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Thread: martin bowlbacks

  1. #1
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    Default martin bowlbacks

    this one is going for 7500 nkr (I guess 800-850 usd).
    seems to be in really nice shape. its supposed to be very playable, and have (real) ivory tuner buttons.
    its supposed to be 102 years old, according to serial.
    does anyone know how these are, and if they are worth the price asked?
    link is from norwegian used stuff site:
    https://www.finn.no/bap/forsale/ad.h...kode=233563762

  2. #2
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    Default Re: martin bowlbacks

    Looks to be unusual but don’t equate that with “worth more”.

    Referring to Mike Longworth’s book “Martin Guitars a History” it looks like it could be a model 00 from between 1914 and 1925. They apparently doubled in price over this period risung from $15 to a staggering $30!

    Hopefully somebody more knowlegable will show up soon.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: martin bowlbacks

    I've seen more ornate Martin bowlbacks go for $1,000 to $1,200. I would guess this plainer-looking model is priced correctly. I played one of the more ornate models in a music store years ago. It sounded great.

  4. #4
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: martin bowlbacks

    If I'm counting the ribs right, it looks like a Martin "0" student model.

    Your 102 year estimate sounds about right or close enough.

    I had an 00 model, next up in line, for a good stretch. It was a fine mandolin.
    Simple and unadorned in the Martin style. I liked it quite a lot.
    Good tone across the range and good intonation.
    Neck was easy to play.

    Don't know what to tell you about the price. The condition and playability is key.
    You might find one cheaper, but likely not in Norway.

    Certainly there's a premium for the Martin name, but that's not likely to go away.
    Martin prices have only gone up since I've been playing mandolin.

    Not a huge resale market for bowlbacks in general, but you're not likely to get stuck with this if
    you decide to move it along one day, as I did with mine.

    I made some good dinero on the sale, but I do regret it.

    Mick
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  6. #5
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    Default Re: martin bowlbacks

    so, to sum up: if it has got good playability, it is probably worth it, considering the prices here in norway?
    I will probably go for a mc ride and test it this or newxt weekend. its not very far from here.
    I would like to thank you fine people for the help.

  7. #6
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: martin bowlbacks

    Martin instruments are nearly always immaculately constructed -- at least at the vintage you're considering.

    Having said that, they do get a premium market price because of the label. In the US, you could find a comparable quality bowl-back for less money.

    In Norway, I dunno -- what else might be available, what the market's like. If you can afford it, and you like the "test drive," might be worth the price, although it's a model at the lower end of Martin's catalog.
    Allen Hopkins
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  8. #7
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: martin bowlbacks

    Quote Originally Posted by mislykketmusikant View Post
    so, to sum up: if it has got good playability, it is probably worth it, considering the prices here in norway?
    I will probably go for a mc ride and test it this or newxt weekend. its not very far from here.
    I would like to thank you fine people for the help.
    The idea of taking a motorcycle ride in the autumn through Norway to play a Martin bowlback mandolin just sounds really nice to me.

    Enjoy yourself and share a few photos if you will.

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
    ______________________

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  9. #8
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    Default Re: martin bowlbacks

    prices here in norway are quite steep, allenhopkins. and though we do get a very nice selection of new instruments in the stores, people tend to not want to sell their rare older ones, so such things are not really very common on the used market. sweden is better (and much cheaper, on average), but its a hassle getting them from there to here. and I am lazy.
    I already own a 70 years old levin mandolin, and a weber and a seagull (my spare one, for when the weber is at the luthiers, or to use in the rare occation that I actually play on stage. it has electronics.) and an eastman octave mandolin. and lots of guitars and a couple of irish flutes, so this would just be a curiosity in my way too large instrument collection. but I have never tested a bowlback, so it would be interresting.
    yep. the autumn here in the west of norway is quite nice. thanks for your expressed nice wishes about my ride. I will try to remember to take pictures, if I go.

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