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Thread: Wurlitzer Labeled Martin

  1. #1
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Wurlitzer Labeled Martin

    I've seen Ditson and Stewart labeled Martins, but the Wurlitzer is new to me. Though not surprising as we've seen Wurlitzer labeled Vegas / Lelands etc.

    A pity that the mando is in rough shape. Not a bad price for a Martin A, if those scratches aren't exactly cracks and the twisted neck isn't a nightmare-in-waiting.

    Mick
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wurlitzer Labeled Martin

    I played a Wurlitzer labeled Martin guitar many years ago at Gruhn's. They made a few of the mandolins. The pickguard looks like it's inlaid. I can't remember when they stopped doing that but I think it was in the 20's.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wurlitzer Labeled Martin

    Interesting. The s/n dates it to 1926. Would think that one could re-plane then refret the fingerboard to get rid of the effects of the twist. Also needs a new nut. If a person was able to do the repairs, it's a fair price. Definitely a conversation piece.

    Thanks for posting it.
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wurlitzer Labeled Martin

    The nut is actually ebony on this. Other than the missing Waverly cloud tailpiece cover it looks complete.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  7. #5

    Default Re: Wurlitzer Labeled Martin

    Nice mandolin. Martin made instruments for (probably) more than a few companies and Wurlitzer was one obviously. Another was Grinnell Bros. Music out of Detroit. Their house brand was Wolverine, and Martin made ukuleles for them (I have a Wolverine clarinet around here somewhere, but it wasn't made by Martin, lol). Another could be Jenkins Music out of Kansas City and St. Joseph, MO, ukuleles I believe, and Jenkins' house brand was Harwood, or Harwood Deluxe. Fascinating history on instrument manufacturers and music houses. I believe Montgomery Ward is in there somewhere too.

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    Default Re: Wurlitzer Labeled Martin

    Most 20' Martin instruments had bar frets so not as easy to plane and refret. You can get bar frets, but I haven't found any as small as they used in their mandolins. Most likely would need a new fretboard, it would be easier unless you can have some frets made or have a source that I haven't found.
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  10. #7
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wurlitzer Labeled Martin

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    The nut is actually ebony on this. Other than the missing Waverly cloud tailpiece cover it looks complete.
    Yup. And there seems to be no material between the 2 E strings based on the photo.
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  11. #8
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wurlitzer Labeled Martin

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Platt View Post
    Yup. And there seems to be no material between the 2 E strings based on the photo.
    That is common problem on these mandolins in these early years.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  12. #9
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    Default Re: Wurlitzer Labeled Martin

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    Most 20' Martin instruments had bar frets so not as easy to plane and refret. You can get bar frets, but I haven't found any as small as they used in their mandolins. Most likely would need a new fretboard, it would be easier unless you can have some frets made or have a source that I haven't found.

    A technique for replacing bar frets on a mandolin:

    1. Buy some modern fretwire with an oversize tang. I used to buy wire with an 0.0275" tang from Martin, but they no longer sell it. Checking Dunlop's dimension chart, their #6260 wire with 0.024" tang would probably work. The outside dimension of the barbs on the Dunlop wire is .0.037", which is favorable for this job.

    2. Crimp the heck out of the tang with Stew-mac's fret tang crimping tool, part number 4900. Go for a good, tight fit, but not so tight as to damage the fretboard.

    3. Lay the frets in with Titebond hide glue and let dry at least 24 hours.

    4. Level and profile using the usual techniques.


    I have used this technique on about a dozen old Martin and Vega mandolins, the first time 20 years ago, and most recently about 5 years ago. All have held up for years with no signs of excessive bowing.

    This is a simpler solution than shimming fret slots, replacing the board, or trying to find somebody who will roll .036" to .040" bar fret wire.

    I would not recommend this technique on bar fret guitars with slots that are .046" to .052" wide.

    Anyone who is interested in more details on this technique is welcome to pm me.
    Last edited by rcc56; Oct-14-2018 at 6:10pm.

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