Museum: Martin Guitars

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1932 Martin C-1T

Martin’s round hole C-1 archtops were built from mid 1931 into late 1932 and were the company’s first archtop guitars. The guitar shared its outline with the OM models introduced a year or so earlier, but featured an X braced carved top, adjustable bridge and elegantly engraved tailpiece. Factory records show a total 71 Tenor C-1 guitars built during this period, making it a particularly rare model.

This example is in stunning original condition and is without any cracks, repairs, or appreciable damage other than some modification to the pickguard’s underside to allow for the use of a DeArmond soundhole pickup that’s no longer with the guitar. The frets are unworn, the neck angle is perfect, and the set-up is excellent. We’ve strung it for octave mandolin tuning (GDAE).

Red spruce top, mahogany back and sides, black bindings. Adjustable rosewood bridge, nickel-plated tailpiece, tortoise celluloid pickguard, bar frets, and Grover pancake banjo tuners. 100% original, including finish.

The guitar is amazingly loud and quick, with bold, punchy and rounded trebles and upper-mids. It’s got plenty of cut that’s supported by just enough warmth in the bottom to make it really enjoyable for both solo and ensemble playing. It would be a fabulous swing jazz rhythm instrument for comping quick chords, and it’s a blast to play. The 1-1/4” wide nut leaves plenty of space for tricky chord fingerings, and the 22 7/8” scale feels just right.

With new custom-fitted TKL deluxe hardshell case.

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