Many years ago while reading Mike Longworth's book I wondered what the odds would be of ever seeing a Ditson 222 guitar! As far as I know no other examples have ever some to light.
This guitar is one of only four Ditson 222 guitars ever made. It is stamped with serial number 176 from the Ditson number range (1 to 571) and was shipped to Charles H. Ditson & Co. in New York on December 30, 1916, along with three Ditson 111 and two more Ditson 222 guitars. No more Ditson 222 guitars were made after this date.
The first Ditson Dreadnought guitar (serial number 71) was also a 222. It was shipped on August 9, 1916. Shortly after this date an announcement for the "Dreadnought" appeared in the August 19, 1916 edition of the Music Trades Review, describing its intended use as a Hawaiian guitar for concert use and music recordings. At this time Hawaiian guitars made by Martin did not have a flat fingerboard and raised nut and saddle. Martin would set the guitar up as for gut strings and install a Kamiki nut extender, thus making a Hawaiian guitar that could be converted for playing with gut strings by simply removing the nut extender.
Below is an image of the specification card for Ditson Hawaiian guitars from the Martin archive. As can be seen a Ditson 222 was exactly the same as a regular Ditson 111 guitar but had celluloid bindings (like a style 2 ukulele) and had inlaid ebony pins.
The guitar is currently set up as an Octachorda but, fortunately, the neck was left as a 6-string. Although the headstock was modified for mandolin machines this can easily be corrected. The guitar retains the original "stained" finish applied to Ditson guitars. As can be seen from the interior shots the top of the guitar is braced with a five-strut fan and original bridge plate is still in place.