A Martin D-28 fitted with... what!?

trapdoor2

Senior Stratmaster
Oct 25, 2017
2,065
South Carolina
That's excellent. I like it.
For some reason, I didn't take a pic of the whole thing. The neck was just about perfect, skunk stripe and everything. The pot was from a cheap old kit-banjo...would have been better if it was Alder or Swamp Ash with some Fender styling cues, maybe a black pickguard...
 

Tremoluxer

Strat-O-Master
Gold Supporting Member
Jul 28, 2020
514
Ypsilanti, Michigan
Grip, people, get a grip!. It's quite well known that Merle Travis -- the guy who made Paul Bigsby famous -- asked Paul Bigsby to install an electric neck on his Martin acoustic, because he was so enamored with his Bigsby electrics. Most, if not all, Bigsby necks were made from Birdseye Maple. When other country players saw Merle's modified Martin, they had Bigsby put his necks on their Martins and Gibsons.

Back then the guitars were decades away from being collectible icons, they were just guitars; there wasn't any commandment from on-high that proclaimed they were sacred relics that shouldn't be modified.
 

simoncroft

Still playing. Still learning!
Silver Member
May 30, 2013
19,427
SE England
Now I understand the historical significance of this guitar, I'm far more accepting of it. My initial reaction was that it was someone's Franken-project. Perhaps it was, in a way, but one with one heck of a pedigree. What a shame Paul Bigsby didn't keep on building guitars, because he certainly started out right.
 

Scott Baxendale

Most Honored Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
May 20, 2020
5,562
Sante Fe, NM
I was looking at the Norman's Rare Guitars web site, when I came across this: https://www.normansrareguitars.com/martin-d-28-with-bigsby-headstock.html

As described, it's a Martin D-28 with a Bigsby headstock. Not being inclined to splash almost $3,000, I don't have the heart to place the "WTF?" call to Norman, so I'll probably never know the how or why's of this one.

View attachment 506639
Paul Bigsby did a lot of Martin neck conversions in the early 50’s and a few Nashville country stars played them back then. This is a “reproduction” copy of one of those guitars to be sold new as a marketing gimmick.
 

simoncroft

Still playing. Still learning!
Silver Member
May 30, 2013
19,427
SE England

El Gobernador

fezz parka
Apr 21, 2011
35,659
Nunyo, BZ
@fezz parka did Howard Roberts ever mention to you being given one of three prototype guitars by Paul Bigsby?
People gave Howard lots of stuff. I saw him play three guitars in my time with him. The Black heavily modified ES 150, theTele, and his Epiphone model.

For sessions, he only brought the black Guitar and Tele.

The Fusion model Gibson made didn't follow his specs. So he'd reluctantly play it live to generate sales so he could get the royalty.
 

monte merrick

Most Honored Senior Member
People gave Howard lots of stuff. I saw him play three guitars in my time with him. The Black heavily modified ES 150, theTele, and his Epiphone model.

For sessions, he only brought the black Guitar and Tele.

The Fusion model Gibson made didn't follow his specs. So he'd reluctantly play it live to generate sales so he could get the royalty.
the epiphone howard roberts looks so nice!
 

Elvie

Strat-O-Master
Jan 26, 2014
703
-
Bigsby didn't invent the single row headstock. It was invented by a Viennese instrument maker named Johann Georg Stauffer who also invented the worm geared metal tuning machine. The senior C F Martin was one of Stauffer's apprentices and later his factory manager so unsurprisingly the first Martin branded guitars were almost identical to Stauffer's guitars. Over the years Martin have produced several limited editions that featured the single row headstock.

http://www.vintagemartin.com/stauffer.html
 

StratoMutt

Dr. Stratster
Mar 15, 2019
11,347
SE Pennsylvania
This is indeed a real Martin, as it left the factory. They came out w them a few years ago. I believe in 2017-18, or thereabouts.
Yep. If I'm not mistaken, this is not the first time Martin did one of these. I'd never want one.

You all got this man to thank....

licensed-image

Bigsby didn't invent the single row headstock. It was invented by a Viennese instrument maker named Johann Georg Stauffer who also invented the worm geared metal tuning machine. The senior C F Martin was one of Stauffer's apprentices and later his factory manager so unsurprisingly the first Martin branded guitars were almost identical to Stauffer's guitars. Over the years Martin have produced several limited editions that featured the single row headstock.

http://www.vintagemartin.com/stauffer.html

Paul Bigsby did a lot of Martin neck conversions in the early 50’s and a few Nashville country stars played them back then. This is a “reproduction” copy of one of those guitars to be sold new as a marketing gimmick.

Yes, and it wasn’t Paul Bigsby.
View attachment 507106

Ahyup!
 

JB74

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 22, 2018
4,107
ɹǝpunuʍop
Merle is a bit of an acquired taste these days - I doubt his lyrics would make a hit with the PC crowd or the #metoo types or the #imoffended and karens from facebook.

Which, ironically seems to be the reason to play his stuff. because of the butthurt karens and whingeing social-media klingons with no intestinal fortitude to actually have the conviction of their forebears.
 


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