Retrofret Stock # 6255. C. F. Martin 1-45 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1904), made in Nazareth, PA, serial # 9963, natural varnish finish, Brazilian rosewood back and sides, spruce top; mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, black hard shell case. This is not only an extremely beautiful old Martin, but a historically important instrument-the very first Model 0-45 ever made. It is also one of the initial batch of dedicated Style 45 instruments built in Nazareth, part of a select group of the fanciest Martin guitars of their day. These early style 45's are not only lovely in themselves but important as precursors to the most sought-after flat tops ever made, she steel string Martin 000-45's and D-45's of the 1930's. Like many early Martins originally built for gut strings this beautiful guitar has been used extensively and has had a number of old repairs but remains substantially intact. The Style 45 was a fancy upgrade to Martin's 19th century Style 42, which had been available as the top-of-the-line since at least the 1870's. Early in the 20th Century, Martin began offering an even fancier custom Style 45 with pearl inlay on the sides and back as well as the face and soundhole ring. The first was an 00 sized guitar built in 1902 which additionally featured a vine fingerboard inlay and inlaid mandolin style pickguard. A couple of other similar custom Style 42's were built with varying features in1903; in 1904 Martin codified the new top-of-the-line guitar as the Style 45, and built examples of the model in several different body sizes. This 1-45 was the smallest of these very first Style 45's; the serial number 9963 is very close to the others in this inaugural batch (0-45 #9910, 00-45 # 9960 and 000-45 # 10201). This 1-45 remains in playable condition and is absolutely lovely to behold. The large torch delicate inlay in the headstock practically glows with multi-hued pearl and abalone, the delicate green abalone body trim is similarly impressive. In the mid-19th Century the Size 1 was originally Martin's largest guitar; if even by 1904 this was fairly small compared to some of its contemporaries it is still a substantial feeling instrument, and a reminder of the pearl-trimmed guitar's initial intentions as small-bodied "ladies' instruments. The Style 1-45 is also an exceptionally rare instrument with a grand total of six (6!) having been sold in Martin's entire history, all prior to 1920. There is no equivalent steel-string guitar to this; all 1-45's were built braced as gut-string instruments. The guitar is currently set up with Aquila NylGut strings and has a lovely if obviously old-fashioned sound. While not perfectly preserved, this is still a serious and enchanting piece of Martin history.Overall length is 37 3/4 in. (95.9 cm.), 12 3/4 in. (32.4 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 3/16 in. (10.6 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 15/16 in. (49 mm.). This lovely guitar is in good playing condition-there are a number of old repairs but no ongoing structural issues. The instrument is gemerally original with no major alterations save an added "popsicle" brace under the top by the fingerboard. The top has several very old splices and some French polish overfinish in spots that has darkened with age. The original bridge is intact but has been re-attached and has an old resealed split down the center through the pins-there is also some darkening and finish disturbance around it from previous bridge re-attachments. There are repaired cracks to the rosewood on both sides of the upper bout. All pearl inlay is intact and original; the engraved and inlaid-button Waverly tuners are intact and perfectly functional. There is general wear, but no major areas of finish loss. A wonderful and practically unique early 20th Century Martin. Overall Very Good + Condition.
|1904||Very Good||natural varnish||Hard|
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