Friday, March 13, 2009

A place to list and help identify the first 91 D-45's


This list has been created to help increase the knowledge base regarding the famous Martin D-45 guitars. It will list each serial number, any known information and, with the person's approval, the current owner. Any photographs that can be provided will be gratefully accepted and published with approval of the owner. Thanks in advance for your help. We hope you enjoy the site. For more information or to fill in details on a D-45 you know of, anonymously if you wish, please contact either 

Robert Hamilton at
Bruce Herrmann at

1. #53177 1933 Gene Autry, 1st D-45, slot headstock with torch inlaycurrently in the Autry National Center in Los Angeles,;dtype=d;startat=22

2. #56394 1934 Made for Jackie "Kid" Moore, this was also a 12 fretguitar with the owners name inlaid in the fingerboard. It featured a solid headstock with "C.F.Martin" inlay. Fingerboard was changed at some time in the past but has since been restored to exact original specifications. With this exception, the guitar is in excellent original condition. It is part of the MOMI collection and can be seen here:

3. #63715 1936 D-45S
Special Wide Body 16 1/4 Inches
Currently on loan to the Martin Guitar Museum
Foreman's notes include "F-9 back".
Museum photo 1
Museum photo 2
Museum photo 3

4. #64890 1936 D-45S
Special Wide Body 16 1/4 Inches 

5.#65265 1937
2 Pickguards

6.#67460 1937 D-45S
12 Fret , Solid Peghead
Made for Harold Wagler,
had HAW inlay in fingerboard in small letters in the 23 and 24th fret position.

7.#70592 1938

8.#70593 1938

9.#70594 1938

10. #71039 1938
Guitar was purchased from Red Smiley's widow in 1974.  First photo shown is one I took while considering purchasing the guitar in 1974, poor photo.  Other photos are from Mr. Akihiko Jimbo who at last report owns the guitar.  It's on display
in his hotel.

11. #71030 1938 Refinished, many cracks. Ex- David Bromberg
Photos on right were taken while the guitar was in my posession in Takoma Park, Md.

12. # 71041 1938

13. #71663 1938
Sunburst, ex-Teeter guitar, now part of the MOMI collection. Some restoration, in very good
condition, features F-9 fingerboard, tortise peghead inlay, engraved tuners

14. #71664 1938

15. #71665 1938
All original except frets and saddle, in OHSC.  Possibly the last snowflake D-45

16. #72160 1939

17. #72161 1939

18. #72162 1939

19. #72460 1939 D-45S
Special neck

20. #72740 1939

First guitar to be listed in foreman's notes as a "narrow neck" guitar, change from 1 3/4" at nut to 1 11/16"

21. #72741 1939 Stephen Stills "Mother Maybelle"

22. #72742 1939

23. #73126 1939

24. #73127 1939

25. #73128 1939 Ex Johnny Smith, refinished top, oversprayed back
and sides, replaced bridgplate

"Still occasionally performing and teaching, Johnny Smith (b. 1922), was a much celebrated east coast jazz guitarist in the late 1940s and 1950s. Best known for his recording of "Moonlight in Vermont", he lead many recording sessions and was on staff at NBC. In 1958 Mr. Smith's wife died, leaving Johnny the sole caretaker for their 4 year old daughter. Johnny Smith decided to leave New York City at that time and bought a music store in Colorado Springs, CO to teach and give clinics as well as to provide a music hub for his community. In 1962 Smith shipped the 1939 D-45 to Berkeley's Jon Lundberg for a neck reset, new bridge plate, and a top refinish. It was there that the current owner first saw and played his future guitar. He's was knocked out by the responsiveness, tone, and volume. The D-45 went back to Johnny Smith's shop and it was sold to a man in Omaha, NE, Rod Ross. On a visit to an Omaha guitar repair shop in July of 1967, the current owner was trying out his 1957 D-28 with it's new G string tuner, when Rod Ross happened into the store. The two got to talking about their mutual love of Martin guitars, they ended up striking a deal, and the current owner has played and loved the guitar ever since. A six page account of their meeting will be included in the guitar case along with the receipt.
   "One of the first 25 of the original 91 Martin D-45s, this guitar was complete in August or September of 1939. The standard specifications include: Highest grade Brazilian Rosewood back and sides, Highest grade European or Adirondack Spruce top (the debate about which species Martin used has raged for decades), Gold Grover tuners with a stamped cover to protect the open gear, Bound black headstock overlay with "C F Martin" inlay, 1 11/16" nut width, Bound ebony fingerboard with hexagonal abalone inlays, White binding and heelcap, Abalone trim on all body edges, around the end of the fingerboard, and inthe soundhole rosette, Ebony bridge with white pins and dark abalone inlay, Beautifully cut 45 outline pickguard in dark turtle-oid, and multicolored backstrip"
   "TOP: There are no cracks, even the usual pickguard crack, or major wear in the top. It's almost a mystery why the top was refinished in 1962. I can only assume that there was some finish disruption at the time of the neck reset. The bridge has been reglued, disrupting the finish around it's perimeter. An oversize Maple bridge plate was installed at the time of the neck reset. Some might want to pull out the exisitng bridge plate and replace it with a smaller one, but the guitar sounds great as it is.
   "BODY: Three back braces have been reglued. The back body binding had shrunk, with an inserted 1/16" patch of binding material inserted at the neck heel. Two small back cracks on the treble side near the tail have been reglued and cleated. I don't know if the endpin is original or a replacement."
   "NECK: There is no wear or damge to the neck. The first hexagon inlay in the fingerbaord has a small lighter repair abalone inserted piece. The third hexagon inlay was replaced and the original is in a small plastic box in the case pocket. The lower frets are pretty worn from play and a refret would help. My strongest suggestion would be to do a complete neck reset and refret."
   "Overall, the guitar is in quite good condition. All of the pearl is intact, has not shifted position, and fits well. The original Lifton case is very clean, showing only remnanats of steamer trunk labels on the top and back. The handle is a replacement. As one of the first 25 of the olriginal 91 D-45s, this guitar is in good shape and has a great musical response and tone. The connection to Johnny Smith and his music store is intersting. I used to call Johnny Smith at his store when he was one of my accounts at Saga Musical Instruments in 1986-88. At age 86, Mr. Smith has retired now and his number is unlisted. I would like very much to speak with him again and talk with him about this guitar."

 26. #73129 1939

27. #73130 1939

28. #73131 1939

29. #74011 1939 D-45S

30. #74161 1940

31. #74162 1940

32. #74163 1940

33. #74164 1940

34. #74165 1940

35. #74166 1940

36. #75100 1940

37. #75101 1940 Refinished by Martin in 1989, photo from Gruhn Guitars website

had been previously offered for sale there

38. #75102 1940

39. #75103 1940

40. #75104 1940

41. #75105 1940

42. #75289 1940 D-45L

43. #75593 1940

44. #75594 1940

45. #75595 1940

"Old Red"
       Ex - Grant Boatwright
       Jonathan Kellerman

46. #75596 1940

47. #75597 1940

48. #75598 1940

49. #77061 1941

50. #77061 1941

51. #77061 1941

52. #77063 1941

53. #77064 1941
Guitar is featured in The History of the American Guitar by Tony Bacon UK edition

54. #77065 1941 Original finish, replaced tuners, replaced bridge, new bridge plate, last sold by Elderly Instruments

55. #78629 1941

56. #78630 1941

57. #78631 1941 Refinished, sold at Christies, 10/08, replaced bridge, maple added around bridgeplate, new fingerboard binding, new inlay at first position, at Christie's again in April of 2009.

58. #78632 1941

59. #78633 1941

60. #78634 1941

61. #78879 1941 1941 Refinished, cracks, offered on eBay 2 times

62. #78880 1941

63. #78881 1941

64. #78882 1941

65. #78883 1941

66. #78884 1941

67. #79583 1941

68. #79584 1941
Located, photos to be posted soon.  All original guitar.

69. #79585 1941

70. #79586 1941

71. #79587 1941
Instrument in same family since 1965. All original except for factory neck reset, bridge and refinish back of neck.  All photos courtesy of Berununzio Uptown  Instruments.

72. #79588 1941

73. #80740 1942

74. #80741 1942

75. #80742 1942

76. #80743 1942

Stephen Stills      “Darling”

77. #80744 1942

78. #80745 1942

79. #81242 1942 D-45S

80. #81578 1942 Oversprayed, oversized bridge C.F.Martin, ex Scott Coney, Smiley Maxedon's original guitar, has repaired pickguard cracks, finish touch-up, work done professionally

81. #81579 1942

82. #81580 1942

83. #81581 1942

84. #81582 1942

85. #81583 1942
All original condition with exception of Martin- placed larger pickguard
in the 1950's. Formerly owned by Alice Gerrard. Owned by Wayne Henderson.  Pictured here being played by Helen White.  Thanks to Wayne for providing the information.

86. #82567 1942

87. #82568 1942 Original finish, replaced tuners, neck reset, 2nd owner, purchased
from son of original owner.

88. #82569 1942

89. #82570 1942

90. #82571 1942 Original J.L.Rea

"The Judge"

R. Hamilton

The Oregon Trailblazers

91. #82572 1942