Martin 3-17 1850's - Natural – Very Good Condition
A beauty of an handmade instrument from nearly 170 years ago
This is an early 1850s (according to Martin’s historic department, we’ve included a screenshot of the email) 3-17 model from C.F. Martin New York in great, restored condition. This would’ve been built in C. F. Martin’s house and is pre-factory and pre-serial numbers.
The neck is Spanish cedar painted black and features a soft V profile, ice cream cone heel, and a slotted headstock. The tuners are stamped Jerome and feature ivory tulip buttons. The nut is Ebony which compliments the ebony fretboard and it’s 18 bar frets which are free from serious divots but still have some height left in them. The neck profile is a hard V but it’s well rounded over.
The top is solid spruce bound with simple thin wood binding and braced according to an “1840s Spanish” Martin design. The bridge has been reglued at least once and is a replacement ebony pyramid bridge. The bridge plate has been replaced as well. There are a couple fixed chips in front of the bridge. The top is not bellying or dipping and has a gentle radius. The back and sides are of solid Brazilian Rosewood and the bass bout has had a crack repaired as evidenced by rosewood cleats but it closed up quite nicely. There is an added wing of Rosewood on the back where their back wood wasn’t quite large enough; you had to be resourceful back then. There are a couple other cleats on the instrument to address small cracks. There are Rosewood plugs on the tail lock where a tailpiece was once mounted and two others likely as alignment holes during construction.
The shellac finish has been “reflashed” at some point in its life; it was done well though. There is a pencil scribble on the inside of the top by the bass side of the bridge which has faded to be illegible. Instruments from this era often have C.F. Martin’s signature but this one is too faded for us to be certain. The centerstrip and neck block are stamped CF Martin New York and there is a faint stamp on the outside of the back right below the heel.
Fast Fret Facts:
- Action is 3/32” on the bass side and 1/16” on the treble side.
- Scale length: 24”
- Nut width: 1-3/4”
- Upper Bout Width: 8”
- Upper Bout Depth: 3-3/8”
- Lower Bout Width: 11-1/4”
- Lower Bout Depth: 3-5/8”
- Body Length: 17-1/8"
The sound has a mellow bass and defined high end and the instrument plays and sounds surprisingly well given its age.
Comes with a custom built Cedar Creek hardcase
$250 Shipping. Continental USA Shipping Only. No International Sales.
This guitar is presented by Driftwood Music Shop of St. Charles, MO. Buyer pays UPS shipping (and applicable taxes) which is added to the sales price at checkout.