Martin (used, 1969) D-45 Brazilian rosewood

Tag No 58-9701 Used

#252243, and select Sitka, in excellent minus condition with original black wooden hard shell case with blue lining.

 As you know, C F Martin revived the D-45, top-of-the-line, pearl encrusted Faberge egg model in 1968 after a hiatus of 26 years.    They had hired Mike Longworth who had achieved renown by converting D-28 guitars to D-45 guitars by inlaying abalone and pearl, to oversee the restoration of this revered monolith of musical mythology to their line.  For $1200, at that time, you bought yourself the unequivocal Utopia of acoustic opulence – a guitar for which, throughout the history of steel string dreadnoughts, there is no peer.   Longworth also wrote the book on this subject, called Martin Guitars: A History, and in it he spends a good deal of space writing about the prewar D-45 and this, its second incarnation.  He writes (slightly edited): “The D-45 was reissued in 1968 by popular demand.  There were to prototypes and regular production began in July of that year with a set of five.  A total of 229 new D-45 guitars were made with Brazilian rosewood.    Early D-45s of the new style had a boxed endpiece.  This means a band of abalone pearl that extends around the tailpiece covers all four borders.   This resulted in a double line of pearl between the endpiece itself and the top and bottom side borders.  This change had been introduced by the influence of Russell Lilly, who had inlaid the old D-45.  He wanted a change in inlay to separate the new from the old.  The main difference between the old and new D-45 guitars from the outside is the black and white purflings adjoining the pearl.  On the old models these purflings were made of wood, and on the new ones it is the same material as the bindings.”    We’d like to add that the breakdown of production numbers for the two years it was made in Brazilian rosewood is:  67 made in 1968 and 162 in 1969.    Not a lot of guitars – one could certainly call it the most desirable and most opulent C F Martin guitar model made in the last third of the twentieth century.

Let’s examine this instrument:  One revels in the notion that the abalone inlay that surrounds the face, bottom edge of fingerboard over the body, soundhole, the sides, the border of the heel and the border of the end graft were all inlaid by hand, by little old ladies, or at least that’s how we envision them, seated side by side at a long, tilted, continuous desk with baskets of abalone between each person, smoking cigarettes and gossiping.   Each piece of abalone is conjoined, by hand, to form a mosaic pattern of gleaming, scintillating, pulsating pearl, in many varied colors and with an intensity last seen when a doomed star spontaneously exploded into a supernova (been there, done that; ferry attrac-a-tiff). 

The fingerboard is jet black ebony bound on each side by white Boltaron, Corian, or their 1969 equivalent, and inlaid with 8 generous and centered hexagonal mother of pearl markers.  The Brazilian rosewood headplate is circumscribed by white-black purfling with white outermost, and inlaid with “C Martin F” with the Martin word spelled out vertically.   Tuners are gold-plated “Pat. Pend. U.S.A.” Rotomatics; a diamond dart is carved behind the headstock; the heel cap is grained ivoroid, the backstripe is multicolored wood parquetry bordered on each side in half herringbone.  The instruments shows a few light signs of use and playing time – minor dings here and there, a few surface scratches.   We note that the back of the neck was oversprayed – one can see where there was hand wear on each side of the back of the neck and new finish over that.  A standard Martin pickguard crack, approximately under the first string, was in the past repaired and touched up on the bass side (it remains visible).  We revel in that the replaced black and beveled edge pickguard was, we believe, beveled by hand.  We say that because there are some file marks on the lower treble side of the ‘guard).  There are signs that the bridge was at least reglued since areas of finish around the bridge are disrupted and there are crazing lines coming off the bridge bottom. There is a light scuff on the top of the belly portion of the bridge, and it now has a compensated saddle.  The owner advised us that the guitar has had its neck reset by C F Martin factory and that they repaired the pickguard crack and refretted it.  We suspect that Martin did this other work at that time, as well.    We are pleased to say that the frets are clean, round and high, much like ourselves.

This instrument has just returned from its maker, the august C F Martin Company of Nazareth, in order to have small, hairline fissures taken care of, glued and oversprayed.  You can no longer see any sign of the one on the treble side, and on the bass side you’d have to know something was done to know something was done.  A crack at the bottom side, on the bass side of the tailpin hole, has been equally professionally remedied.  You cannot see any sign of it.  Interestingly, on the interior of the back the C F Martin Company had, when the guitar was ordered new, affixed a pre-stained parchment color paper label dated January 1970 and signed by C F Martin III, which dedicates the instrument to its prior.  All of this was specially printed:  “C.F. Martin & Co., Inc., January 1970, This D-45, ser. 242243, was made expressly for [he who shall remain nameless],” and then it is hand-signed “C. Frederick Martin, III.”  That would be Chris Martin’s grandfather, known around the plant as “Freddie” and a prince of a guy.   The neck block is stamped “D-45” and the serial number is stamped there under. 

 The sound of this instrument is extraordinary.   If you can remember your reaction when you played the finest postwar C F Martin dreadnought that you ever played – multiply that feeling of euphoria by about 8 and you might come close to knowing what I mean when I say “playing this instrument will make your socks actually go up and down, just like in the cartoons, and smoke may puff out of your ears.”   Seeing it, playing it, holding it and marveling over its rarity and prepossessing allure is like no other experience you have ever partaken.  Its mien is enchanting; its acoustic prowess, sublime.    All this unlimited love and romance from a three- dimensional vibrating object.   THIS WAS $39,995 (Cash Discount Price) BUT IS NOW ON SALE:

Our SALE Discount Price is $38,147.00 and Our SALE Cash Discount Price is $37,000.00.

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