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Thread: 1938 Martin 2-20?

  1. #1

    Default 1938 Martin 2-20?

    I ran across this Mando at a semi-local shop:

    https://shop.gryphonstrings.com/prod...rtin-220-47676

    Anyone played one of these? Think it's a good price? Not sure about that body shape and if it lends itself to Bluegrass or Celtic or what? Any thoughts are appreciated.

  2. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1938 Martin 2-20?

    I had a 2-15 which is the more common of these. The 2-20 is much more rare and the only one above it is the super-rare 2-30. However, they are not known for volume tho probably pleasant sounding. Bluegrass... no way. I don't think they have much in the way of sustain for celtic. Possibly good for folk music or classical but IMHO there are better choices. They are very well made tho.

    But, look. You played it. Do you like it? Never mind what my experience was.
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    its a very very long song Jim's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1938 Martin 2-20?

    Nice! I have a weakness for two points and that one is beautiful. Not sure on price but it seems a bit high, hopefully someone with a bit more knowledge than I will chime in with a price est. I don't see many of these Martins.
    Jim Richmond

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1938 Martin 2-20?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    Bluegrass... no way. I don't think they have much in the way of sustain for celtic. Possibly good for folk music or classical but IMHO there are better choices...
    But the mandolin of choice for playing music at the wedding reception of the daughter of your local Mafia Don.

    Mick
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1938 Martin 2-20?

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    But the mandolin of choice for playing music at the wedding reception of the daughter of your local Mafia Don.

    Mick
    Yes, you are correct, sir!
    Jim

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1938 Martin 2-20?

    According to Mike Longworth's Martin Guitars: A History, only 106 2-20's were made between 1936 and 1941. For rarity alone, it may command a substantial "collector's" price. Martin's carved-top mandolins never succeeded in competing in what was a shrinking 1930's market, but as stated above, they have the usual Martin outstanding work-person-ship.
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    Default Re: 1938 Martin 2-20?

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    According to Mike Longworth's Martin Guitars: A History, only 106 2-20's were made between 1936 and 1941. For rarity alone, it may command a substantial "collector's" price. Martin's carved-top mandolins never succeeded in competing in what was a shrinking 1930's market, but as stated above, they have the usual Martin outstanding work-person-ship.
    and only something like 64 2-30's were made. I have seen and played 8 of the 2-30's which is astounding considering how rare they are. Much rarer than a Loar. I think they are one of the most beautiful mandolins ever made. They don't sound like a Gibson and are criticized for that but then if you want it to sound like a Gibson buy a Gibson! I like the tone but they aren't particularly loud.There is a lot of kinds of music that isn't bluegrass. Martin came late to the game a lot --steel strings were made by everyone for years before Martin stepped in but people continued to play guitars and it worked out in the end. By the time they decided to get into high grade mandolins the craze was already over and therefore very few were produced. It's been a while but a couple of years back there were a couple of 2-30's available for that $2500 price. I personally think that the Martin 2-20 and 2-30 should be highly collectible but the numbers have never backed that up. They are still way cool never the less!

  9. #8
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: 1938 Martin 2-20?

    I don't know about the two-point Martins, but the 2-15 also had a design flaw. The two-piece top would separate at the seam near the tailpiece. Mine did that, of course, right before I sold it.

    A little story of why i bought that one was I acquired a long scale Lyon & Healy symmetrical A that was missing the tailpiece cover. I saw this 2-15 with an L&H cover on eBay and after I unsuccessfully tried to buy the to cover from the seller, I realized that I could probably buy it for full price and re-sell it for the same and pocket the tp cover. I think tho, after the top separation showed up I ended spending about $100 for the tp cover, which is still a decent deal for one of those, assuming you could find one.
    Jim

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