and growing, including more detail, photos, and
free, full-size downloadable diagrams
than any book could include.
I don't believe that producing a web site rather than a book is a
compromise in any way.
More than simply a free e-book, I would not be surprised to see
this inclusive personal experiment of creating in public to become
commonplace in the future.
This web site will always be a work in progress. Not all
sections are complete, and more may appear. Hopefully, all
of the links are working now. I've reorganized the entire
site and the pieces continue to come together, but there are still
holes and place holders. Feel free to enjoy what's here, and
check back for further additions, refinements,
and corrections as you wish. Thanks to your suggestions,
I've added an index. I've also added more bracing diagrams,
which are now cleaned up nicely thanks to the CAD
skills of luthier Per Marklund in Sweden. I look forward to
adding specific thanks to the many other friends and experts who
have helped make this web endeavor possible,
along with links to other helpful resources. On this
platform, the possibilities are limitless.
I recently presented and videotaped a workshop in partnership with
Fretboard Journal, with the help of friends including Noel "Paul"
Stookey of Peter, Paul & Mary, playing
a number of my guitars to demonstrate the differences in the
sounds of their various features. I hope to add this as well
as other videos and sound clips to the web site soon.
No project is perfect. Perhaps my biggest asset is
having you as partners, in daily communication, alerting me to new
information, and providing an unprecedented team of
proofreaders, rather than have me grit my teeth over a newly
published book filled with typos that will annoy forever.
I thought you might want to take advantage of what we have so far.
Please let me know what you think.
- Please note -
Yes, this is a work in progress, as promised! I'm in the
process of adding several exciting new instruments to this web
The new chapters for these instruments have not all been
completed yet, so the associated links are not all operable at
I also have not yet adjusted the index to reflect the new
added chapter numbers, so the index is not now accurate.
I hope to finish making these changes in the coming
days. Thanks for your patience and understanding in the
June 24, 2021
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One of the most gratifying aspects of this project has come in the
form of notes received from luthiers I admire telling me that the
site has provided information useful for
the restoration or repair of vintage instruments or the building
of innovative new ones.
"The internet is another good source of reference. One
website with good close up photos of vintage instruments... that I
particularly like is vintagemartin.com.
It is possible to extrapolate measurements from some of these
photos if you already know the dimensions of other details in the
photo. That type of thing can be very useful..."
Guild of American Luthiers, 2011 Convention Keynote Lecture by Joe
Konkoly, Head of repair at Elderly Instruments.
Please let me know how the site may be more useful in the future.
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Start here if you're looking for help
Identifying C. F. Martin Guitars
A Martin Timeline
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~ Download the above headstock image as a 1680 pixel Screensaver
free for your personal use as my gift to you! ~
~ Click on the headstock image below and download a hi-res file
you can use to create a high quality 11" x 14" photographic print,
suitable for framing, free for your personal use as my gift to
~ Download any of nineteen full size 1:1 diagrams
with precise measurements of fifteen important early Martin,
Panormo, Recio of Cadiz, and Schmidt & Maul guitars,
a 1917 Martin/Ditson Standard "baby Dreadnaught", a 1929 12 fret
000-28, an early 1930 OM-28, and a 1944 000-18, all free for your
personal use. ~
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` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Obtaining Proper Permits for Shipping Vintage
Instruments Overseas from the USA
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of
Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
and the Endangered Species Act (ESA)
' ' ' ' ' ' ' '
' ' ' ' ' ' ' '
~ CLEANING HOUSE ~
I absolutely love these, but I really do need to make just a
bit of room for new ones.
' ' ' ' ' '
' ' ' ' ' ' ' '
~ THE EVOLUTION OF THE MARTIN GUITAR ~
' ' ' ' ' ' '
' ' ' ' ' ' '
to learn about
~ DEVELOPING THE CONTEMPORARY STEEL
STRING GUITAR ~
~ Defining the Acoustic Guitar in the 20th Century
visit my companion web site
' ' ' ' ' ' '
' ' ' ' ' ' '
~ The Nineteenth Century ~
~ PART 1 ~
~ EARLY C. F. MARTIN INSTRUMENTS ~
Before the Styles Were Defined
Stauffer "Renaissance" Style
Legnani Model Guitar
before C.F. Martin came to New York from
Markneukirchen, Saxony and established his music
store on the lower East Side of New York City,
is said to have apprenticed in the acclaimed
workshop of Johann Georg Stauffer of Vienna, builder
of the Stauffer "Legnani" Model,
the most modern of European guitars.
early Martin guitars are known for their "Stauffer
headstock", a distinctive headstock with six tuning
machines in line on a single side of the
as emulated today on Fender guitars, and which were
referred to by Martin as "Vienna
Gears". In actual fact, more
Stauffer guitars have a paddle
headstock with ebony friction pegs than
what has come to be known as the
guitars typically have a thin, wide "figure 8"
shaped body with an upper bout more equal in size to
the lower bout, also seen on the earliest
guitars, as opposed to the guitars of Spain, with a smaller
upper bout on a narrow body, as later adopted by
Martin and still prominent today.
unique one of a kind "Renaissance" Style Stauffer
guitar seen here, with a body that flows seamlessly
into the neck, is clearly the model for the
one of a kind "Renaissance"
Style Martin guitar seen
below, so we're lucky that both have survived.
Martin Stauffer Style Guitar
The history of the Martin begins
with this guitar. Several books show this guitar,
labeled as a Stauffer, along with what has been considered
to be the
existent Martin guitar, to show the influence of the
Viennese Stauffer workshop, where Martin once
apprenticed, on the first guitars built by
Martin in the new world. A large photo of this
instrument is displayed in the Martin Museum next to the
early Martin to illustrate this
When I compared the two guitars side by side and
photographed their interiors, the DNA emerged of two
near identical siblings, obviously conceived
by the same hands at the same time with minor
cosmetic variation, a fact now
accepted by other Martin experts.
As you'll see as you read further, it was
typical in the early days of Martin, when they had
an order for one guitar, to build a second with
minor variation in trim. The two
spruce tops and maple veneer backs over
maple sides. Both have Stauffer style
headstocks with Vienna gears, necks with
inlaid stripes of ebony and ivory,
raised angled fretboard extensions,
designs set in
intricate ivory and ebony ice cream cone
heels with clock key adjustments and
hand shaped neck blocks with
identical hardware. Each
guitar is ladder braced with a similar "buttress"
under the fretboard extension of each.
This guitar has no stamps or label, adding to the belief that it came from the
workshop of Stauffer, not Martin. Once I recognized
that it came from
the same hands as the Martin, the question was raised of
whether this guitar and the Martin stamped example might
both have been built by others in Europe,
and one was imported by Martin, with the Martin
stamp added, along with a label proclaiming Martin as an
"importer of musical instruments". Perhaps both
were made by a fellow immigrant living in New York
City. Mr. Martin, after all, was a busy owner of a
Manhattan music store. Martin's records, however,
show that Martin imported only more affordable guitars, and
Martin moved to this country with his friend
Heinrich Schatz, a well trained luthier who worked in
Martin's New York shop, and who's later work was similar
to and every bit as skilled as the finest early
Martins. So it's likely that these
two guitars were
both built in Martin's shop after all.
It's traditionally been assumed that all early C.F. Martin
guitars were built by C. F. Martin. We now know that
Mr Schatz, at a minimum, had a hand in building
the guitars. Schatz was a fine builder, and Martin a
busy shopkeeper. Did Schatz do all the building of the
early fine Martin guitars? Perhaps we will never know.
These two guitars, if not typical, are the pinnacle of
guitars offered by C. F. Martin when he first came to
Washburn & Johnston, "Martin Guitars: An Illustrated
Celebration of America's Premier Guitarmaker"
"The similarities between these two guitars are
startling... Note the almost identical bridge,
soundhole rosette, and angled cut at the end of the
as well as the adjustable neck with fretboard floating above
the soundboard. Both guitars also have maple
backs and sides, though Martin would soon
shift almost exclusively to rosewood."
Illustrated in Gura, "C. F.
Martin and His Guitars, 1796-1873"
in Bacon, "History of the American Guitar"
C.F. Martin "Ferrani" Hudson Street Viennese Style
the earliest Viennese influenced Martins had rather
small figure-eight shaped bodies with large upper bouts,
Street label" Martins built later in the
be surprisingly large and deep guitars reminiscent of
the later Gibson Nick Lucas. These guitars, like
their Viennese predecessors, had simple ladder bracing.
guitar appears to be in the Style Mr. Martin referred to as
"In October, for example (Coupa) ordered two
"small DeGoni” at $20 each, two large ones with pegs, and
one "Ferranti"...The "Ferranti" was named for another well
player, Marc Aurelio Ferranti, guitarist to
the king of Belgium. His instrument was also
described as large, of a more "circular” form - that is,
with both bouts about the same width.”
Gura, p 76. Coupa to Martin, New York,
October 15, 1849.
While a typical
Martin of the period might be 11 5/8" wide and 3 1/4"
deep, the Ferranti Martin is 12 5/8" wide and 4 1/4"
deep, close to the depth of the famously deep Nick
This guitar is typical of what
Martin was building in the late 1830's before leaving
New York for Pennsylvania. While most people
associate the Viennese influenced Martins with
Stauffer style headstocks with Vienna gears, many of
these originally had slotted headstocks with machines,
some of which have been improperly replaced due to
While the back and sides
appear to be Brazilian rosewood, the back is in fact
a rosewood veneer over spruce. Most early
Martins were built in this fashion, with
the customer's choice of a variety of quality
hardwood veneers over either spruce or mahogany.
Most of the Hudson Street
Martins have a top border of "thumbprint" inlays as well as the
"herringbone" trim that has distinguished Martins for
many years. The inlays may
have been crafted from halves of button blanks from
neighboring lower East Side garment dealers.
Washburn & Johnston, "Martin Guitars: An Illustrated
Celebration of America's Premier Guitarmaker":
from the 1830's suggest that most of C.F. Sr.'s guitars were
small and plain. The eye catching inlays on this fancy
ensured it's survival, while most of the simple guitars from
this period were discarded long ago."
& Schatz Guitar
of the most significant
early Martins, this Martin
& Schatz labeled guitar
resided in a glass case at
the new Martin factory in
preceding the addition of a
formal Martin Museum.
his first decade of operations in New York
City, C. F. Martin's discovery of the fan
braced guitars of Cadiz, Spain greatly
direction of the design of his guitars.
Built in the old world tradition with Viennese gears,
and one of a handful of Martins
with an ivory fingerboard and a small
few with an ivory
shield shaped bridge,
this was also one of the
first one or two Martins built with a
variation of fan bracing and the narrow early
"plantilla" or body shape.
This instrument was built with a rosewood veneer over
mahogany and rosewood sides.
in Gura, "C. F. Martin and His Guitars, 1796-1873"
Illustrated in Washburn & Johnston,
"Martin Guitars: An Illustrated Celebration of America's
Illustrated in "Inventing
the American Guitar: The Pre–Civil War
Innovations of C. F. Martin and His
Contemporaries", where a diagram erroneously
significantly different bracing pattern than
the photo above shows to be true, and the
narrative implies an evolution from ladder
to fan bracing, while fan bracing
was not "evolved" by Martin, but copied from
the Spanish guitars he observed.
Martin Story: A Brief History of the Martin
Guitar Company", .C.F Martin & Co.
Illustrated in Carter "Acoustic Guitars
and Other Fretted Instruments".
Illustrated in Bacon,
"History of the American Guitar"
Recio, Cadiz Guitar
The developing shape of the Martin guitar, with a smaller
upper bout, was influenced by the guitars of Cadiz,
Spain. The "Spanish" style Martin guitars of
the 1840's copied many of the features of guitars of Cadiz,
including fan bracing, the cedar neck with thin curved heel,
square headstock with "volute",
tuning pegs, "Spanish foot", two piece
sides, rosette with thinner outer rings, and tied bridge
with ivory or bone inset.
& Coupa Brazilian "Tigerwood" Guitar
Once the Martin family moved from New York
City to rural Pennsylvania in 1838, distribution of
the guitars remained in New York, handled by guitar teacher John Coupa,
and the guitars were
either affixed with a "Martin & Coupa"
label, or continued to be stamped
"C.F. Martin, New York".
is a typical early Martin parlor guitar, showing a
mix of Viennese and Spanish influenced
features: Still with the Stauffer Style
headstock and Vienna gears, ebonized neck
and "ice cream cone" heel, combined with Spanish fan
bracing, an early precursor of Martin's faux Spanish
foot, extending the width of the upper bout, and an
early version of
Martin's typical Spanish influenced body shape, with
a smaller upper bout than the Viennese influenced
guitars, and a flatter base of the lower bout than
is found on later Martins.
This instrument has
been noted in several books as an early
illustration of Martin's use of Hawaiian koa wood,
long before koa
thought to have been used during
the Hawaiian craze
of the teens.
testing has shown this wood to in fact be
Goncalo Alves from Eastern Brazil,
to as "Tigerwood".
The back is
a Goncalo Alves veneer over
in Washburn & Johnston, "Martin Guitars: An
Illustrated Celebration of America's Premier
don't often find Hawaiian koa on
mid-nineteenth-century guitars; in fact, you don't
find much koa on anything at that early date.
when the Hawaiian music craze swept the nation,
Martin began to make lots of instruments from this
beautiful wood, but one can only speculate
why C.F. Sr. chose to try it on this Martin &
Coupa from the 1840's."
in Carter "Acoustic Guitars and Other Fretted
over the Martin & Coupa label is one indicating
that the guitar was "Sold by John F. Nunns".
Martin & Coupa claimed the largest assortment of
guitars that can be found in the United States."
Martin Bird's Eye Terz
This guitar was likely built at close to the same time
as the Tigerwood Martin and Coupa above but with three
differences. It is a smaller "Terz" guitar.
It was built with a bird's eye maple veneer over
mahogany rather than Goncoa Alves. And it has a
single Martin, New York stamp in place of the Martin
& Coupa label.
The Terz is a small guitar, still made by Martin today,
and made popular more recently by Marty Robbins.
The dimensions are:
22 1/8" scale
18 1/4" body length
11 3/8" body width
32" total length
3 3/8" depth at upper bout
3 3/4" depth at lower bout
1 3/4" nut width
2 5/16" string spacing
4 29/32" wide bridge
6" x 1 7/8" x 3" headstock
3 1/4" soundhole
Ice Cream Cone heel
Broad foot under wide rounded neck block
Three rounded back braces at 4", 3 3/4", 3 3/4"
Three strut fan braces
While this guitar was build at approximately the same
time as the Martin & Coupa, the Martin & Coupa
label was used only on guitars distributed from New York
by John Coupa while Martin was also selling a smaller number of
guitars directly from the workshop at their new home in
Cherry Hill, Pennsylvania.
& Coupa Spanish Style Guitar
This example epitomizes the Martin
guitar at a critical point in it's evolution. The
"Spanish" Martin is a distinct style with specific features
showing Martin's awareness of the pre-Torres guitar of
Spain. This guitar retains features of Martin's
earliest Viennese influenced guitars,
including the "Stauffer Style" headstock with "Vienna
Gears", while adding features of the Spanish guitar.
This fine example of perhaps the earliest of Martin's
versions of a Spanish guitar has many prototypical Spanish
features: cedar neck with
elegantly curved Spanish heel, Spanish style interior false
foot, tie style bridge with ivory inset, fan braces, two
piece rosewood sides with simple
lengthwise center strip dividing the two pieces, and both
bindings and simple back strip with straight lines
made of holly extending into the heel.
This guitar is also an early example of features which would
become hallmarks of Martin design for years to come, such as
the ebony pyramid style
bridge, and Martin's version of the Spanish body shape with
a smaller upper bout than the Viennese influenced guitars.
This could be the earliest Martin we've seen to have solid
Brazilian rosewood backs and sides in place of a back of
Illustrated in Evans, "Guitars:
Music, History, Construction and the Players, from
Renaissance to Rock"
While interviews related to a recent
museum exhibit of early Martin guitars infers that the
"Spanish Connection" is a recent discovery, the
importance of this instrument in illustrating the
significance of the influence to C.F. Martin of the
"Pre-Torres' guitars of Cadiz, Spain was clearly
recognized here by Evans, in these words published 46 years
ago, in 1977, and reprised in the 1997 writing of Washburn
"This instrument has a combination of features that is, to
our knowledge, unique on a Martin guitar. The head
design is similar to that used by
Martin in the 1830's, with the tuning machines concealed
under a metal plate and buttons on one side, after the
manner of Stauffer. The body,
however, does not have the Stauffer-inspired, wasp-waisted
shape of the 1830's, but is closer to the mature Martin
style of twenty years later.
The shape suggests strongly that Martin had had the
opportunity to examine a Spanish-made guitar of about 1840,
experimenting with Spanish-style construction."
"This supposition is reinforced by the presence of Spanish
features such as we have seen on no other Martin guitar,
including simple fan
bracing with three radiating struts, and a Spanish head and
slipper foot into which the sides are slotted. The
division of the rosewood sides by a
narrow decorative hardwood strip is another feature borrowed
from the nineteenth-century Spanish guitars. The
presence of this strip weakens
the sides; to give them strength, Martin fitted several
vertical braces into which the cross struts of the top and
back are notched, framing up the body."
"The design of the bridge is very modern for it's
date. In shape it conforms to the "pyramid" bridge
pattern used by Martin throughout the latter
half of the nineteenth century and the first quarter of the
twentieth. But this is one of the very few
nineteenth-century Martin guitars to be made with a
tied rather than a pin bridge. The strings pass over a
broad, backward sloping ivory saddle-piece before being
secured at the rear of the bridge."
"This guitar proves that C.F. Martin was one of the few
makers outside Spain in the early nineteenth century to be
aware of the possibility of fan strutting
on the guitar, and that he experimented with it before
developing his own famous X-bracing system. It shows
the American gut-stringed guitar, the
ancestor of the steel-sting guitar, at a critical point of
it's evolution, about to break away from the diverse
European influences to which it owed it's beginnings."
Washburn & Johnston, "Martin Guitars: An Illustrated
Celebration of America's Premier Guitarmaker":
interesting parts of this Martin & Coupa are what you
can't see. The neck has a Spanish-shaped heel, with
the sides slotted into a
neck block with an interior "foot". The top is also
fan braced, a feature this guitar shares with several other
Martin & Coupa instruments. Other small
details from this experimental period at Cherry Hill
strongly suggest that C.F. Sr. was turning away from
Northern European guitar design and
incorporating ideas found on Spanish instruments predating
guitarmaker Antonio Torres's guitars.
in "The Steve Howe Guitar Collection"
& Maul Spanish Style Guitar
The Martin & Coupa above has been touted as
containing a singularly unique combination of features
not found on any other known Martin guitar,
including elements showing Martin's Viennese and Spanish
influences, as well as the beginnings of his own
style. When I purchased this 1844 Schmidt
and Maul guitar at auction from Christie's, I was
shocked to discover that it contained every single one
of the unique elements recognized by Evans in the
Martin & Coupa above, including Viennese gears and
Spanish fan bracing, split sides with marquetry, simple
holly borders and back strip following through
the Viennese Style headstock with gears, and Spanish
Style cedar neck with a distinctive raised volute that
has been flattened to fit under the gear plate. This
Maul were also
guitars at an
in the small
the work of
and Maul were
Martin, and retained
John Coupa, Martin's
guitars to Schmidt
Transitional Viennese/Spanish Style Martin & Coupa Guitar
Some folks studying early Martin guitars
make a point of presenting the guitars in
chronological order to establish a sequence of
events. This can be a difficult
endeavor with somewhat unsatisfying results.
Once Martin introduced a new feature, it was added to
his menu of available options for customers to choose
not only do features show up far after one would have
thought them to be obsolete, but guitars keep popping
up with features that we thought to have come far
This guitar has some features associated with the
Martin & Coupas, including the ebony pyramid tie
style bridge with inset ivory saddle, the "shelf"
"Spanish foot", and five strut fan braces.
The wide, open rosette is more reminiscent of Panormo
or the guitars of Cadiz, Spain. This guitar has
influenced ebonized neck with "Stauffer Style" head
with Vienna Gears and ice cream cone heel. We
see the herringbone border on the sides that are
found on Martin's earliest guitars from the Hudson
Street days. And we are surprised by a wide
marquetry top border of the style generally found on a
after Martin's styles were established in the 1850's.
Not surprisingly this guitar shares features with some of
Martin's simplest guitars, while the herringbone side trim
is seen on Martin's most decorative guitars,
and the delicate back border is only seen on a handful of
early Martins. The back is rosewood veneer over
By comparison, the Spanish Martin & Coupa above looks
similar from the front with it's Spanish shape, "Stauffer"
head, and ebony tie bridge with inset,
but has an "earlier" three strut fan, which generally
defines the era, and a later Spanish
heel, while this guitar has the earlier
ebonized neck with ice cream
cone heel and herringbone side trim, and a
later style of marquetry.
Spanish Style Guitar
This guitar is a uniquely fine example of
Martin's version of the Spanish guitar, with many of the
typical features: cedar neck with elegantly curved
heel, large, square headstock flared to a wide end, with
pegs, nickel silver nut, Spanish style interior false foot,
tie bridge, fan braces, two piece rosewood sides
with decorative side filets and a decorative lengthwise
center strip with marquetry dividing the two sections, and
back with rosewood veneer over mahogany.
With the fancy appearance of perhaps the most jewel-like
Martin "presentation" guitar existent, with a top border of
pearl diamonds set in mastic, and a
version of one of the three basic pearl diamond-adorned soundhole
designs with two rows of
surrounding a solid band of colorful
abalone, this example was clearly built to be played, with a
large, long scale, modern feeling neck, which gives this
guitar the feel in-hand of a much larger guitar.
Gura, "C. F. Martin and His Guitars, 1796-1873":
instrument has rosewood sides and back (laminated);
marquetry on back and side edges and through the center of
it's sides; pearl trim around the
center of it's sides; pearl trim around the top, and an
abalone rosette. Note in particular the beautiful
abalone soundhole and top trim, found on Martin's
highest-style guitars, and the ivory tie bridge."
Umanov Guitars, New York:
interestingly, it also has a longer scale; at 24.5" it is
nearly that of a grand concert size Martin. This
suggests possible construction for concert use,
as it gives the guitar an amazingly sonorous tone, far out
of proportion to it's size."
Renaissance Style Guitar
guitar shares many features with the 1840's Spanish
Style guitar above, including the ivory bound
headstock with pegs and thin ebony lines
delineating all edges of the headstock, volute and neck,
cedar neck, elegant heel, nickel silver nut, fan
bracing, identical ivory tie block bridge, 2 piece
divided by a longitudinal strip of marquetry, details
of internal construction, and a long modern feeling
neck. This unique "Renaissance" shape,
however, can be seen on only a handful of early Martin
unique details go further than that. This is the only
known example of a Martin with sides tapered to fit the
contour of the neck heel in a
most elegant fashion. The neck is a full 2" wide, with
a 24.75" scale, and this is one of only two Martins known to
have a unique peak at the
tip of the ivory bound headstock. Besides being one of
the most unusual Martin examples known to exist, the
condition is breathtaking, all original
and looking like an almost new guitar.
This is another early example with solid Brazilian rosewood
backs and sides in place of a rosewood veneer back.
Richard Johnston, co-author "Martin Guitars, a
"This is the earliest Martin guitar I have seen in many
years, and without doubt the most unusual. Words like
“unique” and “extremely rare” get tossed
around frequently when describing vintage guitars, but in
this case we’re not exaggerating. Only seven of these
unusual “Renaissance” shape Martins
have surfaced to date, and only this one has the sides
tapered to fit the contour of the neck heel."
Illustrated in Washburn & Johnston, "Martin
Guitars: An Illustrated Celebration of America's Premier
"This elegant peghead has been seen on only a handful of
early Martins... The ivory sides... later evolved
into a thin border on only the uppermost
edge of the peghead."
"The compound curve of the guitar where the sides meet the
neck is sure to inspire admiration from any serious
woodworker...no other Martin
guitar has surfaced in which the sides form a continuous,
smooth transition into the neck. The low-profile
shoulders would make playing in
upper positions on this guitar almost as easy as on a
Please note: I'm proud to say that the "Renaissance
Martin" shown above, as well as it's "likeness" or image,
are the sole property of the Corwin Collection.
Sadly, numerous images of this important guitar were
knowingly reproduced in the book "Inventing the American
Guitar: The Pre–Civil War Innovations of
C. F. Martin and His Contemporaries" by Szego and Shaw
without proper attribution, and without obtaining the
necessary permission requested and required
to legally reproduce it's image for commercial use.
The image and "likeness" of this guitar are
the sole property of the Corwin Collection,
and may not be legally reproduced without
& Coupa "Small DeGoni" Hybrid X Braced Guitar
is believed by
show more than
of the same
on Martin and
Henirich Schatz, we now
know that Louis Schmidt
was also an employee as
early as 1834 or
1835. The longer we
study this guitar, the
must wonder if Mr. Maul
also played a large part
in building early Martin
guitars, and perhaps
continued to consult with
Martin after Martin left
and moved to Pennsylvania,
playing much of the role
in the development of X
braces and the modern
guitar, that Mr. Deichmann
played in the development
of the 14 fret guitar and
& Maul were certainly
familiar with Martin
guitars, and if a customer
of John Coupa returned a
for repair, it certainly
would have been more
convenient to deliver the
guitar upstairs for repair
rather than return it to
This Martin was built with what I believe was the first
experimental variation of X-bracing, appearing at about
the same time on a handful of Martin and Schmidt
& Maul guitars. One Schmidt & Maul, not
necessarily the earliest, is dated 1845, while the example
produced by Martin for Madame DeGhoni is dated 1843.
"Coupa could be much
more specific in his requests. In October, for example
he ordered two "small DeGoni” at $20 each, two large ones with
pegs, and one "Ferranti". The “DeGoni"
was a model named after Delores Nevares DeGoni, a
well-known performer who occasionally appeared on the stage
with Coupa. When she came to the United States in
brought a large patterned Spanish guitar, copied by
both Martin and Schmidt and Maul, which thus may have provided
Martin with the incentive for producing some guitars
in what was termed the"Spanish style”.
Gura, p 76.
Coupa to Martin, New York, October 15, 1849.
This guitar appears to be what Martin called the "Small
DeGoni" While most DeGoni Style Martins were Size 1,
this example is quite close in size to a standard
2 Martin. This guitar also foreshadows a standard
Martin Style 21, with simple, tasteful appointments
including a herringbone rosette and back strip and
a top border consisting of simple
light and dark lines. The back is a rosewood veneer over
in Carter "Acoustic Guitars and Other Fretted
"By 1839 Martin had moved his workshop from New York to
Pennsylvania, and this relatively plain example of a Martin
& Coupa guitar was
probably made at the new location. Note also the
squared off headstock with rear-facing tuning pegs rather
than the old Stauffer-influenced design."
in Washburn & Johnston, "Martin Guitars: An Illustrated
Celebration of America's Premier Guitarmaker" with Schmidt
& Maul Guitar:
"The mystery of which is the first X-braced guitar will
probably never be solved, but these two early candidates
were clearly made by builders who were
aware of each other and may have even been
acquaintances. The fact that two very similar guitars
- both sold in New York in the latter 1840's and
both made by German immigrants - have nearly identical
X-patterns under the top suggests that there was a
considerable pool of talent at work. Whether
X bracing was a concept shared among compatriots or pirated
by competitors is the only question left unanswered. (This)
guitar bears a Martin & Coupa
label, and Martin historian Mike Longworth's research into
insurance policies held by C.F. Martin Sr. on Coupa's 385
Broadway address suggests that
Martin had guitars there as late as 1851 and certainly for
several years before that. Regardless of which came
first, Martin was the firm that went on to
make X bracing a standard feature of the American guitar."
Martin "DeGoni" Hybrid X Braced Guitar
The Martin produced for Madame DiGoni is one of several
that were rather plain, while some were quite
fancy. This example has a number
of high end features, including the jewel like rosette,
fancy marquetry side filets, and a few unique
features. This is a rare example with
marquetry on all borders. A handful of other
Martins have fancy wood marquetry on the top and side
borders, but surprisingly, not on the
back border as on this one. A handful of other
Martins have the headstock edge sheathed in ivory.
This rare example has a handsome contrast
of ivory sheathing on a black faced headstock, finished
off with pearl inlaid ivory pegs. Like other
Martins of the period, this example has
the faux Spanish foot and nickel silver nut. This
example also has an ivory pyramid style pyramid bridge
with the vestigal scooped back.
& Maul 1847 Alternate X Braced Guitar
This Schmidt & Maul, dated 1847, has another experimental
form of bracing, consisting of fan braces, with three struts,
and a tone bar that extends past the
treble end of the bridge and across the treble strut to form a
small X under the treble side of the top.
The Schmidt & Maul contains many elements similar to the Martin, including herringbone trim,
a Spanish false foot, ebonized neck with ice cream cone
heel, ebony tie
style pyramid bridge with ivory inset, and a
similar company stamp on the upper back near the heel, not
surprising since Louis
Schmidt worked for Martin ten years earlier.
I suspect that this variation was an early one, as it contains
a complete three strutted fan, while the other variation, seen
on Martins, Martin & Coupas, and
Schmidt & Mauls, contain only the outer struts of the fan
in combination with a large X.
for Madame Di
Goni is thought
by some to be
size 3 Martin,
which fits the
description of a
has the same
hybrid of X and
fan bracing with
a number of
those on the Di
which has no
While Martin often
mixed older features
with newer ones,
this guitar, an
early version of a
Style 3-24, has an
early tie style
than a later pyramid
pin bridge, an early
Spanish heel, a back
strip of straight
holly lines, an
early wide version
of the slotted
headstock with large
bone rollers, a
reminiscent of a
Martin & Coupa
with tiny dentils,
rather than the more
standard Style 21
herringbone, and a
broad full 2" wide
neck width, along
with a faux Spanish
foot, and an earlier
Hybrid X Braced Spanish Martin Guitar
This Martin, with the exact same
experimental variation of X-bracing appearing on the Martin
& Coupa in Chapter 11, also has several distinctive
features, including a Spanish foot, Spanish heel, nickel
silver nut, and large abalone fretboard markers on the side
of the neck, as well as the colored diamond
backstrip, outer rosette rings with a tiny rope pattern, and
checkerboard binding sometimes seen on early Martins.
This early Spanish Style Martin
appears in a larger Size 1, with a variant of the classic
three ring soundhole rosette with double ivory center
rings that later distinguished the Style 28.
Hybrid X Braced Schmidt & Maul Guitar
Schmidt & Maul also has the "Hybrid
X" bracing identical
that in the Martin & Coupa in
Chapter 11 and Martin in Chapter 13.
This instrument includes many of
Martin's features of the period,
including a Spanish cedar neck with
slotted headstock, a pin style pyramid
bridge, a Spanish
false foot, neck block and center strip
stamps, a three ring rosette with green
"tooth" inner ring and small "rope"
outer rings, "half arrowhead" marquetry
side borders, and an "arrowhead"
marquetry back strip.
Mid-1840's Alternate X Brace Spanish Style Guitar
This Size 1 Martin has
another experimental variant of X bracing, similar
in concept the Schmidt & Maul in Chapter 12,
with a large X, and a tone bar below
the bridge crossing the treble brace of the X to form another, smaller
X. Following a similar
train of thought as
the Schmidt & Maul, with a tone bar crossing on the
strut of the fan to form a smaller X, this appears to be
the first of the variants to contain a large, complete
The soundhole of this guitar
has another variation of the diamond rosette, with a
tasteful single center ring of alternating long and
short abalone diamonds.
This example also has features typical of a mid-1840's Martin,
including a Spanish foot, Spanish heel, nickel silver
nut, large abalone fretboard markers
on the side of the neck, ebony pyramid bridge with a
"scooped" or "lipped" back, and a large diamond end
strip and outer rosette rings with a tiny rope pattern
of early Martins and arrowhead backstrip of later 19th
Mid-1840's X Braced Spanish Guitar
This Spanish Style guitar has been
called perhaps the earliest known Martin to feature a
mature X brace, essentially the same as it has appeared for many years since.
Still with the earliest typical Spanish features such
as cedar neck with Spanish heel, two piece
rosewood sides with a simple lengthwise center strip
the two pieces, distinctive holly binding, and simple
back strip with straight lines extending into the heel. The heel on this guitar is thicker and
not as elegantly
curved as on earlier examples, and the Spanish foot has
Bill Capell, from the essay "Early C.F. Martin Guitars":
"This is the earliest known
example of this style bracing that would go on to become
the standard for all modern acoustic guitars."
Images of this
important guitar were also included in the book
"Inventing the American Guitar: The Pre–Civil War
Innovations of C. F. Martin and His Contemporaries"
by Szego and Shaw, without the required permission,
and were erroneously attributed to the Martin
Collection, which has never owned this guitar.
The image and "likeness" of this guitar are the sole
property of the Corwin Collection, and may not be
legally reproduced without permission.
1840's Spanish Style Guitar with
Ebonized Spanish Neck
highly unusual guitar is the
only example of a Spanish Style
Martin known to have a Spanish
heel neck with an ebonized
finish and no volute, with the
exception of an early Martin
harp guitar who's ebonized neck
could easily have been designed
to match the ebony
support. This may be an
extremely early example, and
perhaps the first incarnation,
of a Spanish
neck Martin. Being
identical in many aspects to the
Martin in Chapter 11 with
"Hybrid X" Bracing, this is
likely to also be one of the
earliest examples of a Martin
with "mature X" bracing.
This is also an early example of
a Martin with a solid ring of
pearl in the rosette. Many
of the finer early Martins had
elegant decorative rings of
"white pearl" diamonds and/or
By the early 1850's, the jewel
like rings of pearl are replaced
by a thin central ring of solid
abalone. This example has
an elegant, somewhat wider 7/64"
solid ring of pure "White Japan
Pearl", most likely a transition
from the white pearl diamonds
and squares, to the 5/64" wide
solid abalone ring found on the
standard Style 27 and Style 30
and higher Martins.
incredibly rare and historically
significant instrument. I do not
recall having seen any with a Spanish
heel, lack of a volute on the back the
peghead, and black neck finish like this
1840's Mahogany Size 3 Guitar
C.F. Martin Sr. did not generally use
mahogany for backs and sides of his
guitars, choosing instead Brazilian
Rosewood, maple, and even
"Tigerwood". The first cataloged
model with mahogany was the Style 17
when it was reintroduced in 1906 by
Frank Henry Martin.
In the 1840's,
before standardizing models, Martin did
build a number of Size 3 guitars selling
for $16 with mahogany backs and sides.
The typical $16 size 3 Martin had no
binding on the back.
This highly unusual example has a rare
combination of ebonized neck with a
solid headstock and pegs, beautiful
and fancy binding
on the back, as well as a Martin stamp
on the upper back, an original scooped
back pyramid bridge, and strap pin on
1850's Ivory Fingerboard Stauffer/Spanish Style X
Martin sometimes held
over features for many years, offering guitars with
a mix of features from many periods on
request. One such set of features is
the Stauffer Style headstock with Vienna gears on an
ebonized neck with ice cream cone heel. This
fancy, small size 3 presentation guitar with ivory clad
fingerboard and Vienna gears was most likely built in the 1850's.
This example has the third of
the three basic pearl diamond soundhole designs, with twin bands of
tiny alternating long and short pearl diamonds, as
well as fancy wood marquetry on the top border and on the sides adjacent to the
top and back binding, and rare, gold plated
frets. With beautiful Brazilian
rosewood veneer over spruce on the back, the earliest
features such as the ebonized neck and ice cream cone heel are
combined with mature X braces.
The back is a rosewood veneer over spruce.
in Bacon, "History of the American Guitar":
"Gradually, Christian Martin
began to bring to the guitars he made more of his own
ideas on construction and design. The most obvious
change when comparing this example to the earlier
Stauffer-style is the narrower upper body, giving an
overall shape that is more like a modern guitar."
1850's Pearl Rosette and Pendant Guitar
final example combines decorative details typically
found on earlier Martins with construction elements
that would be standard for years to come. With
a beautiful decorative pearl rosette that is
possibly one of the earliest examples to contain a
version of the continuous thin band of pearl seen on
the rosettes and
borders of pearl Martins until WWII replacing the
rows of tiny pearl diamonds found on the finer
Martins of the mid-1800's, and an abalone pendant
the ones adorning the bridges of early Hudson St.
Martins. The guitar is spruce lined. The
Jerome tuners, with uncommon, large bone rollers,
carved pearl buttons of the type appearing on only
the smallest handful of Martin guitars, while more
typically seen on ornate 19th Century presentation
The body is a size 2 1/2, and the basic appointments
follow the form of a Style 30, making this perhaps a
$32 guitar. This guitar is possibly one of
the last before Martin models would become
Henry Schatz, Boston
In the second half of the 1840's, after working
with Martin in Pennsylvania, Henry (Heinrich)
Schatz moved to Boston where he
produced guitars under his own name.
This is one of a number of Schatz guitars with
pearl inlaid in a white mastic, as opposed to the
black mastic used in the Martins he helped
produce in the previous decade, creating a
distinctly different effect.
~ PART 2 ~
~ MARTIN STYLES ~
As they've Been
Defined Since the 1850's
By the early1850's, C. F. Martin Sr. had
established basic standard models, noted by a two
number system, the first number designating the
size of the guitar,
and a second number, following a hyphen,
originally representing the wholesale price, and
later designating the quality level of the
Originally, larger numbers represented smaller
guitars, but when the relatively large size 1 was
no longer the largest available, a larger single
and eventually a 000 were added.
were made to the company's guitars
from the time C.F. Martin Jr. took the helm in
1867, in a partnership with his cousin, C.F.
Hartmann, that lasted until
1885, until after Mr. Martin Jr.'s death in 1888.
With the exception of a relatively small number of
custom orders, most Martin guitars conformed to
the standards introduced under Mr. Martin Sr.,
until his grandson,
Frank Henry Martin, ushered in a period of change
at the end
of the Nineteenth Century.
Frank Henry had inherited the company in 1888 at
age 22, upon his father's
death, but had plenty of time to make important
changes that rivaled those of his grandfather, in
a realm that lasted until his retirement in 1945.
Martin 1896 2-40, 1894
0-42, 1895 Tinted 00-42, 1896 2-42, 1900 2-42
The highest level of trim was reserved for the
Style 42, with solid bands of abalone pearl in the
center ring of the rosette as well as bordering
the top of the
guitar and the the fretboard extension. The
Style 42 was adorned with genuine ivory bindings
on the body and fretboard, and an ivory pyramid
Following the Spanish classical tradition, the
ebony fretboard had no decoration until the
More on Styles 40 & 42
"The Chinery Collection":
"Martin continued to make elegant
flat-top guitars in the late 19th century; the
pearl-inlaid Style 42 was introduced in 1870."
Illustrated in Washburn &
Johnston, "Martin Guitars: An Illustrated Celebration of
America's Premier Guitarmaker":
"The elegance of Martin's Style 42 may
have been confined to the ladies size 2 on the
price list, but that didn't keep people from
ordering them in
larger sizes. This example is from the
1890's, similar special orders of 1-42 and 0-42
models show up in Martin sales records in the
With gleaming ivory bridge and ivory friction pegs
but a blank fretboard, these abalone bordered
guitars make quite a fashion statement."
00-42S / Style 45 Prototype, 1919 0-45, 1925
In 1902, three custom ordered Style 42 guitars
were built with pearl inlay added to the border of
the sides and back, as well as having an inlaid
design added to the peghead. The first of
these had a fancy inlaid pickguard of the style
common on the higher end Martin mandolins of the
time, and an
intricate vine pattern inlaid on the
This example was the first to have the more
prototypical fingerboard inlays of the type seen
in 1904 when this design appeared as a standard
the Martin line as a Style 45.
More on Style 45
Illustrated in George Gruhn and Walter
Carter, "Vintage Guitar Magazine":
"This 1902 guitar features the first
version of the Style 45 peghead inlay, which is
sometimes referred to as the “fern” pattern.
Martin pictured a
Style 45 guitar with this inlay in the 1904
catalog and the same photo appeared as late as the
1909 catalog, but Martin had actually begun using
a simpler pattern, known today as the “torch,” by
1905, and that version lasted until about 1927."
"The initial designation – Style 42 special –
understated just how special Style 45 Martins
would become. In the pre-World War II years, it
only surpassed briefly by the OM-45 Deluxe
(produced only in 1930), which featured additional
inlays in the pickguard and bridge. In today’s
vintage market, Style 45s follow the same pattern
as they did in their original listings."
"Although Martin has offered models in recent
years with higher model numbers than Style 45,
along with many limited-edition, commemorative or
models with fancier appointments, Style 45 remains
today as it was when this “pre-45” guitar helped
to get the Style 45 ball rolling – simply Martin’s
1850's Style 2-27, 1870's Style 2-27, 1893 Style
2-27, 1907 and 1917 Style 0-30, 1867 Style 0-34,
1889 Style 2-34
The Style 27 has roots as a size 2 guitar selling
for $27. A 1-27 was added later. The Styles 30 and
34 both began as size 2 guitars, both expanding later
include several other sizes.
The Style names are derived from the price of the instrument, so
it may seem odd that a Style 27 appears fancier than a Style 28,
and it is! At the time the style
names were set, the plainer Martin 0-28 was more expensive
than the pearl adorned Martin 2-27 because of it's larger size.
The Style 27, 30, and 34
Martins can be identified by the combination of pearl in the
rosette with fancy wood marquetry around the top border of the
The styles 27 and 30 differ little. In fact, a Style 27
from some years is almost exactly the same as the style 30 of
other years. The only consistent distinguishing feature
is the use of brass tuner plates on the Style 27 and silver
tuners on the Style 30. The Style 27 was typically made in
size 2, while the Style 30 was typically made in size 0.
Styles 27 and 30 have an ebony wood pyramid bridge, while a
style 34 differs mainly in having a solid ivory pyramid
The top and back, as well as the
fingerboard, were bound with genuine Elephant ivory. As noted in Longworth, all three Styles were described
as "ivory to the nut",
having ivory binding which extended the length of the neck.
More on Styles 27, 30
Illustrated on p. 55 of Evans, "Guitars: Music, History,
Construction and the Players, from Renaissance to Rock"
The "27" in the guitar's designation refers to it's
decoration, Martin having introduced a system of numerical
suffixes to indicate styles in the late 1850's.
Like all nineteenth century Martins, this guitar has a spruce
top with light X bracing, Brazilian Rosewood sides and back,
cedar neck, and ebony pin bridge
with a small pyramid-shaped hump at each end. The special
identifying features of a Style 27 included, at this date,
ivory body bindings lined with a
multicolored wood inlay on the top edge, abalone soundhole
inlay, and ivory fingerboard bindings. The bridge pins are
also made of ivory, and are inlaid
with mother of pearl dots. As on most nineteenth century
Martin guitars, tuning is by German built machines mounted
"upside down" - that is, so that the
string spindle is above rather than below the shaft which
carries the button."
Martin Style 28 and 1870's Style 26 and 28
The Style 28 has been a mainstay of the Martin
line for most of Martin's existence. The
Style 28 is distinguished by a herringbone pattern
on the top border and a three ring rosette in a
5-9-5 configuration with twin center bands of
ivory. It is thought, however, that the
Style 28 may
have originated from a version with a thin central
band of abalone in the rosette.
More on Styles 26 & 28
The Style 26
is nearly identical to the Style 28, but for a
"half-herringbone" or "rope" pattern replacing the
herringbone on the top border.
pre-'67 Style 2 1/2 - 24
The Style 24 is one of the most interesting models
in Martin's history.
While most features of Martin guitars became
relatively standardized with the advent of
established models in the 1850's, when marquetry
specified, the choice of individual marquetry
design could vary from one guitar to the
next. As the model with more marquetry than
other: on the rosette, top border, endstrip, and
backstrip, the Style 24 had the opportunity for
more variety than any other Martin model,
and the Style 24 usually delivered on it's
The Style 24 is distinguished by marquetry on the
top border in combination
with the side filets, the thin, wood lines on
the sides, adjacent to the binding.
The style 23 has the same side filets, but with a
border of simple lines in place of the marquetry
While this example has very early features like
the scooped back pyramid bridge, the style 24 was
the one model to continue having marquetry
end strips into the 1880's, several decades after
they were discontinued on other models.
X braced examples of the Style 24 can be found
with both cedar necks with Spanish heels and
ebonized necks with ice cream cone heels.
More on Styles 23 & 24
Gura, "C. F. Martin and His Guitars, 1796-1873":
During the 1850's and 1860's, Martin
guitars attained their quintessential sizes and
styles. This is a fine example of one of his
instruments... The tuners are stamped
"Jerome" and presumably were imported from
Europe. Note the elegantly sculpted
Early Martin Styles
20 & 21
Styles 20 and 21 were among Martin's earliest models, with the
Style 20 being a size 2 guitar selling for $20, and the Style 21
being a size 1 guitar selling for $21.
The mid 1840's Martin & Coupa shown in Chapter 9, in fact,
exhibits virtually all the features of a Style 21, including the
identical herringbone rosette and backstrip.
An apparent "Style 22" was likely the odd listing for a guitar
selling for $22. The Style 21 was later offered as a size 2,
with a size 0 appearing by the 1890's.
More on Styles 20 &
There is little to distinguish between the Style 20 and Style 21
The Style 20 is generally distinguished by a multi-colored
herringbone pattern on the rosette.
Martin Style 2 1/2 - 17
The early Styles 17 and 18 were nearly identical, with
the popular Style 17 offered in size 2 1/2 and the Style 18
offered in the slightly larger size 2.
Early Styles 17 and 18, like almost all early Martins, were
built with spruce tops and Brazilian rosewood backs and
sides. The early Style 17 typically
had solid linings while, for the added dollar, the Style 18 had
kerfing with individual blocks. Style 18 Martins built
later in the Century had X bracing,
while the Style 17 was the one model to retain fan bracing into
the 29th Century.
More on Styles 15, 17
The early Style 17 had rosewood binding on the top only.
The 2-17 was re-designed in 1929 as the style "25", which
dropped all bindings to make it more affordable during the
Style 5, 1916 Bitting Special, and 1940 2-20
Martin made three basic style of mandolins, the
early round backs, the flat backs, and the later carved top and
More on Mandolins
~ PART 3~
~ FIRST FEATURES ~
Head of the Class
Stamp of Approval
and Other Hidden Treasures
Like a Heel
Bridge to Somewhere
in the Saddle
a Pin Drop
to Fret About
Marks the Spot
Safe at Home Plate
Nail in the Coffin
~ PART 4 ~
~ CHECKING OUT THE COMPETITION ~
Ashborn for William Hall & Son
Bohmann Early Presentation and Harp
Guitars, and Guitar and Mandolin with
Interior Drone Strings
Schmidt & Maul
~ CLEANING HOUSE ~
I love these, but I really need to
make room for new ones.
Instruments for Sale
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I am not in the business of buying
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web sitewith as complete a picture as possible to
help you learn. I am interested in
substantially original examples made from the
1800's to 1960's by Stauffer, Panormo,
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Coupa, Martin & Schatz, Martin & Bruno,
Martin & Zoebisch,
John Coupa, Oliver Ditson,
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John Wanamaker, Wm. J. Smith, Wurlitzer, S.S.
Stewart, Orville Gibson, the Gibson Company,
and the Larson brothers. I am not hunting
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instruments at a price that is fair to the buyer
and seller alike.
see Robert's new web site illustrating the
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Early Martin Guitar:
I'm more than
happy to answer questions to the best of my
limited ability about features of the
instruments I've photographed and studied from
luthiers restoring vintage Martins or building
The Early Martin and Vintage Martin web
pages were first created in September, 2009.
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