Martin (used, 1903) Model 0042 Guitar

Tag No 32-3217 Used
This item is NOW ON SALE!

#9661, pearl inlaid acoustic guitar, in excellent plus condition, in a natural Adirondack spruce top, sides and back of Brazilian rosewood, with a newer hard shell case.

One person who has recently experienced this guitar has written to say “I remember when I first read about how this nearly legendary 1903 Martin 00-42 came into the showroom.  You had said something about opening the case in the shop for the first time to a chorus of audible gasps from those standing nearby.  The wood grain (probably from an 1870 harvest), the ivory, the tuning pegs!  The general consensus was that even just seeing this astoundingly beautiful 112-year-old Brazilian and Adirondack most tastefully decorated of all Grand Concerts was like being in the Guggenheim Museum and contemplating a work of art.  Likewise, this would be a guitar that would be quite comfortable in the C F Martin museum, or a guitar that could be a centerfold in The Fretboard Journal!” 

Cosmetically, this bona fide gem is mind blowingly clean.   However, we believe in full disclosure.  Below is the full scoop – every repair, modification or change we can know of:   

The guitar has been gently played over the years and maintains its original finish along with its ivory bridge.  Our workshop has repaired a crack running horizontally across the bridge.  Ivory is also used as the top, back and fingerboard binding, along with the nut and bridge pins.  The end pin is a replacement; ebony with pearl inlay.  There is a one inch segment of binding along the top/ bass side that has been replaced as well as a few hairline cracks on the binding.  Other than what is noted, the binding is fully intact.  The fingerboard inlays are:  large snowflake at the fifth fret, two etched diamonds at the 7th, a flower at the 9th, bowtie at the 12th (where the neck and body join) and a cat's eye on the 15th.  The abalone which borders the top, the soundhole and the bottom section of the fingerboard (or tongue, or the "fretinsula") is bordered on each side with ebony-spruce-ebony and glistens with intensity.  The backstripe is rope on each side with colored wood marquetry down the center.  The boxed end piece and the heel cap also appear to be ivory.  In its past 112 years, this guitar has had some cracks repaired including a hairline top crack on the lower bass bout near the binding (which is also mentioned above) as well as several on the bass and treble sides.  Along the inside of the body are patches on both sides placed to prevent the side cracks from reopening and expanding.   An oversized rosewood bridge plate (under the top) was installed by an earlier repair person.  There is a slight separation at the neck heel that shows no signs of movement or instability.  A neck reset is not recommended or deemed necessary. 

 The tuning buttons are three on an engraved plate and each is inlaid, on each side, with abalone and German silver wire, like a pre-1919 Gibson F-4 mandolin.  The neck is Spanish Cedar (Cedrela odorata) and there is a subdued dart carved on the back of the neck.  The headstock slots are squared and the C. F. Martin & Co., Nazareth, PA stamp is pressed into the rear of the headstock.  The back, sides and peghead overlay are Brazilian rosewood and the top is Adirondack "Red" spruce.  The case in which it is housed sports a snug magenta plush lined hard shell, which provides good protection.   Although this instrument came in strung with silk and steel, we strongly recommended that it be strung with nylon or gut, as C. F. Martin originally intended.

The top is inscribed, "#9661, July 22nd 1903, F.H.M."


As stated above, this guitar has several parts made from elephant ivory.  We have been asked about the legality of selling the guitar and thought now would be a good time to address the fact that it is perfectly legal.  As per the U.S Fish & Wildlife International Affairs:   As of UPDATE 5/15/14:  “On May 15, 2014, we revised Director’s Order 210 to allow the sale of certain 100-year-old items that were either created in the United States or imported prior to September 22, 1982—the date that antique ports were designated. Prior to this decision to allow enforcement discretion, items imported before September 22, 1982, would not be able to be sold. This is a common sense revision to allow for the sale of items that are 100 years old or older but could not have been imported through a designated antique port.”

This collectable exceedingly rare antique is not only a piece of art that could easily reside in a museum but also has the sound you expect from a vintage Martin.  It has tremendous bass response that resonates though your whole body as you play. 

As Homer Simpson might say: “

Click here to see a video and article on BBC about "How the Martin Guitar became an 'American Stradivarius' "


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