6/22/2013

c.1920 Martin Style A Flatback Mandolin


This is a customer's mandolin that was in the shop for a fret level/dress and setup. I'm a bit jealous, though, as this is the nicest-sounding Martin flatback mando I've played to date. The serial number places it at 1920 and aside from a crack to the treble side sustained by a drop, it's very clean.


The workmanship on Martin mandos from any time is top notch, but the 1920s and 30s ones tend to be a cut above. The pickguard is inlaid instead of on top of the surface, the binding is rosewood instead of fiberloid or celluloid, and the build is extremely light and precise throughout. Even the burn-stamp on the reinforcing back strap is as crisp as it could ever be!


Ebony nut and board. Rosewood headstock veneer.


I love the micro-dots and bar frets. The strings are a set of 32w-9 suited to these lightly-built old gals.



Compensated ebony bridge...


...and a non-missing cloud tailpiece cover.







The tuners work just fine and didn't even need a lube.



Also, an original hard case doesn't hurt!

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