It is very rare when a vintage Martin guitar can be indentified with the original owner but there is good documentary evidence that this 00-42 was once owned by Bill Boyd, the famous "Cow Boy Rambler" and Western Swing band leader.
Serial number 39110 was stamped on July 12, 1929 and cleared final inspection on August 24 that year. It may well be the 00-42 shipped to Cline Music Co. of Dallas TX on October 7, 1929, since we know Boyd lived in Dallas.
As can be seen there is a label in the guitar advertising "Bill Boyd's Studio of the Guitar". Photos 6 and 7 illustrate a real photo card used by Bill Boyd for responding to fans and the label is actually visible through the sound hole! The post card is dated 1939 so the label must have been in the guitar even earlier.
As the guitar made in 1929 it wouldn't have had a pick guard originally. However, Bill Boyd returned the guitar to Martin in 1034 for some minor repairs and requested the addition of a pick guard. Martin completed the repairs in only a few days and added the pick guard "with our compliments". This explains why the pick guard is the larger size used after early 1931.
Bill Boyd also owned another 00-42 (see the last photo) and it is the unique 14-fret 00-42 with his name in pearl on the fingerboard!
The tuners are Waverly G-32 machines with black celluloid buttons (although white celluloid might be expected instead).
Below are a few notes from the owner:
This guitar came from the estate of Jim Boyd, brother of Bill Boyd.
"The Boyds were among the founding stylists of swing. They are in The Western Swing Hall of Fame. If you go on to YouTube you can see them in some of the very first Cowboy sound films and the music is high caliber country, jazz and blues. They greatly influenced Rockabilly artists.
The Boyd Brothers "Blue Yodelers" are the jazz band you probably all have heard and have been listening to forever. They accompanied Jimmie Rodgers on some of his last and greatest recordings in 1932."
Style 42 features:
Back and sides: Brazilian rosewood
Top: Red spruce (Adirondack)
Binding: White celluloid
Backstripe: Style 45
Other period features:
Ebony pyramid bridge
Ebony neck reinforcement
1-7/8" neck width at nut
Tortoiseshell celluloid pick guard (added in 1934)
Style 42 snowflake fingerboard inlays
No style stamp
Photos courtesy of Bob Zaidman