Vintage Instruments: Martin Guitars

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1915 Martin 1-21

A tremendous guitar, this 100+ year old Martin 1-21 is everything we hope for in a small and lightly built instrument. Crafted in the era that saw Martin’s yearly guitar production roughly equal to the output of half a day in 2017, the instrument was built with an attention to detail and level of craftsmanship that’s hard to improve on.

The guitar has a warmth and low end response that belie its small size, and has a very sensitive reaction thanks to its super-light build. We have the instrument set up with extra light steel strings, but have changed out the trebles for slightly heavier (.011” and .015”) gauges. The bass is un-choked and warm and defined by a lovely articulation, mids are pronounced and full, and the trebles are rounded off nicely by strong low-frequency support. Heavier stings will stifle a guitar built this lightly, but the steel 11-47s work beautifully. Silk and Steels are another good string choice for this guitar.

The instrument has a few repaired cracks on the back and sides, top staining from a tailpiece that was long ago removed, and a fair amount of playwear. There is finish repair on the body’s back and sides and likely on the headstock as well. The top’s finish is original and unrepaired, and has acquired a wonderful texture and patina.

Reset neck, original bar frets and nut, original bridge, bridge plate and pins. No bracing repairs or issues, original tuners work nicely, and the set up is fingerstyle low. The frets play cleanly, although a heavier attack will bring about localized buzzes.

V-shaped neck with 1-7/8” width at the nut, 24 ¾” scale, 2-3/8” string spread at the bridge. Red spruce top with very light scalloped bracing, figured Brazilian rosewood back and sides; ebony fingerboard and pyramid bridge.

With Harptone hardshell case

Shipping into the USA?

Sending this guitar to a US address is easy to do, and there are no import fees, taxes, or duties to pay when it arrives. We take care of everything involved in shipping -- all you have to do unpackage the instrument when it arrives and play!

Questions? Email us anytime, or call us toll-free at 1-855-772-0424.
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