The Shape of Things to Come

 C.F. Martin Guitar Shapes

These are various shapes in which the Style 28 was produced.


12 Fret 1-28, 0-28, 00-28, and 000-28, 14 fret OM-28, and Dreadnaught D-28

Until 1929, Martin guitars had necks with 12 frets clear of the body.  

In 1929, the Carl Fischer stores special ordered a tenor guitar called the Carl Fischer Model with a shortened upper bout to allow greater access to 14 frets clear of the body.  

Later in 1929, Perry Bechtel of the Cable Piano Company requested a fourteen fret clear six string guitar, and the Orchestra Model was born.  The OM-28 was soon followed by the OM-18 and the OM-18P Plectrum Guitar appeared in 1930.  In 1931 Martin added a handful of plectrum guitars in the C-1 and C-2 round hole archtop styles.  By the end of 1931, Martin had built it's last Plectrum Guitar.

By 1930, the Carl Fisher Model had become the standard 0-18T.  By 1934, what was formerly known as the OM-18 and OM-28 had become the standard Martin 000-18 and 000-28.

Here you can see the difference in shape between Martin's 12 fret and 14 fret bodies:


The 12 Fret 1928 000-28 and early 1930 OM-28

Martin OM-28, OM-18P and OM-18T

These are the special shapes in which Martin produced guitars for the Oliver Ditson Company.

Size 1, size 11, and size 111

The 14 fret Style 18

Martin 0-18. 00-18, 000-18, and D-18, all from 1945.

Early Martins Shapes

Early Martins, from a Martin Stauffer and Hudson Street Martin to various assorted parlor size guitars, roughly equivalent to but from before the standardization of the size 2, 2 1/2 and 3, to a size 1 with alternative X bracing, with an early 14 fret Orchestra Model on the far left for comparison.  In context, the size 1 is a surprisingly large guitar, as with the 000 above, making up for in length a good part of what it lacks in width compared to a modern 14 fret guitar.

To See Robert Corwin's Classic Photography of Folk and Roots Musicians, visit:
For Information on Photography for
Exhibition, Publication, CD's, Promotion, Web Pages, Tour Books,
to Purchase Photographic Prints, or

If You Have Questions About An Early Martin Guitar:
e-mail: Robert Corwin
entire site copyright ©1998 through 2010 Robert Corwin/Photo-Arts. All rights reserved.