NMM 4183. Guitar by C. F. Martin & Co., Nazareth, Pennsylvania, 1940.
Model O-15. Serial number 75362. Gift of Clay H. Johnson, O'Neill, Nebraska, 1987.
The O-15 Concert Orchestra Model was Martinís lowest-priced guitar, when it was introduced in 1940. Instead of the more traditional Martin materials of spruce for the soundboard and rosewood for the back and ribs, the O-15 was constructed entirely of mahogany with minimal trim. At $25.00 in 1941, the O-15 was more accessible in price than the O-18, which cost $40.00. However, as Martin noted in their 1941 catalog, "All Martin instruments show the same fine workmanship, without regard to price, and carry the same unlimited guarantee."
Inscriptions: Branded on back graft: [lettering curved downward at each end] C.F.MARTIN & Co / — ∙ — / NAZARETH, PA.
Gold and black decal on head: [cursive lettering curved downward at each end] CFMartin&Co. [sic] / EST. 1833
Branded on neck block: 0 — 15 / 75362
Typed on later paper label with cut corners: C. F. Martin - established 1833 / Model 015 / Serial # 75362 / This Guitar was made in 1940
Body: Soundboard: two-piece mahogany. Back: two-piece mahogany. Ribs: two-piece mahogany. Head: mahogany veneered with black-stained hardwood. Neck: mahogany.
Inlay: Binding: later white ivoroid on back; later white ivoroid on top with light and dark hardwood herringbone trim divided by light hardwood purfling strip, surrounded on each side by dark hardwood purfling strip, single white and black strips of celluloid purfling between hardwood trim and ivoroid binding. Rosette: five strips of black and white celluloid purfling (black on outside). Back stripe: none. End graft: none.
Trim: Heel cap: later mahogany. Fingerboard: ebony; 19 nickel-silver frets; later hexagonal abalone fretboard inlays, increasingly elongated shapes higher on the fretboard, behind 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 12th frets; small, white celluloid side dots behind 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 15th, and 17th frets. Nut: later ebony. Bridge: rosewood; angled, white celluloid saddle; white plastic bridge pins, probably later. Pegs: two sets of chrome-plated steel worm-gear machine tuners with white celluloid heads. Endpin: white celluloid. Varnish: dark red-brown; later over-varnish. Strap button: later chrome-plated steel with Philips head screw on treble side of neck heel.
Interior: Linings: kerfed mahogany. Neck block: mahogany; chamfered corners. End block: mahogany; chamfered corners; maple graft at center, perpendicular to top and back. Top bracing: spruce X-brace, the joint of main cross brace reinforced with black canvas; scalloped transverse braces and finger braces in lower bouts; maple bridge plate. Back braces: spruce back graft; four spruce back braces, the two braces in the lower bouts with rounded edges, and wider and lower in height than the two braces in the upper bout. Back graft: spruce.
Measurements: Total guitar length: 978 mm (38-1/2″)
Back length: 464 mm (18-1/4″)
Upper bout width: 254 mm (10″)
Waist width: 206 mm (8-1/8″)
Lower bout width: 345 mm (13-9/16″)
Rib height (including edging) at heel: 87 mm (3-7/16″)
Rib height, at waist: 98 mm (3-7/8″)
Rib height, at end block: 106 mm (4-3/16″)
Head length: 160 mm (6-5/16″)
Head width, top: 72 mm (2-11/16″)
Head width, bottom: 54 mm (2-1/8″)
Neck length (nut to ribs): 350 mm (13-25/32″)
Neck width, nut: 42 mm (1-5/8″)
Neck width, heel: 55 mm (2-5/32″)
Soundhole diameter: 92 mm (3-5/8″)
Vibrating string length (nut to bridge edge): high E: 631 mm (24-27/32″); low E: 633 mm (25-29/32″)
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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