Monday, March 23, 2015

Martin 1-17

In 1964, I was a Junior at Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Steve Laing was a student that lived at the Neptune Ave. beach entrance and we would often run into each other there. He mentioned that he had an old guitar that had belonged to his grandfather but that it was damaged - the top had pulled up on it along the lower bout. It just sat in the closet and no one knew how to play. He wondered if I would want to buy it - he needed $12.00 for it. I took a look at it and noticed that stamped on the back of the headstock it said "Martin, Nazareth, PA." I knew that someone in the Kingston Trio played a Martin and that they were supposed to be good guitars. I bought it.  I had the top of it glued back down and put some strings on it. It sounded good but the action was still a problem on it. I did some research on the serial number stamped inside it as well as the model number "1-17" stamped on the back brace and discovered that it was a 1932 student model guitar, all mahogany with a slotted headstock. I gave it to my brother after university to keep while I was traveling around. When I settled in Austin, Texas, in 1970, I had him ship it back to me there. I got the action lowered a bit so it was easier to play and learned to play open tunings and slide guitar on it from my pal Tim Berger who was quite an accomplished guitarist. He played a Martin D35 but loved that old Martin. Jimmy Vaughn thought it was a pretty cool guitar as well and played it in our backyard in Austin. It is still in amazing condition for its age and still sounds great. Original tuners, bridge, saddle, frets all in good condition.

Steve Laing, 1965

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