Martin Guitars

1919 Ditson 1-28, Serial Number 491

Between 1916 and 1921 Martin made a special line of guitars for Charles H. Ditson & Co. in New York. These guitars had a wide-waisted design since they were meant to played Hawaiian style and the normal narrow waist was no longer necessary. These guitars did not have a flat fingerboard or high saddle as later Hawaiian guitars but were supplied with a nut extender, so they could be easily converted between Spanish and Hawaiian playing.

Martin gave Ditson guitars their own serial numbers. A total of 571 Ditson guitars were made with these unique serial numbers.

Serial number 491 was ordered on March 19, 1919 and shipped on July 18, 1919.

A total of twelve Ditson 1-28 guitars were made, all at about the same time. Although the features of the Ditson 1-28 are identical to the normal style 28 features there is at least one simplification. The usual fingerboard inlays are Japan pearl "squares and diamonds" with saw cut slots. In the case of this guitar the "squares" are not slotted.

This guitar was found in practically "as-new" condition, even the case had scarcely a mark on it.

All Ditson guitars received a special "OLIVER DITSON CO. BOSTON NEW YORK" stamp on the back of the headstock.

Style 28 features:

Back and sides: Brazilian rosewood

Top: Red spruce (Adirondack)

Purfling: Herringbone

Binding: White ivoroid

Backstripe: Zig-zag pattern

Other vintage features:

Three-strut fan bracing pattern

Ebony fingerboard

Ebony neck reinforcement

Ebony pyramid bridge

No style stamp




4 thoughts on “1919 Ditson 1-28, Serial Number 491

  1. When did Martin change to a flat fret board for the Hawaiian style guitars? I have a Martin 1935 0-18K of Hawaiian style that originally had a flat fingerboard. In fact the 0-18K guitar one serial number less, 58835, still has the high nut, flat fret board, flush bar frets and dot markers on the fret board face it was born with. Since most Hawaiian style players use a flat slide, is not there an advantage to having a flat fretboard? It is rare to find an unmodified Hawaiian style guitar from 1935 and it would be an important addition to your presentations as it was the last year for that style.

  2. You do not note it, but that is a beautiful Geib and Schaefer custom made case for this guitar. It is in amazing shape for its age. The case is very similar in shape and hard wear as the Geib case that came with my 1924 Martin made Wolverine guitar made for Grinnell Brothers of Detroit, Michigan. A little later Martin would choose other manufacturers to hold their guitars.

  3. …and speaking of the cases for these little Ditsons, I am looking for two, for the ones that I have.

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