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Thread: I wouldn't post an 1840 Martin guitar on CL, but what do I know.

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    Registered User Greg Stec's Avatar
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    Default I wouldn't post an 1840 Martin guitar on CL, but what do I know.


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    Default Re: I wouldn't post an 1840 Martin guitar on CL, but what do I kn

    The bridge is ivory, I have seen them on old Martins. It looks weird and out of place, but is most likely original.
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: I wouldn't post an 1840 Martin guitar on CL, but what do I kn

    That's one helluva price for the serious collector. I would have guessed $10K, though that side crack needs some immediate attention. Original ivory bridge, original ivory pegs -- if made playable, Gruhn's $15K appraisal would be easily achievable, IMHO.
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: I wouldn't post an 1840 Martin guitar on CL, but what do I kn

    The bridge is correct. Newer models from Martin that are similar use a white Micarta for the bridge instead of ivory. I recall one night that some lady on eBay put up a guitar she had been using as a decoration for 20 years. It was an older Martin that this. I probably wasn't the only one to tell her to take it down and have it appraised.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: I wouldn't post an 1840 Martin guitar on CL, but what do I kn

    Wish I had enough money to buy it and have it repaired. Wonder what it sounds like? It would have to have light strings, likely.

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    Default Re: I wouldn't post an 1840 Martin guitar on CL, but what do I kn

    The repair doesn't look that bad, but you would have to use nylon strings. The friction 1-1 tuners would be too fast and most likely too much tension for steel strings.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: I wouldn't post an 1840 Martin guitar on CL, but what do I kn

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    ... you would have to use nylon strings. The friction 1-1 tuners ...
    Even with nylon strings and properly fitted/treated pegs, the "fiddle peg tuners" as we used to call them, are still a nuisance. I had to put up with those miserable things while growing up, playing a bunch of old 1800's banjos with non-steel strings, and of course fiddles too. Never again. Later switched to steel strings but used fine-tuners at the tailpiece, ok I guess but still kinda silly to not just put geared pegs on the thing to start with. Although, all of mine were ebony or other woods, not ivory, don't know if that matters. But now, I appreciate the marvels of modern technology and geared pegs - just the simple knowledge that you don't have to adhere to a perpetual maintenance schedule ("peg dope", soap, chalk, re-fittings, whatever), is worth any funny looks from 'purists' who might resent your modifying the original pegs on some old instrument of sometimes dubious historical value.

    Modifications clearly not applicable to the Martin in question, I'm *not* suggesting you take those fiddle pegs out and throw them away and fit some shiny new Fender chrome tuners instead, but rather to avoid the Martin if you're looking for a player.

    But, presumably, whoever buys this Martin probably isn't going to be taking it to the local jam or have it bumping it around the house as a daily player, it's probably more of a museum-piece type of thing? or something they'll haul out once a year to show to visitors or something? So tuner functionality probably wouldn't be a concern.

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: I wouldn't post an 1840 Martin guitar on CL, but what do I kn

    Who knows, it might get a shot in a movie!
    Timothy F. Lewis
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    Default Re: I wouldn't post an 1840 Martin guitar on CL, but what do I kn

    I played for many years with a gentleman who play a Ramirez flamenco guitar and it had the violin style tuners. He made it work easily enough like fiddler's I know who don't use fine tuners only on the E string. For me I am like timbofood, I want gears. Nylon strings have more stretch than steel so it is easier, this guitar would have been using gut strings when it was new. A whole other problem there.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: I wouldn't post an 1840 Martin guitar on CL, but what do I kn

    For me, it would be a fun guitar to play for 5 minutes just to say that I played an early Martin -- after that, it is pretty much a historical piece for a collection. A wall-hanger, if you will. A very expensive wall-hanger. Now, a 1930's Martin dreadnought -- that's something to get excited about!

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    Default Re: I wouldn't post an 1840 Martin guitar on CL, but what do I kn

    Hey, I have that exact same model!


    Of guitar stand ...

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    Default Re: I wouldn't post an 1840 Martin guitar on CL, but what do I kn

    A friend and I repaired a Martin from the 1860s. It was in terrible shape and the original intent was just to make it a wall hanger for the store owner to show what a "big guitar" was in the 1860s. As we got into it I knew we could make it a playable instrument, even if a large chuck of originality had been lost forever. It required a lot more work that this one appears to. After deciding that restoration was not realistic, we made it a very playable guitar. Is an incredible instrument, almost a religious experience playing it & thinking of all the things that were in the 1860s, the Civil War, Lincoln was president, slavery was still legal, and all the things that weren't, cars, phones, indoor toilets, women's right to vote, etc. If I could afford this one I'd buy it in a heartbeat, if it is as advertised.

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    Default Re: I wouldn't post an 1840 Martin guitar on CL, but what do I kn

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    For me, it would be a fun guitar to play for 5 minutes just to say that I played an early Martin -- after that, it is pretty much a historical piece for a collection. A wall-hanger, if you will. A very expensive wall-hanger. Now, a 1930's Martin dreadnought -- that's something to get excited about!
    That's what makes the world so great, for me I would play a dreadnought 5 min, if that. My largest guitar is an 0, with a 2-17 Martin from '28 being the size I like most.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: I wouldn't post an 1840 Martin guitar on CL, but what do I kn

    I have a "no name," X-braced parlor guitar that a couple people (Stu Cohen at Music Emporium, e.g.) have suggested is 1860's vintage. It's the one I use for historical programs. It has a slotted headstock and geared pegs, which have been around since the early 19th century.

    On the other hand, I have several banjos and banjo-like instruments, plus ukuleles, with the metal un-geared "friction pegs," and they can be a bear to tune. A 1:1 ratio, in effect, and every little tweak causes major movement in the tuner needle. I can only speculate that the ivory "violin peg" tuners would be just as bad.

    As to this guitar, I'l bet if fixed up it would be a wonderful instrument to play. And I take the movie reference above:


    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
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    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

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    Default Re: I wouldn't post an 1840 Martin guitar on CL, but what do I kn

    I remember the Hateful 8 scene and we discussed it here as well. However, I disagree with the $400K evaluation or EVEN the $45K so-called purchase price evaluation, having worked in the vintage guitar field for 35+ years. YES, a pre-war (WWII, that is) Martin D-45 might bring $400K, but few other Martins will barely bring a fourth of that. 1800's Martin's are not common, but I've seen quite a few and most of them have a hard time selling for $5K Rare yes, in-demand NO. I highly doubt if it was owned by Walt Whitman that it would bring $400K........guitar prices in that realm are larely determined by the celebrity rock'n'roll market and lately whether or not anyone is bidding against Paul Allen! (not joking)

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