C.F. Martin Foden Special Guitars

  The Foden Specials were custom made for the students of guitar teacher William Foden of Englewood, New Jersey from 1911 to 1917. 

Martin designed the Foden Special in Styles A, B, C, D, and E, although none of the Style A were sold or produced.

Martin produced more of the higher grade styles, with 9 each of the D and E, plus one 7 string Style D, 5 Style B, and only 3 Style C produced.

All of the Foden Special models were available in both Concert or single 0, and Grand Concert or double 00 sizes.

Like all guitars designed by Martin in the early teens, the Foden Special was intended to be strung with gut strings.

Foden Special guitars had no serial numbers, so they were not included in the Martin Shop Order books or logs, which were organized by serial number, but were dated and initialed in pencil on the underneath of the tops.

C.F. Martin Foden Special Concert Size Style E

March 14, 1913

The Foden Special Model E contained elements of the Martin Style 40, 42, and 45, with pearl borders on the front and back, but no pearl surrounding the fingerboard extension.  Like the Martin Style 45, the Style E was requested to be made of the finest materials available.

Beautiful original like-new condition 0 Size Martin combining elements of Style 40, 42, and 45 guitars, made for the teacher William Foden, and sold as the Foden Special Style E.  

One of 9 produced and sold in this style.

C.F. Martin Foden Special Grand Concert Size Style D

January 20, 1914

Size 00 Martin with elements of the Martin Style 30 guitar, made for the teacher William Foden. 

One of 9 produced and sold in this style.

The Foden Special Models B, C, and D featured variations of the single ring rosette also seen on instruments made specifically for the Ditson and Southern California Music Companies, and other "contract" guitars.

The Foden Special Models D and E were built "ivory to the nut", referring to the genuine ivory binding on the edges of the fingerboards.

C.F. Martin Foden Special Concert Size Style C

  March 31, 1913

Size 0 Martin with elements of the Martin Style 28 guitars, made for the teacher William Foden.

One of 3 produced and sold in this style.

The Style B was produced with elements of Martin Style 21 guitars, with a single ring version of the Style 21 herringbone rosette.

The Styles C, D, and E were all bound with genuine ivory.

Mr. Foden was said to have been the first to suggest to Martin the idea of replacing the 19 fret fingerboard with a 20 fret board.

However, my 1902 "Style 45 Prototype" also has a 20 fret fingerboard, as do a couple of other 00 Martins I've seen from 1902.

1902 Martin 00-42S "Style 45 Prototype"

The fingerboards on the Foden Spacial Models C and D contained variations of the "propeller" inlays also seen on the Southern California Music Company Model 1500 and recently revived for custom Martin Koa models.

Foden Special Style D

Foden Special Style C

Southern California Music Company "Rolando" 1500



Foden Special Style E

This Foden E features Waverly tuners with beautiful inlaid decorative "Handel" buttons.

Foden Special Style D

Foden Special Style E

The finish of the Foden E is beautifully shaded on both the headstock and heel ends of the cedar neck.


This Foden E, as well as the Foden C, also from March, 1913, has a Martin stamp on the rear of the headstock.  The January, 1914 Model D has no stamp on the back of the headstock.






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