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Old 07-26-2019, 03:37 PM
mdhttr mdhttr is offline
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Default 1924 Martin

A friend of the family who is downsizing in her golden years mentioned to me that she has her father's old guitar she thought was from the 1930's. She doesn't know anything about guitars and asked me to take a look before she got rid of it. I saw in the soundhole and back of the headstock, C.F. Martin, Nazareth, PA. But it was set up for Hawaiian slack key and needed considerable work, so it was clearly out of my area of expertise. We took it to a local luthier today and found out it's a 1924 Martin 0018. Estimated restoration cost is $2,000 and he thought it may not be worth much more than $3,000, but definitely something to hold on to. She is not interested in restoring it herself but has a grandson who plays guitar and may pass it on to him.

The interesting family lore part of the story is that she never knew her father played guitar until he was close to death several years ago. He was a preacher and didn't talk about his days playing guitar in bars. He had given up playing in bars and gave the guitar to his brother who then gave it back to her after all these years. So whether it ever plays again or not, a family heirloom has new life.
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Old 07-26-2019, 06:24 PM
Martinaylor Martinaylor is offline
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What a great story! Thanks for sharing.

Make sure that grandson knows what a treasure he's holding. So so cool
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Old 07-26-2019, 08:18 PM
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DenverSteve DenverSteve is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdhttr View Post
...A friend of the family .... has her father's old guitar she thought was from the 1930's. .... C.F. Martin, Nazareth, PA. But it was set up for Hawaiian slack key and needed considerable work, so it was clearly out of my area of expertise. We took it to a local luthier to...
That's too bad.
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Old 07-27-2019, 06:15 AM
woodbox woodbox is offline
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Thanks for posting this tale.

I have a different story about the 1928 Martin 0-18 that was my Grandfathers.
Grandma bought it new for him, and gave it to me in 1965 after he died.

Mine is in very good condition, largely because
1) he didn't play it much, was careful with his things, and
2) I have always treated it like the treasure it is.

I hope the grandson of your lady friend is tuned in.

Be aware that a 1924 00-18 is probably not be braced for steel strings.
That's about the transition time.
(EDIT: see post below by Osage)

I keep mine .. which IS braced for steel.. tuned down a full step with low tension Silk and Steel strings.

Again, thanks for sharing.

Last edited by woodbox; 07-27-2019 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 07-27-2019, 07:18 AM
Osage Osage is offline
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One word of caution. Martin wasn't bracing guitars for steel strings until 1926 so whatever your friend does, don't let them slap a set of mediums on it to see what it sounds like! This could actually be the reason it is currently set up Hawaiian.
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Old 07-27-2019, 07:27 AM
tomiv9 tomiv9 is offline
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$2000 for a $3000 guitar sounds worth it to me! Also I'm curious what work was included in that $2000 estimate? Sounds like alot. You might be able to get it in atleast suitable playing condition for a lot less. Prob worth getting a second opinion.
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Old 07-27-2019, 07:35 AM
383roller 383roller is offline
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Second or third opinion never hurts, that guitar will hold lights easily. Id fix it and keep it to pass.
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Old 07-27-2019, 07:48 AM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Definitely get another opinion from a qualified repair person. "Restoration" probably includes expensive refinishing and cosmetic work. You mostly want it to be playable and stable, which might require a neck reset, regluing the bridge or braces, and similar work which will be much less expensive.

I suspect you mean a high Hawaiian "steel" set up, aka slide playing. Slack key is a Hawaiian playing style, notable for fingerpicking, alternating bass, certain phrasings, and alternate tunings. I play slack key style and other fingerpicking on all of my guitars - with normal finger style setups.
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Old 07-29-2019, 09:17 AM
mdhttr mdhttr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl49 View Post
Definitely get another opinion from a qualified repair person. "Restoration" probably includes expensive refinishing and cosmetic work. You mostly want it to be playable and stable, which might require a neck reset, regluing the bridge or braces, and similar work which will be much less expensive.

I suspect you mean a high Hawaiian "steel" set up, aka slide playing. Slack key is a Hawaiian playing style, notable for fingerpicking, alternating bass, certain phrasings, and alternate tunings. I play slack key style and other fingerpicking on all of my guitars - with normal finger style setups.
Correct--Hawaiian slide, which is the style her father played. The guitar was originally meant for gut strings, so converting it to steel strings really did a number on the neck and bridge. So a neck reset and complete bridge rebuild are the most significant repairs. There are a couple of cracks, fairly minor considering the age, but that would need to be addressed. I will recommend she get a second opinion, but she is not in a position to have the restoration done herself. She's going to talk to her son who doesn't play but is in a position to have it done and then possibly pass it down to the grandson. He plays electric, but carries his grandfather's middle name, so it makes sense for him to have it, even if he just hangs it on a wall. At least they will know it has more than just sentimental value.

On another note, I mentioned to her that it would be interesting to know if there are any recordings of her father playing so she talked to her uncle and he said he has a tape! So that will be something special to add to the heirloom.
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