Vintage Instruments: Martin Guitars

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1965 Martin D12-20

Martin’s first 12-string model to enter production was the D12-20. The first of these instruments were completed in the latter half of 1964, and the model was added to Martin’s catalogue for 1965. The example offered here dates from the first full production year of Martin’s first 12 string model, which we think is kind of cool! It’s one of a smallish number to feature a tortoise-celluloid pickguard, as Martin adopted black pickguards in early 1967.

The guitar is in excellent condition, crack free, and in perfect working order. We’ve just given it a refret and set up with easy-playing low action. The neck was reset fairly recently, allowing for a full-height saddle. It’s completely original but for the frets and saddle, and a pretty exciting thing if you’re into vintage 12 strings. Comfortable to play, and with tone a-plenty. There is some light playwear to the finish and an assortment of minor dings, dents, and scratches, but the overall effect is that of a remarkably clean 50+ year old guitar.

Twelve fret neck Dreadnought of mahogany and Sitka spruce; rosewood fingerboard and bridge, slotted headstock with open-geared tuners, tortoise-pattern nitrate pickguard. 1-7/8” at the nut, 24.9” scale

Included with the guitar is an original Mark Leaf fiberglass flight case specifically built for Martin’s D12-20.

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