C. F. Martin D-41 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1970)

C. F. Martin  D-41 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1970)
This item has been sold.
Item # 11308
Prices subject to change without notice.
C. F. Martin D-41 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1970), made in Nazareth, PA, serial # 263469, natural lacquer finish, Engleman spruce top, Indian rosewood back & sides, mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, black tolex hard shell case.

This is a well-traveled Martin D-41 from early/mid 1970, one of the first few hundred made when this was a brand new model. The pearl-topped D-45 was re-introduced in 1968 as the company's flagship instrument; the D-41 was launched a year later in 1969. It was the next-to-top of the line, a less ornate version of the Style 45 with the pearl-decorated top rim but without the inlay on the back and sides. This allowed Martin to offer a guitar just as flashy from the "money side" for a lot less actual money than the pearl-everywhere D-45.

This is a very beautiful and great sounding guitar, built of the most select materials with a super tight-grained Engelman spruce top bordered in pearl and abalone, as is the soundhole ring. While not made with Brazilian rosewood (missing that by just months) the back, sides and peghead plate feature some extremely tight, finely-grained Indian rosewood of a quality that is highly sought after today. The ebony fingerboard is bound and inlaid with multi-hued abalone blocks and the neck is mahogany with a finely carved volute marking the intersection of the neck and peghead, itself emblazoned with C.F. Martin in large pearl letters surrounded by three-ply binding. The tuners are gold-plated Grover Rotomatics.

This guitar has the fairly unusual addition (for the time) of a slightly oversized tortoise celluloid pickguard added, something more common on instruments from the 1950s and '60s. This guitar has been in the Nashville area for quite a while, and this addition suggests it served in a Bluegrass or similar situation early on. The added guard is made of old-style thin tortoise celluloid, and actually has a more "vintage" look then the black acetate guard the guitar originally came with.

The early-production D-41 is comparatively uncommon; 426 left the factory in 1970, listing at the then eye-popping figure of $850. This was still just over half the price of a D-45! Well over 3500 14-fret D-28's were made that year, as a comparison, and nearly that many D-35s. This generally well preserved guitar from the D-41's first full production year features the finest woods and Martin's best craftsmanship of the era.

This "cowboy" D-41 has until recently been in the studio and stage arsenal of Nashville-based singer/songwriter/guitarist Jack Schneider, used extensively to record his debut album and more recently on tour with Vince Gill. The guitar is pictured on the cover of that release, a copy of which is included with the instrument. A lovely letter from Jack is also included detailing his use of the instrument.
Overall length is 41 in. (104.1 cm.), 15 3/4 in. (40 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 7/8 in. (12.4 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.).

Overall this is a very nice playing and generally well preserved example, allowing for the picturesque pickguard switch. The finish has some light checking overall and a collection of strum marks, scratches and dinks on the top. One spot is worn into the wood off the back edge of the pickguard. The back and sides have scratches and scuffs with some deeper belt buckle scratches into but mostly not through the finish on the lower back. The back of the neck is relatively clean, with some small dinks above the first fret and some wear to the wood in the first position.

The pickguard is obviously an oversize replacement, but with a real vintage look to it more 1950s than '70s. The original, made of black acetate, would most likely have shrunken and curled up long ago. The heel has never had a strap button added. The neck has been cleanly reset and the original ebony bridge looks to have been VERY slightly lowered long ago. There is a 3-point contact pickup under the bridgeplate, wired to an endpin jack.

With a big, sweet sound and round comfortable neck this is a great strumming or even fingerstyle guitar, not losing punch when played lightly as many 70s Dreadnoughts do. It has obviously been well played and loved and with 50 years of aging under its belt has mellowed in nicely making for a great looking, fine playing guitar with a very round and powerful voice, especially for the era it was built in. The D-41 was designed as a showpiece and this one still delivers; while not 100% original it has a lot of vintage character and is about the coolest 1970-era Martin we have had! Overall Very Good + Condition.