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1929 C.F. Martin Bone 000-28

1929 C.F. Martin Bone 000-28  

This might be the most noteworty Martin that I have owned from several perspectives.  Firstly and most importantly, it's one of a batch of 25 12 fret guitars (serial numbers 39955-39979) that were given the first belly bridges on Martin guitars......ever!  Mike Longworth recorded that it was shop order 511 and this guitar is serial  number 39957, the second one in that batch. To my knowledge, this is the only example from this batch that has come into the public market from order 511 and it is the first example known that definitively retains it's original belly bridge.  Mike Longworth had one from this batch with a belly bridge but there were actually people in the industry who questioned Mike's knowledge about what he had to hand and the bridge that was on that guitar, saying that it could have been either experimental or replaced.  Well, this guitar fully lays to waste that falacy and documents for the second time that this order number did indeed have the first ever belly bridges used on Martin guitars.  Martin still didn't announce their permanent use for another 6 months, but this was the ground breaker for a feature that has held dominance since order 511.

The second noteworthy thing about this bridge is that it's architecture is unique in that the area behind the pin holes very gently slopes downward.  Very sleek and well designed but a feature that didn't last once these belly bridges went into production full time.  Obviously a feature that cost more money to carve and shape in vast quantities. 

This guitar is in excellent condition being unmolested inside and out.  When it came to us, the fingerboard had been shaved down over to many years of too few luthiers to do neck sets, to where it was too thin to properly hold bar frets or support the string tension.  Keep in mind that these early Martins have much thinner boards than they do as time progresses.  So Dave took the original board off intact and then applied a shim under it with an ancient piece of ebony to bring it back to correct thickness and then re-applied the shimmed, original fingerboard to the neck.  You can't tell it's been done other than the off center fret markers on the edge of the board that we left in their original positions to document the restoration.    A great re-fret with nickel bar frets and a set up and she was back in fine fiddle to do the work that surely will come to it.  Overall, the guitar is clean and beautiful and has a sound that is again, difficult to describe.  I love 12 fret instruments and this is no exception.......being exceptional from every perspective sonically.  When you get woods this old that have been assembled together since 1929, the various parts become one and the musical image this guitar creates is otherwordly.  I don't know how to better describe it.....but I do prefer it to any other Martin's that i've had.....and it's in what appears to be its original case.  

It was acquired from a family who bought it from an American G.I who was billeted in their grandfathers house up north during WW 2 and it had laid unplayed for over 40 years.........which probably means since the war.  There were only 82 000-28's built this year.  They have forward shifted, fully scalloped bracing, thin maple bridgeplates, 12 frets and herringbone bindings along with the finest chocolate brazilian that one can ever find.........  it's a 1929 "bone" with 12 frets.  That's magical.  


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