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Thread: Anyone with a Martin Style A

  1. #1
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Anyone with a Martin Style A

    Anyone with a Martin Style A or Style B might want to check the dimensions against those listed for this case. I don't have one close or I would. NFI

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/ads/142586#142586
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Anyone with a Martin Style A

    Mike,

    I believe this will fit one of the early Martin flat backs--made from their introduction in 1914 to 1916 or 1917, when point they changed the width from 9" to 9.5", which they stuck with from that point on (I don't have my books handy, but am pretty sure those dates are right).

    I have a 1916 Martin "Bitting Special" (like an A, but with maple back and sides, different binding, peghead, and fingerboard inlays), and this case would be a worthy upgrade from the generic hardshell lives in now, surrounded with additional padding.

    Best,
    Rob

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    Default Re: Anyone with a Martin Style A

    While the length is correct for a Martin, the 9" width is too small, mine is 9 1/2".
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone with a Martin Style A

    OK cool, I was hoping we might have one of the long sought after cases that actually fit these things here. Somebody could have used it.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Anyone with a Martin Style A

    That case looks quite shallow, too shallow for a Martin A. It might fit a Lyon and Healey B or C model.
    Anglocelt
    mainly Irish & Scottish but open to all dance-oriented melodic music.
    Mandos: Gibson A2, Mike Black A4, Taran Springwell, Shippey Rosewood; TM and OM by J E Dallas (London) & Davidson.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Anyone with a Martin Style A

    Hi Anglocelt
    Regarding your comments that the depth looks too shallow. Please see the updated description with these words:-

    UPDATE INFORMATION 4th August 2019
    -Found in the cafe forum entry 'Default Re: Martin bent top, flat back mandolins' Author rcc56 dated Nov-04-2017
    --------------------------------
    "Mike Longworth documents the two sets of mandolin dimensions on page 165 of my second edition of "Martin Guitars- a History."
    I have verified the dimensions of the smaller mandolins by measuring examples from 1919 and early 1920, though my rule actually yields a depth of 2 13/16" rather than 2 7/8" at the cant, and 2 1/2" at the outer edge of the tailpiece. The 9" width is measured across the back."
    ----------------------------------------------------

    I hope this clears up any confusion

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Anyone with a Martin Style A

    This 9" case will fit a very early Martin flat-back. The last of the 9" Martins were made around 1920. From then to the present, the standard size for Martins was 9 1/2", but there was some overlap in production, and some of the larger 9 1/2" Martins were made as early as 1917.

    Important note: The "Martin Guitars: a Technical Reference" book indicates a gradual change from the 9" body to the 9 1/2" body beginning in 1917. It does not indicate when the changeover was completed.

    The Martin book documents 9 1/2" instruments with serial numbers as low as 5555.
    I have taken in-hand measurements of two instruments with the serial numbers 6610 and 7421, built in 1919 and 1920. Both of these instruments have the earlier 9" body.

    These instruments measure 2 13/16" at the cant taken from the edge of the instruments, but the case should be somewhat deeper to accommodate the arching of the top and back and the presence of the bridge. Measurements I made today indicate that a minimum case depth of 3 1/2" would be suitable.

    Measure your instrument carefully.

    Lyon & Healy B and C models are 10" wide, and will not fit in this case.

    This case may fit some of the smaller instruments made by Schmidt, Regal, or Larson, but this is indeed a narrow case.

    Again, measure your instrument carefully.

    This might indeed be a good case for a 9" Martin, or Rob's Bitting Special.
    Last edited by rcc56; Aug-04-2019 at 12:23pm.

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    Default Re: Anyone with a Martin Style A

    Thanks-- to rcc56 for the info, to Mike for drawing attention to this, and to Kaye for her clear description.

    I'm checked the dimensions of the Bitting Special and am going ahead with the purchase.

    I've been looking for one of these, off and one, for some 10 years, and had pretty much given up. My guess has always been that few of the folks who bought those early Martins popped for the hard shell case back then (if indeed this was made for a Martin).

    I'll post some photos once I receive the case.

    Best,
    Rob

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  11. #9
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone with a Martin Style A

    Too cool! I'm happy to see a decent vintage mandolin get a decent vintage case! I'm pretty sure the majority of the old Martin mandolins probably weren't sold with a case. I'm certain the old Martin ukes weren't. These are very few and far between.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Anyone with a Martin Style A

    Glad that is going to work out. My guess is that at least some of the old Martins were sold with those canvas "bottom-dumper" cases that fell apart decades ago.

    Some years ago, I found a really nice small case in a hole-in-the-wall music store. It turned out to be an original case for a Lyon and Healy model B or C. I put it up in the classifieds, and the woman who bought it was happy as a clam. She had been looking for one for at least a couple of years.

    But if you want to try something really tough, try finding any case, old or new, to fit a Vega cylinder back instrument of any kind. Or how about a case for a Regal Octofone?
    Last edited by rcc56; Aug-04-2019 at 1:59pm.

  13. #11

    Default Re: Anyone with a Martin Style A

    The 1920 Martin style A in my avatar is 9" wide. And its serial number is 7272. I guess Martin kept the specs fairly fluid in those days.

    I'd like to find a period case that actually fits it, but it would probably cost close to what I paid for the mandolin. So, I have a decent little style A TKL case with a homemade insert to pad the mandolin.
    Roger

    1920 Martin Style A
    Don MacRostie designed Stuart MacDonald A-style kit I built myself.
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    Registered User Zigeuner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone with a Martin Style A

    I measured the body on my 1964 Martin Model A. It is 9-1/2" across the body at the bridge area. The body is 2-13/16 deep at the bend on the top. I don't know the brand of case, but it is similar in design to a Geib or other guitar hard case. I paid $50 for the case in '64 when I got the mandolin. The mandolin cost $84.50 new at that time. It was a birthday gift from my Mother.

    My 1917 Gibson A-3 is 10" across the body at the bridge and 1-3/4" deep around the rim. It has it's original case, although the lining was mostly missing when I got it from my Uncle's estate. I relined the case with a brown felt and replaced he damaged handle with a NOS leather one that I found at an old time hardware store. I have the original keys for both cases.

    Hope this helps,
    1917 Gibson A-3, '64 Martin A, 2016 Rhodes F5R.

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    Default Re: Anyone with a Martin Style A

    Sometimes, you can find a wreck of an old mandolin with a good case for a low price. Keep the case and sell the wreck to an aspiring repairman . . .

  16. #14
    Some Ability - No Talent MikeZito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone with a Martin Style A

    I have owned two 1929 Martin Style 20 mandolins over the years - and the first one came with the original case.

    Kind of reminds me of when I first starting collecting baseball cards in 1969 - I swear that almost every pack that I opened had a card in it from this Yankees player named Mickey Mantle . . . and like my multiple Mickey Mantle cards, I didn't realize, at the time, what a highly sought after thing that I had with that 1929 case.

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    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone with a Martin Style A

    I find this body width thing interesting. I had a couple Martin bent tops as I was learning to play back in the 60's, but they were 30's 40's era instruments.

    The last time I looked at a Martin in person, I was looking at a Style C with abalone. I thought to myself "this sure seems smaller than I remember". Ah, the beauty of the human mind
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  18. #16
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    Default Re: Anyone with a Martin Style A

    Martin Style C's with a pearl top border are a subject unto themselves.

    Martin's usually meticulous record-keeping does not account for the exact number that were made, because the changes to and from the pearl border occurred in the middle of 1917 and 1921. All we can do is estimate the number made to somewhere between 120 and 140 instruments.

    Of the few that have come to my attention, most had the 9" body, but at least a couple had the 9 1/2" body.

    These are very attractive mandolins, if you can find one in good shape. I know of one in nearly pristine condition, and the pearl positively shimmers when light strikes it from a certain angle.

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    Default Re: Anyone with a Martin Style A

    Department of Happy Endings:

    The case arrived yesterday, in fine shape, and it indeed fits my Bitting Special like a glove. Other than a little scuffing around the edges here and there, it seems nearly unused.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks again to ladykaye for listing this in the classifieds (and also for providing great information and handling the transaction quickly and smoothly), to Mike for directing my attention to it, and to rcc56 for his expertise.

    It seems highly likely the case was made for this model Martin--but no way of knowing for sure.

    One little mystery: I would have guessed that a quality case like this would have gone with one of the fancier models--style B through E. However, the Bitting Special, which has the plain square headstock like a style A, just fits at the headstock end--with less than half an inch to spare. It looks to me B or higher models, which have the longer decorated headstock with the cutout and crest, would be a little too long to fit.

    Best,
    Rob

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone with a Martin Style A

    If it fits it was made for it. Congratulations.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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