Painted Martin Guitars
There is a history of painted guitars in America, mostly in the 1940s-50s from outfits such as Sears, Roebuck and the like, sold by them to attract mostly younger kids. A lot of them had cowboy themes stencil-painted on, many of them movie-star cowboys like Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, and earlier radio show and performing singing cowboys like Buck Jones and Red Foley. Inexpensive stuff all, but from a company like Martin? Never! Until, that is, around 2000 or so, when Chris Martin IV, along with his cousin, the artist Robert Goetzl, initiated this project coincidental with Martin’s getting a special high-res inkjet printer that could print right onto the guitar tops.
And so, over the next few years they came out with about a dozen versions, Some honored the old Sears singing cowboy models with wonderful graphics by Robert Armstrong; some were Felix the Cat versions with artwork by Don Oriolo, Felix’s creator; a Hawaiian-themed one or two; there was even an Elvis one in there. And more. We kept an example of each over the years and finally sold them all as one lot, to a very happy couple from down South. And decades later Martin did a few more and we have two of the best of them here, with artwork by Dick Boak his own self. One of them is a prime example of their “Hippie Model" honoring you-know-who, the other being the classic “Dick Boak Model”, with a picture of Martin’s 1859 factory building and more on it, this one hand-signed by Dick in ink, the only one of the entire run that he did so on. It’s an all-solid wood guitar, a real, real Martin. All terrific stuff too.