Martin (used, 1966) T-18 Tiple

Tag No 32-4415 Used

#211703, Sitka Spruce top, mahogany back and sides, in "excellent plus" condition with the original chipboard case.

 Per our good friend, the Wikipedia, The tiple (which we have heard pronounced either “tipple” or “teep-lay”) is the Spanish word for “treble” or “soprano.”  The title generally refers to a small chordophone of the guitar family. A tiple player is called a tiplista, and so are preparers and servers at a famous national coffee house who tend to fall over a lot.   Wic (its friends call it “Wic”) goes on: “The Colombian tiple (tiple Colombiano) is an instrument of the guitar family, similar in appearance although slightly smaller than a classical guitar.”   This Tiple has ten steel strings and is tuned A-D-F#-B.  The first and fourth strings are double, like a mandolin, while the second and third are triple with the center string tuned an octave below the outer strings in each group.  The firsts are tuned in unison.  In this standard tuning you can play harmonies to everybody else’s guitar and make a major contribution to the ensemble.   Whenever we hear Daniel Alomía Robles’ 1913 song "El Condor Pasa (If I Could)" which was translated to English by Paul Simon and performed by Simon and Garfunkel – we think of the sound of the tiple (even if they didn’t use a Martin tiple).  The outer two strings of each of the three lowest triple courses is tuned an octave higher than the middle string in the course.

The C F Martin Company based their earliest tiples on those found in Argentina (Longworth says that the original prototypes were larger and Martin Company made them smaller).   However, according to our buddy, Wic, the tiple is largely associated with Colombia, where it is considered the national instrument. Tiple virtuoso David Pelham has this to say: "The tiple is a Colombian adaptation of the Renaissance Spanish vihuela brought to the New World in the 16th century by the Spanish conquistadors. At the end of the 19th century, it evolved to its present shape. Its twelve strings are arranged in four groups of three: the first group consists of three steel strings tuned to E, the second, third and fourth groups have a copper string in the middle of two steel strings. The central ones are tuned one octave lower than the surrounding strings of the group. This arrangement produces the set of harmonics that gives the instrument its unique voice."

The previous owner writes:   "A letter from Mike Longworth in January 1976 confirms 1966 as the date of production of this fine instrument. Since Martin has no record of the original owner, the provenance of this tiple is simply the story told to me when I purchased it from a music store in Philadelphia in 1975.

One Herbert Khaury had become famous or perhaps infamous as a ukulele player in the 1960's. His vaudeville-like persona of "Tiny Tim" gained him much fame. He married "Miss Vicki" on Johnny Carson's Tonight show in 1969. Their divorce was final in 1977. This tiple is said to be part of Tiny Tim's collection, sold by Miss Vicki as part of their divorce proceedings. I suspect this unusual and unique instrument would now be more likely to be in the hands of an Americana music group than a vaudeville act."

This handsome instrument shows light pick wear on the face on the treble side with light crazing on the bass side (and below the bridge).   If you really need to know, it overall shows very light signs of playing wear – which includes a small amount of dings and nicks.   The diminutive yet welcome tiple is an instrument we just don’t see stop by our exotic digs very often. And we loves them, we does.  

Our Price is $1,375.00.

Sorry, this item has been sold.
You may still add it to your want list, and we will contact you if your desired instrument comes in!

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