1870’s Martin 2-21 Guitar

1870’s Martin 2-21 Guitar

In this period (any Martin guitar made before 1898) there were of course no serial numbers on Martins, and no one signed the instruments inside with a date as they often did in the later 1880’s. But it has all the hallmarks of 1870s to mid-1880’s – and most likely earlier in that period, about 1870, judging by the endstrip material.

It has the original friction tuners – with the exception of the Low E string tuner that was missing and so has been replaced (probably a hundred years ago) with a tuning peg to match the originals.

The size 2 is a great size, it’s a larger guitar than the more common size 2 ½ from this era.

Amazing tone from this guitar. See and hear this guitar being played:


All careful work has been done on this guitar, and it won’t need anything else – it’s a great guitar for the player who wants the best Martin tone and playability – a tonal gem from the 19th century Martin factory in Nazareth.

• Spruce top over Brazilian Rosewood back and sides.

• Spanish heel (not the ice cream cone heel of the less expensive Martins)

• Peg head, with original tuners (with one replacement– the high E string peg)

• Light overspray on top done ages ago, so it’s not very noticeable.

A bit more overspray on back and sides, done decades and decades ago.

• Fan braced – as are most of the best sounding Martins from this era.

• Original thin maple bridge plate

• Original ebony fretboard; Original bar frets with some wear but they’re still pretty high.

• Soft V neck

• Scale length: 24.5 inches

• Width at lower bout: 12 inches

• Nut width: 1 13/16 inch

Multiple cracks on top, all repaired (see photos); multiple cracks on back, all repaired.

Heel has a tiny crack – but it looks like there was never any separation, more of surface crack (see photos)

Two areas by top edge of bridge, either end, where wood was splintered a bit, now repaired and stable. (See photos)

This guitar has seen multiple crack repairs, but it’s structurally sound now, and needs no work going forward. It’s priced low to reflect the work done. It has marvelous sound and projection, and plays with great low action and great intonation all up and down the fretboard. Strung with Savarez Alliance strings.

It would be a great addition to a player wanting a superb example of the best Martin sound from the 19th century – at an affordable cost that’s impossible to find in today’s market.

Ships in a modern hard shell case.

Price: $4,850. – plus shipping