1927 Martin 2-17 Flattop Guitar

I've mentioned it before, but I love hog-top Martins from this era. The spruce-topped ones are great guitars but suffer more for their lightweight builds than the stiffer, mahogany-topped ones like this guy. String a spruce-topped 0-18 from this time with anything approaching 12s for more than a month or two and watch it implode! ...it's a new drinking game... meaning owners who do so will drive me to drink.

This guy's a 2-17 which means it's a little smaller than 0-size and mahogany throughout the body. It came stock with a rosewood board and bridge, too, rather than the ebony on 18-series models at the time. Compared to later 17-style instruments, though, these ones still have pretty rosewood binding to set-off their edges and the simple rosettes are a classy look matched with it.

2-17s were Martin's first "production Spanish-necked steel-string guitars," if I recall correctly. Meaning... they were intended to do "just dandy" with steel strings of the time. In modern parlance that means they really like 46w-10 sets like other Martins of the period but will do ok with 52w-11 in standard tuning, too. I still wouldn't string these with 12s unless it's tuned down a step or more, though.

Anyway, this is a local guitar that was in for repair. It'd seen some funky repairs in the past and some needed to be set right. It wound-up getting a neck reset, new bridge and saddle, and a full refret, too. Someone had installed T-style frets in unmodified bar-fret slots... which just doesn't work. See here for a little video clip How To I did about resolving that issue prior to the refret.

While I've setup and adjusted one or two of these in the past for owners, this was the first one I was able to do-up correctly and I'm really pleased with how responsive and clean-sounding it is as a result. It sounded like it had a cold before but it's breathing free and easy, now.

Repairs included: neck reset, board plane and refret with stainless medium-size stock, new rosewood bridge, new bone comp'd saddle, new bridge pins, replacement (vintage) tuner parts, mild setup, and adjustments.

Top wood: solid mahogany

Back & sides wood: solid mahogany

Bracing type: scalloped x

Bridge: rosewood

Fretboard: rosewood

Neck wood: mahogany

Action height at 12th fret: 3/32” bass 1/16” treble (fast, spot-on)
String gauges: 46w-10 extra lights

Neck shape: mild-medium C/softest V

Board radius: flat

Truss rod: non-adjustable ebony rod

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: medium (stainless steel)

Scale length: 24 1/4"

Nut width: 1 13/16"

Body width: 12 1/4"

Body depth: 4"

Weight: 2 lbs 8 oz

Condition notes: it's actually pretty dang clean for its age and looks gorgeous and subdued. The bridge, saddle, and pins are all replacements. The frets are new, too, and the bar frets were long gone when it arrived. It's otherwise original. There's mild pickwear near the soundhole and a little handling-wear on the back and sides. There are 4 filled holes from an old tailpiece install near the endpin. There's an added strap button at the heel. The top has mild deflection behind/around the bridge as you'd expect for an old guitar but it's not outrageous or unsightly. I've never seen a period Martin without it and most are far worse.


jimbay802 said…
Is this one for sale?