Book

Chapter 9.13 – Finishes

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From the start Martin used French polish for protecting the wood on his guitars. French polish is a technique whereby shellac, a resin secreted by the female lac bug, is dissolved in denatured alcohol and applied in many thin coats by means of a rubbing pad. Martin made a number of purchases of shellac while […]

Book

Chapter 9.12 – Fingerboard Inlays

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It is generally accepted that Martin did not begin to apply position marks to the fingerboards until after 1898, roughly at the same time serial numbers came into use. However, with addition of mandolins to the product line in 1895, the introduction of fingerboard inlays to guitars was more of a transition than a clear-cut […]

Book

Chapter 9.11 – Fake Martin Guitars

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On September 16, 1893 C. A. Zoebisch wrote a letter to Martin concerning a non-Martin guitar being offered as the original article: “A customer writes us from lower California that a pawnbroker offers C. F. Martin & Co. Guitars at low prices (which are bogus). I wrote out to buy one, so we could get […]

Book

Chapter 9.9 – Dark Top Guitars

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Martin guitars with a sunburst finish are some of the most desirable collector instruments, not only because of their attractive appearance but also because of their scarcity. In the 19th and early 20th century Martin allowed customers to order a darker finish if they didn’t want the relatively white top of a new guitar. Some […]