C. F. Martin Stauffer Influenced 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
earliest existent Martin guitar, to show the influence of the Stauffer on
the first guitars built by Martin in the new world. A large photo of
even sits in the Martin Museum alongside the early Martin to illustrate
When I compared the two guitars side by side and photographed the
interiors of the two, the "fingerprints" became clear of nearly identical
siblings, built at the same time, with only minor cosmetic variation, a
fact now accepted by other Martin experts. As you read further, you
will see that it
was typical in the early days of Martin, when they had an order for one
guitar, to build a second with minor alteration in trim. Both
guitars have spruce
tops and maple backs and sides, with abalone soundhole designs set in
mastic. The two instruments feature small, shallow figure-eight
with identical dimensions and large upper bouts, Stauffer style headstocks
with Vienna gears, necks with inlaid stripes of ebony and ivory, raised
fretboard extensions, and intricate ivory and ebony ice cream cone heels
with clock key adjustments and hand shaped neck blocks with identical
Each guitar is ladder braced with a similar "buttress" under the fretboard
extension of each. The backs are maple veneer over spruce.
This guitar is unlabeled, which raised the question at first of whether
this guitar might have been built by others in Europe, and Martin's finer
identical specimens imported by Martin, with the Martin stamp added, along
with a label proclaiming Martin as an "importer of musical
Or 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
Martin's records, however, do show that it was the cheaper instruments
that Martin imported, so it's most likely that both of these guitars were
built in Martin's shop.
We also know that Martin came to this country with his friend Heinrich
Schatz, who worked in Martin's New York shop building guitars. C.F.
traditionally been thought of as a builder of fine guitars. 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 of Martin's early
building? 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 this country.
' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' '
Illustrated on p. 7 of Trynka, "The Chinery Collection: 150 Years of
Illustrated on p. 7 of Bacon, "History of the American Guitar"
Illustrated on p.12 of Washburn & Johnston, "Martin Guitars: An
Illustrated Celebration of America's Premier Guitarmaker"
Illustrated on plate 2-1, of Gura, "C. F. Martin and His Guitars,
Reproduced as an enlarged photograph in a display in the Martin Museum
' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' '
Compared to the Stauffer Style Martin in the Martin Museum:
Compare the similarly shaped neck block in the Martin:
Note the similar "butress" in the Martin:
Note slight angle of brace in relation to bridge plate.
And note the bridge plate and slightly angled brace in the Martin:
Note the label in the Martin version:
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