8/23/2013

c.1951 Martin 5-15T Tenor Guitar


This is a customer's Martin 5-15T that came to the shop for a good setup and fret level/dress. It's the cleanest one I've seen with the only evidence of age being a few pick marks to the side of the pickguard. It was clearly looked-after.

Despite that, the neck had a hair of warp to it which I managed to deal with via leveling off the frets. I then just slightly cut down the leading edge of the bridge (in front of the saddle) and shaved the saddle a bit to get a "real fast" action of 1/16" at the 12th fret. It plays like butter and is currently strung up with standard CGDA strings for that chimey, 1930s tenor guitar sound.


I have to tell you, I love 50s Martins. They're great, practical, no-nonsense instruments and while they're not as super-lightly braced as the 30s and early 40s guys, these things are easier to take care of and don't have as much fuss to keep setup "on the dot" as the seasons change.


Nice rosewood-veneered headstock. The 5-15T designation corresponds to an all-solid mahogany body, satin finish, and no binding. The guitar is essentially the same as a 1930s or 40s 5-17T but slightly less glossy.


Nice mini-dots in the rosewood board. The frets were full height to begin with so after the leveling they've still got good height and feel.


This has that classic warm-red tortoise pickguard.


The original plastic pins look great.


No cracks anywhere and hardly any scuffing... this is cleaner than practically "new" instruments in the shop right now!





I love this type of tuner -- they're well-built and the oversize plates give a feeling of security.



Anyhow, it's always a joy to work on older Martins! It's too bad it's not for sale as I have a big old waiting list for just this model of guitar... heh heh...

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