The Style 45 was also built with a genuine elephant ivory bridge until
This 1919 0-45 has a backstrip design which is not the typical for a
Style 45, though 1919 saw many differences due to the huge growth in
production and problems with meeting the demand.
The torch still appeared on slotted headstock Martins and a few special
order 14 fret guitars.
The torch was not produced by Martin, but was purchased from the Jeorge H.
Jones Co. of New York.
The Style 45 sits at the top of the Martin line, and original pre-war
Style 45's are the most desirable and collectable Martins.
Longworth says of the 45: "This style had it's origin in some
specially inlaid 42 models. The first was 00-42 #9372 which had
special pearl trim
on the sides and back as well as the top. The
fingerboard had a vine on it, and there was a beutiful headstock inlay
to match.... The year was 1902.
Two more 00-42 guitars with sides and
back inlay were made that same year. They were #9410 and #9488."
more prototypes were made in 1903. According to Gruhn Guitars, of
6 prototypes, #9488 "ended up being the closest
became know as the style 45".
Longworth says of the headstock design: "The first headstock veneer
for the style 45
guitars appears on the original prototype from 1902. It had a very
intricate fern pattern.
This inlay is quite rare and is shown only in
the 1904 catalog."
The 00-45 is first catalogued in 1904, but only one 00-45 was made that
year. Three were made in 1905, and none in 1906, with only
ten more being made in the entire decade.
One 1-45 and two 0-45's were made in 1904, and only one 000, and a
grand total of 26 Style 45's of any size were made in the entire decade.
As Walter Carter says, "Available in Sizes 0, 00, and eventually 000,
Style 45 was not a great success at first. Not until the opulent,
carefree 1920's would sales of any Style 45 model top 10 a year."
The pyramid style bridge is made of genuine ivory, as are the nut,
saddle, bridge pins, and end pins, and the binding on the top, back and
sides of the
body, and also the fingerboard. The "German
silver" tuning machines have buttons made of pearl. The
border inlaid on the top, back, and sides of the guitar is in abalone
"Japan pearl". An
additonal connecting link of pearl is inlaid around the end of the
fingerboard, and abalone is also inlaid into the soundhole ring,
as well as the ivory bridge pins, and end pin.
The German wood marquetry on the back of the guitar is of a design which
has become known as the "45 Style" backstripe.
The back and sides are French Polished Brazilian
Rosewood, and the top is most likely of German spruce. The
ebony fingerboard on this protype has the "snowflake" inlays which
have become distinctive to pearl inlayed Martin guitars. These
inlays on frets 5, 7, 9, 12 and 15 would be standard on style 45 for a
decade. In 1914, they remained on the style 42, and were expanded
to three more frets on the style 45. This guitar has a dove
headstock and cedar neck with volute, and scalloped X style braces.
This is believed to be the only prototype to have all of the features
and inlays that would become standard on the early Style 45, and with
minor modification, would become the hallmark of all Style 45 guitars
for many years to come.
The first of the "Style 45" headstock inlays to appear on a Martin
was seen on #9372, the first 00-42S, to have pearl inlaid on the back
and side borders in 1902. This version was known as the "fern". This
was followed by #9488, which had another version of the fern:
On Hank Risan's MOMI website, Mr. Risan mistakenly claims
is the only Style 45 prototype with pearl inlay on the back and sides.
As you can see, this is not true.
In fact, #9488 is the closest of the early "Style 45 prototypes" to what
would become a production Style 45.
This is from Gruhn Guitars,
Robert, Here are some more shots of the 00-45 known as
00-42 Special order. This was a 45 style pro-type. Martin messed around
with 6 different prototypes and this ended up being the closest to what
became know as the style 45. Let me know if you need more photos.
As you can see from photos of Mr Risan's guitar in the first edition of
Longworth, it was found with a non original belly bridge.
Apparently a new reproduction ivory bridge has been made for the
The fingerboard and pickguard inlays on #9372 are actually similar to
the inlays that were standard on the higher grade Martin mandolins of
Martin has made a reissue of the early Style 45
New Martin Guitars Limited Edition Reissue
Limited Editions: 00-45S 1902
Home > Guitars > Choosing Your Martin >
Inactive Model > 00-45S 1902
List Price $8999.00
MODEL 00-45S 1902
CONSTRUCTION: Mahogany Blocks/Dovetail Neck Joint
BODY SIZE: 00-12 Fret
TOP: Solid Adirondack Spruce
ROSETTE: Style 45- Maple/Black Fiber Inlays
TOP BRACING PATTERN: Standard
TOP BRACES: Solid Adirondack Spruce 1/4''
BACK MATERIAL: Solid Brazilian Rosewood
BACK PURFLING: Style 45 Golden Era
SIDE MATERIAL: Solid Brazilian Rosewood
ENDPIECE: Grained Ivoroid
ENDPIECE INLAY: Select Abalone with Black/Maple Fiber
BINDING: Grained Ivoroid
TOP INLAY STYLE: Style 42 with Black/Maple/Black Fiber
SIDE INLAY: Abalone Pearl with Black/Maple/Black Fiber
BACK INLAY: Abalone Pearl with Black/Maple Fiber
NECK MATERIAL: Select Hardwood
NECK SHAPE: Modified V
NUT MATERIAL: Fossilized Ivory
HEADSTOCK: Slotted/Square Slots/Long Diamond/Square
HEADPLATE: Solid Brazilian Rosewood /Flower Pot-
Abalone Pearl Inlay
HEELCAP: Grained Ivoroid
FINGERBOARD MATERIAL: Solid Black Ebony
SCALE LENGTH: 24.9''
# OF FRETS CLEAR: 12
# OF FRETS TOTAL: 19
FINGERBOARD WIDTH AT NUT: 1-7/8''
FINGERBOARD WIDTH AT 12TH FRET: 2-5/16''
FINGERBOARD POSITION INLAYS: Tree Of Life- Select
FINGERBOARD BINDING: Grained Ivoroid
FINISH BACK & SIDES: Polished Gloss
FINISH TOP: Polished Gloss w/ Vintage Toner
FINISH NECK: Polished Gloss
BRIDGE MATERIAL: White Micarta
BRIDGE STYLE: Pyramid w/ Drop-in Saddle
BRIDGE STRING SPACING: 2-5/16''
SADDLE: 16'' Radius/Fossilized Ivory
TUNING MACHINES: Waverly/Sloane w/ Small Ivoroid Knobs
RECOMMENDED STRINGS: Martin MSP 4100 Light Phosphor
BRIDGE & END PINS: Fossilized Ivory w/ Black Pearl
PICKGUARD: Tortoise Color inlaid into Top w/Abalone
CASE: 900 Hard Shell Coffin Case
INTERIOR LABEL: Signed by CFM IV, Numbered In Sequence
with Total (60)
OTHER OPTIONS: Available left-handed at no additional
OTHER COMMENTS: All prices & specifications are
subject to change without notice.
Article about #9488 from Vintage Guitar
1902 Martin 00-42 Special, preview of Style 45
Photo by Kelsey Vaughn, courtesy Gruhn Guitars
By George Gruhn and Walter Carter
It has all the appointments of a Martin 00-45, particularly the abalone
pearl trim around all the borders of the body, but this guitar is
entered into Martin’s books as a special-order 00-42. The reason
is simple: Martin did not yet have an official Style 45 when this
guitar was made in 1902.
Abalone pearl trim was nothing new on a Martin in 1902, at least around
the top border. Style 42 had been standardized by the late 1850s, and
its abalone pearl went all the way around the fingerboard extension.
The soundhole, too, featured an abalone ring (as did all of the
30-something styles, as well as Style 27). An ivory bridge with pyramid
ends added a touch of elegance.
Beyond the top of the guitar, however, Style 42 was pretty plain. There
was a strip of wood marquetry down the center of the back. Fingerboard
inlays – initially, just three snowflakes – were a
relatively recent addition, introduced in the 1890s, and the headstock
was unadorned except for the Martin brand-stamp on the back
In 1902, Martin made what went down in the books as a 00-42 Special but
that term hardly describes the “presentation” level of
ornamentation. The fingerboard and peghead featured an intricate
floral- or vine-pattern inlay. The guitar also had a pickguard –
which no Martin guitars of that period had – in the style of
bent-top, bowlback mandolins, with a symmetrical shape, situated under
the strings. It, too, was heavily inlaid with the floral pattern. For
good measure, an abalone border was added to the sides and back.
This “pearled-out” 00-sized guitar, serial number 9372, was
far too ornate to be a standard Martin catalog model, but it did start
people thinking about taking Style 42 to the next level. Only 38 serial
numbers later (which would be the same day today but probably two
months later in 1902, a year in which Martin made only 218 guitars),
Martin made another 00-42 Special (#9410), with the side and back
trim but without the fancy fingerboard and pickguard inlay, and 78
guitars farther down the line, Martin made yet another – this
month’s feature (#9488).
Why not the larger 000 body size for these ultra-deluxe models? Again,
the answer is simple. It didn’t exist yet, at least not in
Martin’s standard line. The 000 was still experimental in
1902, with only five 000 examples – all designated as specials
– made in that year.
Martin made more of these Style 42-plus guitars with abalone-bordered
rims and back in 1903 and then in 1904 standardized the style, giving
it the number 45 and offering it in the catalog. Only four guitars were
logged into the books as Style 45s in that first official year of
production, but they covered the most of the body sizes with a 1-45,
two 0-45s and a 00-45. For the record, the first official Style 45 was
one of the 0-45s. The first 000-45 wasn’t made until in
The step up from Style 42 to the abalone body borders and abalone
peghead inlay of Style 45 cost the buyer $30. On a 1-45 that
represented, coincidentally, a 42 percent increase from $70 to $100.
The price went up $5 as the body sizes increased; the 0-42 was $75 and
the 00-42 was $80, but the upcharge for a Style 45 was still $30, so
the 0-45 was $105 and the 00-45 was $110.
This 1902 guitar features the first version of the Style 45 peghead
inlay, which is sometimes referred to as the “fern”
pattern. Martin pictured a Style 45 guitar with this inlay in the 1904
catalog and the same photo appeared as late as the 1909 catalog, but
Martin had actually begun using a simpler pattern, known today as the
“torch,” by 1905, and that version lasted until about 1927.
A slightly simplified torch took over but only until the early 1930s.
By that time Martin was switching to a 14-fret neck with a solid
peghead that allowed more room for a logo and/or ornamentation than the
slotted pegheads, and on Style 45 guitars (even those that retained the
slotted peghead) the delicate torch was replaced with the bold,
all-caps, vertically oriented CF MARTIN inlay.
Style 45 got off to a slow start. It was 1919 before production of any
one model hit double digits, but Style 42 models weren’t selling
much better until the 1920s. In fact, it’s difficult to assess
whether guitarists preferred one style over the other because the
preferences vary from one body size to the next.
The small Size 1 was becoming passť by the time Style 45
appeared, and Martin made only six 1-45s from 1904 to 1919, when the
company stopped offering all the pearly styles in Size 1. In the
0-size, Style 42 outsold Style 45 through the 1920s; then both the 0-42
and 0-45 virtually disappeared in the 1930s. In the 00-size, Style 42
was more popular than Style 45, and it remained strong in the 1930s
while production of 00-45s dropped to a total of 3 for the decade. In
the 000-size, however, Martin didn’t put a 000-42 on the price
list until 1918, so the fancier Style 45 dominated by default.
The initial designation – Style 42 special – understated
just how special Style 45 Martins would become. In the pre-World War II
years, it was only surpassed briefly by the OM-45 Deluxe (produced only
in 1930), which featured additional inlays in the pickguard and bridge.
In today’s vintage market, Style 45s follow the same pattern as
they did in their original listings. The larger the body, the greater
the value. The largest of the prewar models – the D-45 –
is, of course, the Holy Grail of vintage Martins.
Although Martin has offered models in recent years with higher model
numbers than Style 45, along with many limited-edition, commemorative
or artist models with fancier appointments, Style 45 remains today as
it was when this “pre-45” guitar helped to get the Style 45
ball rolling in 1904 – simply Martin’s top style.
I believe there are two inaccuracies in this article.
"Only 38 serial numbers later (which would be the same day today but
probably two months later in 1902, a year in which Martin made only 218
guitars), Martin made another 00-42 Special (#9410), with the side and
back trim but without the fancy fingerboard and pickguard inlay,
78 guitars farther down the line, Martin made yet another – this
month’s feature (#9488)."
#9410, now in California, has the same presentation features as #9372.
#9488 is in fact the first 00-45 prototype with "standard" Style
45 features, and not designed as a presentation model.
"This 1902 guitar features the first version of the Style 45 peghead
inlay, which is sometimes referred to as the “fern” pattern."
#9488 has the first version inlay in the sense that it is a fern as
opposed to the later torch.
However, it is a second and quite different fern.
The inlays on #9372 have been copied on the reissue guitar.
However, the inlays on 9488 have been reproduce in recent years on
numerous special edition guitars, and has become known as the Martin
Fern pattern on #9372:
Style 45 Prototype inlays
You will also notice that the inlays on #9488 are slightly different
than the inlays that would become standard on a style 45 when inlays
were added to additional frets. Also, the originla inlays were
produced from white pearl, while later fingerboard inlays were produced
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