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Thread: Martin Style 20 Interest

  1. #51

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    Martin Style 20 1929
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    tree 

  3. #52

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    I spent 1/2 hr wth son in law, professional person. Did not work so far.

  4. #53
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Martin Style 20 Interest

    I see it! It looks great! I can't believe you wanted it all that time, and now... here it is! How cool is that?

    Sue

  5. #54

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    Jim Garber agreed to help out in posting photos. Thanks Jim

  6. #55
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Here are George's photos. It looks rather nice.
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    Jim

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  8. #56

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    I am astounded at the quality of this piece. I can see why this came from what was called the Golden Age. This sample is so clean that it looks to have been made 5 years ago. Perfectly straight neck. Not even lacquer checking. The ebony pick guard wanted to clack against the top when I pressed down against it while picking. I solved that by attaching a small felt disc to underside of guard.

    However, I can see some reasons the mandolin has had a hard time finding a permanent home. It's NOT a bluegrass mandolin. The tone comes straight from yesteryear. Think Nick Lucas, So it sounds great on old time, contra dance, and celtic.

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  10. #57
    Registered User Brian560's Avatar
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    Default Re: Martin Style 20 Interest

    Nice mandolin !

  11. #58
    Registered User Steve 2E's Avatar
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    That’s a real beauty George! I have great respect for your patience in the acquisition. Enjoy!

  12. #59

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    Worth the wait! Very nice!

  13. #60

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    I have a reprint of the Martin String Instruments catalog from 1929. The Style 20 mandolin was the only carved mandolin and most expensive mandolin in the lineup, at $75. The small catalog displays a full page picture of a mandolin just like mine. The catalog was in a book I own called The Martin Archives. Interestingly, instruments did not come with a case. Customers had a choice of four case options, from chipboard to hardshell.

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  15. #61
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Martin Style 20 Interest

    1930 Martin Catalog courtesy of acousticmusic.org—turn to spread 14/page 24.
    Jim

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  17. #62
    Registered User Steve 2E's Avatar
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    Default Re: Martin Style 20 Interest

    Quote Originally Posted by George Henry View Post
    I have a reprint of the Martin String Instruments catalog from 1929. The Style 20 mandolin was the only carved mandolin and most expensive mandolin in the lineup, at $75. The small catalog displays a full page picture of a mandolin just like mine. The catalog was in a book I own called The Martin Archives. Interestingly, instruments did not come with a case. Customers had a choice of four case options, from chipboard to hardshell.
    I need to get that book! That cross references with Mike Longsworth’s book. There were two Style 15’s made in 1929, but they weren’t in the catalog until 1930. Martin went all in with the Style 20 in 1929. I
    don’t think cases were standard until a bit later.

  18. #63

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    The Martin Archives also contains a 1936 catalogue as well. The 1936 Style 20 included a Martin decal on headstock, white binding on the fretboard, and different pick guard design. The price remained $75. The 1936 catalogue includes a page on the 2-15 but only a listing of the 2-20 with no photo.
    101 Style 20s were made in 1929. Only 18 in 1936.

  19. #64

    Default Re: Martin Style 20 Interest

    Fun Fact. One could have spent $75 for a Style 20 mandolin in 1936.It might be worth & 2000 today. Or $100 for a D-28 guitar. And it be worth $25,000 today.

  20. #65
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Martin Style 20 Interest

    Then again you could have bought a hot Strad violin in 1936 for $100...
    Jim

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  21. #66

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    Photos

  22. #67

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    I've decided to keep this wonderful mandolin. In fact, I've entrusted it to Bob Chuckrow to refret it with larger fret wire. He looked it over carefully and declared it a "really good mandolin" but the Martin bar fretting technique left them so low that "they are barely higher than no frets at all.". So after this procedure is complete I'll be set with a forever mandolin.

  23. #68
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    Default Re: Martin Style 20 Interest

    I pulled the frets today.

    " . . . not much better than no frets at all . . ."
    The fret tops were about .015" above the face of the fingerboard. They varied in thickness between .031" and .036".
    Pulling the frets on this instrument is not a job for beginners. There was very little surface to grab with the pullers, and the 12th fret would not come out by conventional means-- the pullers would not grab at all. I'll forego the details, but I had to get creative to pull it out of there.

    For those who might be interested in what makes a style 20's tick, although at first glance it looks very similar to a Lyon & Healy style B, the carving is quite different. The arching is higher and more pronounced, with a rather deep "re-curve" near the edges. We might say that the Martin arching resembles a Kloz violin or perhaps a real Stainer [not a copy of a copy of a copy of a Stainer], while an L & H is arched more like a Stradivari. A measurement taken at the center seam directly behind the soundhole yields a top thickness of .0175", quickly becoming much thinner as it moves towards the ribs. I'd give more details, but I don't have a violin caliper.

    There is a single transverse brace 1 1/4" on center behind the soundhole at the center seam, set at an angle with the bass side of the brace nearer the fingerboard and the treble side nearer the tail of the instrument. This brace tapers in a graceful S curve from its highest point under the E string to near nothing at its edges. It is very different in shape from a typical "straight topped" Gibson or L & H oval hole brace. We might say that the Martin brace is somewhat similar in profile to a wing brace from a pre-war Martin guitar, but the mandolin brace is considerably larger in its proportions.

    All in all, this is a very nice instrument, with a bright, clear tone, and good projection. I can see why Bill Bolick played one as his instrument of choice throughout his life.
    Last edited by rcc56; Aug-21-2020 at 1:13am.

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  25. #69

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    I have done many refrets in my life, but no bar refretting. Since this is such a rare and special instrument, I thought it deserved the hands of a specialist.

    I'll be glas to get it back. I'm excited!

  26. #70

    Default Re: Martin Style 20 Interest

    I retrieved the Style 20 from Bob. He did a fine job! Gone are the gnawed down bar frets (it played almost as a "fretless mandolin) replaced by much higher banjo sized T frets. Bob made it look as if the new frets are factory original.

    The difference in playability is night and day. Formerly I struggled to get clean notes. Now they come easily. The mandolin always had great tone. Now it's easy to get that tone out of it.

    Thanks Bob!

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