Guitars

1840 to 1844 Schatz Guitar

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Henry Schatz first became known to C. F. Martin Sr. when they were both working for Johann Stauffer, the famous Viennese guitar maker, during the early 1820’s. Schatz emigrated to the United States some time between 1826 and 1830 and settled in Philadelphia. It is very likely that he encouraged Martin to emigrate to the […]

Guitars

1875 Martin 1-21 Guitar

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Most Martin guitars made between about 1885 and the beginning of serial numbers in 1898 are dated under the top of the guitar in pencil or blue crayon. Occasionally initials are also seen under the date. This guitar is one of the few instruments that are dated prior to 1885. In this case the guitar […]

Book

Chapter 9.26 – The Switch to Rear-X Bracing

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One subject of interest to collector and dealers of Martin guitars is when the bracing of  guitar changed from forward X-bracing to rear X-bracing. With forward X-braced guitars the distance from the bottom of the sound hole to the main X-brace is about 1″ while for the rear X-braced guitars the measurement is about 1½”. […]

Book

Chapter 9.25 – Purfling and Purfling Suppliers

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The making of “adern” or purfling was, and still is, a craft industry in Germany, with many colorful patterns being available. The term purfling also covers plain strips or “lines” of wood that make up much purfling used on Martin guitars. Martin made these line purflings in-house using dyed maple for the black lines and […]

Book

Chapter 9.24 – Pick Guards

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Mandolin Pick Guards Until now it has generally been assumed that the early Martin mandolin pick guards were made of genuine tortoise shell. However, period records and correspondence paint a different picture. In fact, Martin used both celluloid and tortoise shell for pick guards although celluloid was the more commonly used option. Martin approached William […]

Book

Chapter 9.23 – Pearl & Abalone Suppliers

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The name of this chapter is a bit misleading. Although Martin referred to both pearl and abalone in company records, all shell used on Martin guitars came from various sub-species of abalone, large sea snails of the family Haliotidae. Martin purchased pre-cut ornaments for inlaying in fingerboards and often referred to these as being made […]

Book

Chapter 9.22 – Neck Widths

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A letter from Martin to Steffens Music House on August 12, 1935 nicely covers the topic of neck widths used on Martin guitars: “Mr. Markley reports that you have a prospect for a Martin Guitar who wants an extra narrow fingerboard. We would make up one for you, for delivery in three or four weeks, […]

Book

Chapter 9.21 – Martin Salesmen

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Martin’s first salesman was Herbert K. Martin (December 5, 1895-January 3, 1927), the second son of Frank Henry Martin. Herbert began his role as salesman on June 20, 1920. He apparently enjoyed his job and continued in this role until his untimely death on January 3, 1927, at the age of only 31.   Figure […]