Martin Guitars

1931 Martin D-1 Guitar, Serial Number 47052

I wish I had more photos to share on this guitar but it is so interesting and rare it is worth having at least something to look at!

Serial number 47052 was stamped on May 22, 1931 and cleared final inspection on June 2 that year.

Only two D-1 guitars were ever made. They were clearly made as protoypes for Chicago Musical Instrument Co. as the two were ordered on the same day. However, one had a 19 fret fingerboard while the second had 20 frets.

It will also be seen that this guitar has a single sound hole ring like Ditson Dreadnought guitars.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, this is not the first Dreadnought guitar made by Martin for a customer other than C. H. Ditson & Co., a D-21 was made about a month earlier for CMI.

This guitar has black celluloid binding and black and white line of purfling while the other D-1 guitar had white celluloid binding.

A third D-1 was ordered in September 1931 but the designation was later changed to reflect Martin's regular styles and it was delivered as the first D-18.

The last photo shows a map of the top thickness at various points. It will be seen that the thickness measurements are somewhat higher than Dreadnought guitars. It appears that the starting thickness of the top was 1/7" resawn spruce veneer (roughly 0.140") whereas later Dreadnoughts began with 1/8" (0.125") spruce veneer.

Style 18 features:

Back and sides: Mahogany

Top: Red spruce (Adirondack)

Purfling: Black and white lines

Binding: Black celluloid

Other period features:

Scalloped X-bracing

Ebony fingerboard

Brazilian rosewood belly bridge

Ebony neck reinforcement

1-7/8" neck width at nut

Nickel silver bar frets

Tortoiseshell celluloid pick guard

Graduated dot fingerboard inlay

Style stamp

5 thoughts on “1931 Martin D-1 Guitar, Serial Number 47052

  1. I have a D-1 Martin acoustic with serial number 664686. Is there anyone who can give me some information on it…history, value, etc.

    Thank you, Dennis

    1. Dennis

      A D-1 from 1998 is a very different kind of guitar from a 1931 D-1. You might try calling Martin Customer Service to get more information on your guitar.

      Greig Hutton

  2. Is this the prototype for the 1931 D-1 Authentic that Martin made recently? It certainly has all the features that were included in my wonderful 1931 Authentic. The one question I have is related to the fact that Martin Company states that their authentic series is a very close copy to the original, otherwise how could they call it “Authentic”! So my question is this…what is the composition of the fretboard and bridge. The bridge looks like it is BRW and the fretboard looks to be ebony. But then these woods are usually dyed and there for one can not go by color. My 1931 D-1 Authentic has a very dark fretboard that looks just like ebony! The specs of the 1931 D-1 Authentic is for a BRW fretboard and bridge.

    By the way my 1931 D-1 Authentic is the best sounding guitar I have ever owned and is the first time I have found a guitar with the punch that my 1945 D-18 had. But my D-1 is even better as it has a thicker neck and a 1 7/8 inch nut that is perfect for my large hands. Absolutely great for my finger picking style of playing too..

    Thank you so much for posting the pictures of this guitar. It is wonderful to see the original bracing inside that is usually hidden. It appears to be replicated in my 1931
    Authentic, much to my relief.

    1. The original D-1 (only two were made before Martin started calling them D-18) was used as the model for the D-1 Authentic. I have seen this guitar in person and when I checked my photos it does appear it has an ebony fingerboard and a rosewood bridge.

  3. That is very interesting because my 1931 Authentic number 2,041,422 appears to have an BRW bridge and a ebony fretboard. But when I look at the specs listed by Martin for the D-1 Authentic, they list both as being BRW. My fret board is either very black BRW or is ebony. I am pleased that because of this dark fingerboard my sample of the 1931 D-1 Authentic looks more authentic.

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