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  #1  
Old 03-20-2010, 12:26 PM
tcac30 tcac30 is offline
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Default "Nashville Musical Instrument Co." ??? help ID

Hey,

This is my first posting here...after decades of obsessing with electrics I've got the acoustic bug...especially old MIJ stuff.

I found this NMI guitar. Sticker on the inside says "Nashville Musical Instrument Co." P.O. Box 242, Nashville, TN 37202, Model W 610, made in Japan. I can not find any info on the web. It's a great copy of a Martin D35 (?) It has a soft, offset V neck. Sounds loud and pretty bright. solid top for sure, maybe solid back (the grain lines up well from an inside to outside comparison), not sure about the sides.

I was hoping find some general info....who imported it, who made it, year?....

I'll try and post a pic...if it doesn't upload properly, go to:
www.tomcallins.com/nmi to see more photos.

Thanks!
Tom
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Old 03-20-2010, 01:50 PM
garywj garywj is offline
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Nice. Does look like a D35 with a little bling. Any idea how old it is? I'd consider it a keeper!
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  #3  
Old 03-20-2010, 04:31 PM
tcac30 tcac30 is offline
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Default keeper for sure

I'm not sure of the exact age, but I'm guessing late 70s (maybe early 80's) back in the day when local shops could contract out a Japanese company to make a limited run of Martin knock-offs...I was hoping someone in the Nashville area would recall this shop/importer to help narrow down a time frame.

Tom
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  #4  
Old 03-21-2010, 12:46 PM
Tunes Tunes is offline
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I ran across a website that discusses Grammer and Gower guitars, and the early Gower guitars appear to have had the same label on the inside (Nashville Musical Company Co.), but with "Gower" on the headstock.

I have not been able to find much other information at all. It appears that Gower guitars had a relatively short life, possibly from around 1955 until maybe 1970(a very rough guess). However the model number does not jive with those listed on the website - so it's a bit of a mystery.

It may be that Gower was buying guitars from NMI, and just putting his own name on the headstock?

It looks like a fine guitar that has aged well, and probably relatively "rare". A keeper for sure.
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  #5  
Old 03-22-2010, 08:39 AM
tcac30 tcac30 is offline
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Cool, thanks for this info. I've never heard of either Grammer or Gower so I will investigate further.

TC
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  #6  
Old 03-22-2010, 07:18 PM
jhbedai jhbedai is offline
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Default NMI D-28 Copy

I purchased a nice Nashville Musical Instruments Japanese D-28 copy out of a Lebanon, TN pawn shop a couple of years ago. It's a very close copy outside with a good looking spruce top, and what appears to be solid Indian rosewood back and sides. Some remembered Nashville Musical Instruments being down town and closing in the late 70s or early 80s, but that's all I could find out.
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:02 AM
moorav moorav is offline
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I have an NMI acoustic also they are really fine guitars. I have had mine about 14 or 15 years. It's been through a lot - bought it for 50 bucks at pawn shop. It was ugly but blew me away - cleaned up real nice. I researched and last thing I found was NMI was started by George Gruhn & a guitar maker who's name escapes me. I have no idea where they were made..etc mine sounds plays fantastic

I would be real curious to know the real story behind these though
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:11 PM
tcac30 tcac30 is offline
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thanks, now I'm even more curious about the NMI history
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Old 07-06-2010, 07:10 AM
tstephens tstephens is offline
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Default NMI Info

Hey tcac...I also own an acoustic from this same company. Nashville Musical Instrument Co. was strictly a wholesaler to music/guitar stores in the southeastern u.s. They were located on Lower Broadway in Nashville one block down from Gruhns Guitar. The owner's name was Richard Cromwell, and he was involved with a Japanese luthier that produced some great guitars. Most all of the guitars were copies of Martin guitars. I have one of three (model N400D) that were not destroyed by court order as the result of a lawsuit by Martin against NMI. The guitar is an exact copy, right down to the Nashville Musical Instrument Co. Font on the headstock, and I was surprised that it's actually a better constructed, and easier to play than either of my martins or my Talylor.
This guitar was given to me by my Dad before he died. I became interested in the background of the company because it plays and sounds so good. I did some extensive searching for info on the original manufacturer in Japan, only to draw a blank. The records from NMI were confiscated by the courts, and no one can seem to tell me why they are not readily available as a matter of public record.
The date of manufacture can be found on the inside surface of the neckbrace (19770705 is stamped in mine thus..July 5, 1977). According to Gruhns in Nashville, they have never been affiliated with NMI, nor did they ever sell any of the Japanese made guitars. He did seem to know an awful lot about the actual instrument however, and knew where the date code was..as well as the fact that there were three of my guitars that were unaccounted for in the lawsuit. They had been sold through Madison Music for cash, with no customer info for the courts to go on to confiscate the instruments. My guess the owner lied about the sale of two of the instruments, and kept two back for his collection after learning of the lawsuit. The third was purchased by my grandmother for my dad's birthday from Madison Music in late July. The guitar sold at that time for $99 and was the closest thing to a Martin that she could afford to get him.
The statute of limitations has since expired on the court order to confinscate and destroy all N400D models, and I have turned down $10,000 offers on this instrument on two different occasions. The other two are still unaccounted for, and unless someone wants to pay off my mortgage, mine will never be for sale. The only persons other than myself to play this instrument were my father, and Jim Seales of Shenandoah who fell in love with it at a studio session, while recordinng at a studio in the Shoals where I also do some bass/guitar tracks. Should you decide to sell your guitar, you really should have it appraised first...it is probably worth way more than you think. The newer logo would probably indicate that it was produced after the lawsuit in 1978. NMI closed their doors in 1980 and I can find no forwarding info on the former owner Richard Cromwell.
Hope this info helps out.

Last edited by tstephens; 07-06-2010 at 07:25 AM. Reason: incorrect information
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Old 07-06-2010, 07:33 AM
DLeeWebb DLeeWebb is offline
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Wow! I have enjoyed following this thread. Seems like an episode of "Antiques Roadshow." You might have a real treasure on your hands! Congratulations!
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  #11  
Old 07-06-2010, 08:05 AM
tcac30 tcac30 is offline
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Default thanks to everyone's for their replies

Great information! This is quite an interesting investigation.

Thanks,
Tom
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  #12  
Old 10-18-2010, 04:41 PM
retchetub retchetub is offline
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Default Nashville Musical Instrument Co.

Hi, I have just joined the forum and was pleased to find some info. on this brand of guitar.I have a N500D serial 19771011. it also has the number 606 and Made in Japan inked inside the body. No paper label. The headstock logo is like a Martin not the NMI type. I purchased it in Japan so perhaps they were sold there as well. Just a bit more info on these mystery guitars.
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  #13  
Old 11-19-2010, 07:05 PM
dwighta dwighta is offline
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Smile I have an NMI 610

Hey all.
My first post here , I was cruzing around the internet looking for info about my my guitar and I landed here.
I have an NMI Model W610 as well looks the same on the front as OP,

Specifics. Solid spruce top, three piece back back Rock maple in the center with what I think is rose wood to either side. Note on the picture from the OP that there are mother pearl inlays in a number of areas. Around the sound hole, all the way around the top and the fret markings. The logo is also mother of pearl inlay. Tuning machines are Morris. Rosewood fret board. The neck is not very deep front to back with a fairly large diameter c shape. Inside the sound hole is a paper label/sticker with the company logo and model number 610. "NMI Nashville Mucical Instrument Company Post Office Box 242 Nashville Tennessee 37202 Made in Japan"
The only other marking inside is the ink stamp on a cross brace at the base of the neck. This stamp is 1006

I got mine new in October of 1978. Interesting story. I was in college and wanted my first guitar. I had been playing a horrible hand me down with action a half mile off the fret board. My brother at the time (who played guitar pretty well) was in college and working part time at a music store in the Lakeland Florida area.( that goes with south east noted above) I had my eye on an Aria ProII like his. So I began working nights at Burger King to save up the money. Initially he wanted me to send him 200.00 and he would get me something. Then when I had flipped enough burgers he called and said I should save a little more and send him 275.00. And he would get me a good deal. I think the price was employee discount for the guitar so I don't know what the retail was for it. So a couple of thousand more burgers later I had the 275.00. So I paid 275.00 for the NMI W610 with and Ivory nut added and a hard shell case ( plywood with a vinyl covering) in October 1978.

After college the guitar sort of sat in the case from apt. to house to house for a long time Years. In around 2005 I pulled it out and started playing again. Worship band at church. It is in really great shape with one exception. The finish is a great gloss finish but on the back deep in the finish right against the wood it is somewhat milky and cloudy. Top sides neck and head stock are all perfect. I think this is from being flat on the floor in the basement under a bed. Over all no scratches, a couple of tiny dents but not through the finish. I would love to know if there is a way to get the rich wood color back like the rest of the body. The spruce is aging nicely from a fairly bright white back in 1978 to a warm honey tone again a lot like the color in the OP.
Lots of google searches have turned up very little on this guitar company.
So would be interesting to know how many of these are out there and other peoples experiences.
Again I would love to know if it is possible / worth fixing the finish
Thanks
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  #14  
Old 12-15-2010, 09:02 AM
nrnr10 nrnr10 is offline
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Default NMI Guitar? I also own one...

Quote:
Originally Posted by tcac30 View Post
Hey,

This is my first posting here...after decades of obsessing with electrics I've got the acoustic bug...especially old MIJ stuff.

I found this NMI guitar. Sticker on the inside says "Nashville Musical Instrument Co." P.O. Box 242, Nashville, TN 37202, Model W 610, made in Japan. I can not find any info on the web. It's a great copy of a Martin D35 (?) It has a soft, offset V neck. Sounds loud and pretty bright. solid top for sure, maybe solid back (the grain lines up well from an inside to outside comparison), not sure about the sides.

I was hoping find some general info....who imported it, who made it, year?....

I'll try and post a pic...if it doesn't upload properly, go to:
www.tomcallins.com/nmi to see more photos.

Thanks!
Tom
I have a NMI Guitar (model W604M) that I have owned for around 36 years. I am pretty certain I purchased it around 1975. I don't really play so it still looks like new. Has a solid back, no stripe but other then that matches yours real close. A buddy of mine who plays showed me this link when he was wanting me to sell it to him. Hope that helps. It was unique to see made in Japan as you mentioned.

Robert
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  #15  
Old 12-16-2010, 05:16 PM
nrnr10 nrnr10 is offline
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Default NMI Guitar? I also own one...

In response to Tom,
I also own a NMI Guitar I have had for nearly 36 years. I will tell you I am pretty sure it was purchased around 1975. I do have some more info if I see you are still interested I will check back on the forum.

RR
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