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NMM 10697.  Guitar by C. F. Martin & Co., Nazareth, Pennsylvania, 1947,
probably reconstructed by Gower Guitar, Nashville, Tennessee, ca. 1960s,
later Martin neck, early 1970s.  Model D-28.   Serial number 101213.
Ex coll.:  Doyle and Teddy Wilburn.   Board of Trustees, 2004.

NMM 10697.  Guitar by C. F. Martin & Co., Nazareth, Pennsylvania, 1947.

This modified Martin D-28 guitar was owned and used by the Wilburn Brothers, Doyle (b. July 7, 1930) and Teddy (b. November 30, 1931). The brothers from Hardy, Arkansas, began performing together as children in the late 1930s and their country music act was invited by Roy Acuff to perform at the Grand Ole Opry after he heard them in 1940. Throughout their long careers, Doyle and Teddy Wilburn performed with many other country music greats, including Webb Pierce and Loretta Lynn. NMM 10697 was first owned by Doyle Wilburn. Following Doyle’s death in 1982, Teddy adopted this guitar as his primary instrument until his he died in 2003. The guitar has been significantly modified, with a 1960s replacement top and back attributed by George Gruhn to Gower Guitar. The neck is a Martin replacement from the early 1970s. In spite of these changes to the instrument, it was clearly prized by the Wilburn Brothers, and appeared with them regularly in performances. The instrument is preserved with several concert programs from the Grand Ole Opry, manuscript song lyrics, and other ephemera relating to the Wilburn Brothers.

Inscriptions:  Branded on older portion of back graft: [lettering curved downward at each end] C.F.MARTIN & Co [sic] / — ∙ — / NAZARETH, PA.
Gold and black decal on head: [cursive lettering curved downward at each end] CFMartin&Co. [sic] / EST. 1833
Branded on neck block: D-28 / 101213
In raised lettering on each machine head: GROVER
Stamped on each machine head: PAT. PEND. / U.S.A.

C. F. Martin & Co. brand on older portion of back graft

Peghead of Martin D-28 guitar



Front, Side, and Back Views

Front of Martin D-28 guitar Bass side of Martin D-28 guitar Back of Martin D-28 guitar

Body:  Soundboard: later two-piece spruce with medium grain. Back: later two-piece book-matched rosewood with filled knot holes on center bout. Ribs: two-piece Brazilian rosewood. Head: later mahogany veneered with rosewood on front face. Neck: later mahogany.

Bottom of Martin D-28 guitar

Inlay:  Binding: later white plastic surrounded with four strips of alternating white and black plastic purfling. Rosette: later; wide band of white and black striped plastic (13 strips), surrounded on each side with narrower bands of the same material (4 strips each), with natural wood in between. Back stripe: two strips of dark-stained hardwood with light hardwood diamonds with open pores, possibly walnut, surrounded on each side with strips of light hardwood purfling. End graft: white ivoroid strip (slightly wider toward top than bottom) surrounded by thin white and black celluloid purfling (2 strips) on each side.

Trim:  Heel cap: later white plastic finished with same varnish as body. Fingerboard: ebony; 20 nickel-silver frets; single mother-of-pearl dots behind 5th, 9th, 15th, and 17th frets; two mother-of-pearl dots behind 7th and 12th frets; white celluloid side dots behind 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 15th, and 17th frets. Nut: later white plastic. Bridge: later ebony with curved lower edge; white plastic saddle; two mother-of-pearl dots on each side of bridge pins covering screws; white plastic bridge pins. Pegs: six later, chrome-plated steel worm-gear machine tuners by Grover. Endpin: white celluloid with black celluloid eye. Pick guard: later imitation tortoise shell plastic. Varnish: later clear urethane.

Interior:  Linings: later kerfed mahogany. Neck block: mahogany; chamfered corners. End block: mahogany; chamfered corners. Top bracing: spruce X-brace; light hardwood bridge plate. Back graft: spruce; portion with original Martin brand salvaged for replacement back and graft.

Measurements:  Total guitar length:  1035 mm (40-3/4″)
Back length:  502 mm (19-3/4″)
Upper bout width:  297 mm (11-3/4″)
Waist width:  275 mm (10-13/16″)
Lower bout width:  401 mm (15-3/4″)
Rib height (including edging) at heel:  98 mm (3-13/16″)
Rib height, at waist:  111 mm (4-5/16″)
Rib height, at end block:  122 mm (4-13/16″)
Head length:  160 mm (6-1/4″)
Head width, top:  72 mm (2-11/16″)
Head width, bottom:  57 mm (2-1/4″)
Neck length (nut to ribs):  357 mm (13-7/8″)
Neck width, nut:  42 mm (1-5/8″)
Neck width, heel:  54 mm (2-1/8″)
Soundhole diameter:  102 mm (4″)
Vibrating string length (nut to bridge edge):  high E:  640 mm (25-3/16″); low E:  644 mm (25-3/8″)

Accessories: ephemera associated with the Wilburn Brothers as follows:

  1. A fan letter from Wyvonna Fenlaw

  2. Part of the text of Loretta Lynn’s, "You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man," written in blue ballpoint pen on notebook paper with chewing gum folded into bottom

  3. Unidentified song text written in black felt-tip pen on two small note pad sheets, I:  "I Wonder What Would Happen" and II:  "If Someday They Found, the Door to My Mind Had Been Locked"

  4. Chord sheet written in blue ballpoint pen on paper with three-hole punch

  5. Ernest Tubb Record Shops, Nashville, invoice sheet with abbreviated song order on back side in black ballpoint pen and credits on front:  "Drums – Danny Davis / Steel – [Johnny Cox crossed out] Lynn Owsley / Guitar – Pete Mitchell / Piano – Johnny Walker / Guitar – Jack Leonard"

  6. Tubb invoice sheet with song list on back: "Play on Ernest Tubb record for Betty Lou Verch" in pencil and "David McCormick / I Woke Up / Tonight / Not Many / I’ve Found It / There’s the Closet / And the Next Time" in blue ballpoint pen

  7. Tubb invoice sheet with notes in blue ballpoint pen on back: "Do the Jimmie Rodgers song for Gordon Loy in Elom College, N.C. / Do the Ernest Tubb song for Violet Long in Elizabethtown, Ky. / Linda Casteel’s birthday Oct. 10th Nan Borden called to send her love"

  8. Seven copied song text sheets, Sure Fire Music, Nashville, by Larry Alderman, "Are My Arms Hurting You," "Dixie Dan," "Fingers On My Soul," "Half Way Back," "Still Here Falling," "Turning Rainbows Into Rivers," "When All Your Dreams Come True"

  9. "Sunday Mornin’ Country" Program, War Memorial Auditorium, June 15, 1980 (Teddy Wilburn on "Singin’ N’ Sharin’")

  10. Grand Ole Opry program, Friday-Saturday, May 25-26, 1984 (Teddy Wilburn in "Music Valley Drive, Inc.," May 25, 10:00-10:30)

  11. Grand Ole Opry program, Friday-Saturday, December 7-8, 1984

  12. Grand Ole Opry program, Friday-Saturday, December 21-22, 1984 (Teddy Wilburn in "Beechnut," December 21, 9:30-10:00)

  13. Grand Ole Opry program, Friday-Saturday, November 18-19, 1988 (Teddy Wilburn in "Goody’s Headache Powder," November 18, 10:00-10:30)

  14. Grand Ole Opry program, Friday-Saturday, June 21-22, 1991 (Teddy Wilburn in "Standard Candy," June 22, 7:30-8:00 and "Dollar General Store," 9:30-10:00)

  15. Teddy Wilburn makeup call sheet

  16. Grand Ole Opry, August 14, 1982, program lineup folder, including Wilburn Brothers


Literature:  André P. Larson, "NMM Exhibition features Our Martin Guitars to Celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the C. F. Martin Company," National Music Museum Newsletter, 35, No. 2 (May 2008), pp. 4-5 and 7.

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