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Thread: Help with Martin Style 20 at GC Brooklyn

  1. #1

    Default Help with Martin Style 20 at GC Brooklyn

    Has anyone examined or played the 1929 Martin Style 20 currently residing at the GC in Brooklyn, NY? A call to that store revealed a seriously short staffing situation. The salesman GC was unable to provide a hands on description of the mandolin to me because of staffing. One wonders if GC is really interested in staying afloat during these trying times. The sales guy did say he thought the mandolin a collector rather a player piece. But no particulars.

    So I'm asking for comments from anyone who has seen the instrument with a mandolin knowledgeable eye.

  2. #2
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with Martin Style 20 at GC Brooklyn

    My experience with GC vintage stuff during pre-Covid era. A store in PA had a 1930's guitar I was interested in at a good price. I was able to speak to someone but most of those folks are not very vintage savvy anyway. This guy was pretty nice though and gave me some idea of the condition and also told me that there is a vintage department in California which sets the prices. The deal though is—at least back then—was that they will ship it to one of their stores local to you and you can take a look in person. I seem to recall that if you decide it is not worth it they will ship it back to the store. I think they may charge the shipiing cost but that would be so with any mail transaction.

    I did ask the original store to send detailed photos and that helped quite a bit. Not sure what they do these days.

    The photos on their website are terrible for the most part.

    It looks like they lowered the price considerably from $2k to $1169, so they probably want to move it. I am not sure what the retail price should be for that mandolin but that seems like an OK price if it is in good shape.

    Have you played other style 20 mandolins?
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Help with Martin Style 20 at GC Brooklyn

    I have played the F hole version of the same mandolin but am really only interested in the oval hole. I am also a well qualified set up tech/repairman. But I am not interested in major repairs like neck resets. Refretting is fine with me.

    GC policy is that I can have the mandolin shipped to my local GC, but I have to pay for it first. I then have 72 hrs to keep or return. I would be charged shipping costs.

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    Default Re: Help with Martin Style 20 at GC Brooklyn

    Well, Bernunzio Uptown Music in Rochester NY has two style 20's, and they would give you at least a passable description over the phone, but you would have to pay more. They are a long established store with a good reputation and a standard return policy.

    If there is anything glaringly wrong with the GC instrument, it is not obvious from the pictures. However, there is no picture of the back, and I wouldn't pull the trigger unless they will first furnish you a back picture.

    Guitar Center seems to have been content to run at a loss for many years. Their affairs are controlled by a large management group that apparently does not need them to make a profit.

    It should be no more [and no less] difficult to reset the neck on a Martin mandolin than it would be on an older Martin guitar.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with Martin Style 20 at GC Brooklyn

    Quote Originally Posted by George Henry View Post
    I have played the F hole version of the same mandolin but am really only interested in the oval hole. I am also a well qualified set up tech/repairman. But I am not interested in major repairs like neck resets. Refretting is fine with me.

    GC policy is that I can have the mandolin shipped to my local GC, but I have to pay for it first. I then have 72 hrs to keep or return. I would be charged shipping costs.
    The f-hole version is very different from the roundhole. I had a 2-15 and they also have a common fault which is that the endblock gets loose and the top cracks along the seam. The style 20 (not 2-20) is the more desirable of any of these Martin archtops. They can be sweet sounding but not great in the volume department and nothing like vintage Gibsons.

    Actually, one of the two style 20s at Bernunzio's is on sale and only a little more expensive than the GC one without all the hassle. If you have your heart set on it, I would go for that one.
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    Registered User BoxCarJoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with Martin Style 20 at GC Brooklyn

    I didn't know the GC in Brooklyn was even open.

    For the record I have never seen a vintage mandolin on display there, but if it's possible
    I'll go there tomorrow (Sunday) and have a look.

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    Default Re: Help with Martin Style 20 at GC Brooklyn

    Bill Bolick of the Blue Sky Boys played a Martin style 20 as his mandolin of choice for 70 years.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Help with Martin Style 20 at GC Brooklyn

    The same style 20 Martin that's been drifting around NY GCs for a year?

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    Default Re: Help with Martin Style 20 at GC Brooklyn

    Well, chances are that the one in NY was probably not Bill's personal instrument, but Bill's was the same model. You'll see that mandolin in virtually every picture of the Blue Sky Boys.
    Earl Bolick's D-28 is for sale at an Atlanta music store. The price is high.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Help with Martin Style 20 at GC Brooklyn

    I've still got some interest in this rig, but no help so far. I think I'll talk it over with the manager of my Knoxville store, she if she is okay with being stuck with this if it turns out to be a turkey. But I guess that is part of their business model.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with Martin Style 20 at GC Brooklyn

    I don’t think that the Knoxville store will be stuck with it. I believe it gets shipped back to Brooklyn. These stores are all part of the same company. This is their policy.
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    Default Re: Help with Martin Style 20 at GC Brooklyn

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I don’t think that the Knoxville store will be stuck with it. I believe it gets shipped back to Brooklyn. These stores are all part of the same company. This is their policy.
    Not necessarily. Within the last year purchased and returned a 1930's A-50. It ended up staying at the GC where I picked it up for about a week, then shipped to another local GC where it was purchased within a month.
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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with Martin Style 20 at GC Brooklyn

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Platt View Post
    Not necessarily. Within the last year purchased and returned a 1930's A-50. It ended up staying at the GC where I picked it up for about a week, then shipped to another local GC where it was purchased within a month.
    My point was that GC will ship to another store. Are you saying that the Knoxville store could refuse to do that? Who cares what happens if you don’t want it? Maybe the store you mentioned wanted to keep it there.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Help with Martin Style 20 at GC Brooklyn

    I've been down this road before. First, I have to buy the instrument first. It will be shipped straight to my home or to a GC store of my choosing. As a vintage instrument, I have 72 hours to either keep or get my money back. Usual procedure is that, if I return it to my local store, it stays there.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with Martin Style 20 at GC Brooklyn

    I guess I didn't need to know what would happen since I got such a good deal on that guitar. And GC does whatever it does. That would make sense that it stays since it would not entail any additional shipping charges. But, as I say, who cares.
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    Default Re: Help with Martin Style 20 at GC Brooklyn

    Let me know how it goes. I will be back in Brooklyn next week and could check it out.

  17. #17
    Registered User Steve 2E's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help with Martin Style 20 at GC Brooklyn

    Dang! Did you order it? I just tried to send it to my local GC and it’s unavailable now. Seems like a good buying situation to me. A very easy buy and try without shipping hassles. Good luck if you bought it!

  18. #18

    Default Re: Help with Martin Style 20 at GC Brooklyn

    I didn't bite. Kinda glad it's unavailable anymore. I doubt it could match my 1920 Gibson A anyway. But they are pretty.

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