An Extremely Rare 1917 C. F. Martin Ditson ODS 1-18
106 years old......this guitar, built by C.F. Martin for the Oliver Ditson Co of Boston and New York, was shipped on 09-05-1917 and is serial number 263. It is one of nine guitars shipped in this order. ODS stands for Oliver Ditson Special, which was a model that, according to some reference material was introduced in March of 1919, which is clearly a bit later than they were. They were almost all shipped to Boston and were slightly different from the regular Ditson styles 1 and 2. They had a three ring sound hole rosette rather than a single ring and were ordered without the Martin stamp inside.
It was most likely purchased in Boston, but possibly New York, from the Oliver Ditson store there when it was new. It came to me from the great nephew of the original owner who inherited it from his father who was the brother of a famous actor named Robert Barrat, who owned the guitar in this chain...... all very convoluted !! He was an early screen actor who was involved with movies such as "Captain Blood" where he played Wolverton and "An American Guerilla in the Phillipines " as Gen. Douglas MacArthur and was the only actor endorsed by MacArthur for the role. He was a character actor in over 50 movies of the 30's and owned this guitar until it passed to his nephew upon his death, from whom we acquired it.
Martin created the first dreadnought for the Ditson Company which started the evolution in acoustic guitar shapes and sizes. This model, a very early conception, has a mahogany body with a dark stained Adi. spruce top, fan bracing and ebony board and pyramid bridge. It is all original and in exceptional condition. It also comes with what can only be it's original felt cover in green and a later 50's alligator soft shell case as well. Martin is known for providing a felt cover for their guitars in the 20's which surely is what this is. Amazing.
It is going to Dave King for a neck set and will return ready for it's next voyage. Even with a high action now, it has exceptional voicing and one can't wait to hear it at it's best.