Most Martin tiples seen today are the relatively plain T-17 or T-18 models. But for a short time time in the 1920s a few fancy tiples were made, including this unique T-45K.
The T-45K was made for William J. Smith & Co. in New York. It was William J. Smith who encouraged Martin to add the tiple to their product line and purchased the bulk of the supply early on.
Serial number 16904 was stamped on March 15, 1922 and was shipped on April 29, just 6 weeks later.
The T-45K has the abalone inlay, fingerboard and backstripe of a style 45 instrument but is missing the "flowerpot" headstock veneer, probably because there was just no space for it. This tiple is the only one made by Martin with a koa body. The pick guards on the upper bout are original and were a special order feature.
The tuners are nickel Waverly five-on-a-side machines.
The back of the headstock has the "WM. J. SMITH & C0./NEW YORK" stamp. William J. Smith & Co. applied the "U-KA-LU-A" label that can be seen through the sound hole.
Back and sides: Koa