1929 Martin Style C Flatback Mandolin

It's quite rare (and a treat) to get a Style C Martin mandolin in the house. This one arrived via local customer repair and it needed a side crack fixed, fret seating, a fret level/dress, and setup-side work done. In reality this instrument is missing its tailpiece cover but I've put a similar-to-original one on it just for the photos. Otherwise, the mandolin is completely original and (aside from that side crack) in very good shape.

While I appreciate the mahogany-backed Style A Martin mandolins, Style B-on-up is where it's at as far as I'm concerned. The rosewood back and sides on these guys increases sustain, mellows-out some of the (sometimes abusive) "pop" of the Style As, and provides more "depth and creaminess" to the sound.

This one is awfully pretty, too, which doesn't hurt at all. The details I love are, of course, the refined inlay in the (ebony) fretboard, the nicely-cut (and compensated) bridge, the abalone inlay in the rosette, and that pretty purfling.

It handles like any other Martin (these are shorter-scale), though -- great for folksy or old-timey, really -- and the tone is mostly suited to those styles as well. The scale is a little short to keep up with high-octane bluegrass shredding and the sound is far too mellow, too.