2007 Martin 000-28 Perry Bechtel Special #1
Since the mid-1970s, when the first book on Martin guitars was published, we’ve all felt we knew the story of Martin’s transition from their old 12-fret, slotted-headstock guitar models to the modern steel-string Martins of the last 60 or so years. A quick summary of that transition is that in 1929 banjo hotshot Perry Bechtel asked Martin for a guitar with a longer neck with more frets clear of the body and the first OM model was the result. The OM had a solid headstock with a more narrow 14-fret neck, and a pickguard, and within five years almost all of Martin’s other models, including the Dreadnought, got an OM-makeover.
But such a tidy history rarely holds up to closer scrutiny, and in 2006 Gryphon pal John Woodland discovered that Martin’s first 14-fret guitar model had a far more complex origin, and was a unique custom-order. While pouring through dusty file boxes in the attic of Martin’s old North Street factory researching another topic, Woodland found a treasure trove of correspondence between C.F. Martin III and Perry Bechtel, plus letters from Perry’s employer at the time, music industry powerhouse Cable Piano Co. of Atlanta. This chain of correspondence revealed that Perry and his wife visited the Martin factory, and the guitar he ordered was quite different from the more standard OM models that followed. The slotted headstock with iconic torch inlay was the most obvious, but Perry wanted the rest of the neck more like his Gibson archtop, with a steeper fretboard radius. The 000-28 Perry Bechtel Specials that Gryphon ordered from Martin’s Custom Shop are based on that correspondence, and the wide neck with 12″ radius is unlike any Martin made before the summer of 1929, or since (Martin’s standard radius is 16 inches).
Read more at www.bechtel.com »
The example we’re now offering for sale was the first of the Ltd. Edition of 29 and recently came back to us to be sold. It’s technically used but unplayed… we’re hoping its next owner will put it to use. More details »