1952 Martin D-28
This is a truly fine example of an early-1950s Martin D-28 and it has a story. It came to me from the daughter of the man who had owned it since 1954, and who passed away in 1995. She’s kept it in his memory since then, not playing it but having had us do some work on it for her in 2011: a perfect neck reset, dressing the frets and taking care of one barely visible hairline top crack and the usual “B-String crack”. The usual very light playing wear though nothing major and that's it, no other work ever needed nor done. It is totally original from end to end (save for the bridge pins), plays like a dream. Even still has its original genuine ivory saddle, never cut or trimmed and at its original Martin factory height, and original ivory nut. It is one heck of a great just-post-war Martin and is solid as a rock, plays like the day it was made, and sounds even better. The back and sides are of course of best-grade Brazilian rosewood, straight-grained as Martin insisted on in those days, and of a much higher quality than anything available in the last forty or fifty years. Martin had access to some really fine European and Engelmann spruce in the early 1950s and this appears to be it, though its original Martin lacquer finish has taken on such a wonderful mellow patina in the last seventy years that it’s hard to be sure. Regardless, it sounds fabulous. so loud and clear all across its tonal range, something that just cannot be duplicated in anything but a lovingly owned and long-played earlier Martin Dreadnaught.
Now for the story. The woman who gave it to me to find a new home for it tells me that her Dad grew up in Whitby, West Virginia, a coal mining town, and when he graduated high school he wasn't going down in that mine. Day after graduation in 1954 he hitched a ride to Wheeling and enlisted in the Air Force. His first tour of duty was at Castle Air Force Base in Atwater, CA, He played baseball on a semi-pro team and played guitar in a country western combo. That guitar went with him from duty station to duty station, travelled safely from California to Ohio, Alaska. Florida, Germany (West Germany, then), Massachusetts, Nebraska, Indiana, Rhode Island, New York City, Philadelphia, and finally upstate New York. This woman, who has trusted me with her father’s treasure, tells me that thanks to him she was raised on the Porter Waggoner Show, progressing through the years to Austin City Limits. She writes to me now that “What I most understand about this guitar is that it was meant to be played. I am grateful for the care and respect I know it will have in resuming its music making life”. All this for $11,995 w/ohsc