Roadhouse USA location:
Vintage late 1850’s-1860’s CF Martin New York 3 17 Parlor Guitar.Pre-1967 due to the CF Martin New York stamps that are present in three places on the guitar. Brazilian rosewood back and sides in original coffin case. This guitar was handed down to each family member from the original owner over the last 150+ years. It is an amazing piece for its age, in amazing condition for its age.
The guitar appears to be all original, other than a couple of bridge pins that have been replaced and has never had any repairs. (It looks like the bridge may have been reset at one point) The neck is in great shape and the guitar actually still PLAYS.
Condition is remarkable with no cracks in the top and a couple of slight cracks in the back that are pictured. As you can see, the Brazilian rosewood is breathtaking. Notice the CF Martin New York stamp in the sound hole is quite visible and you can still make out the stamp on the back of the guitar where the neck heel meets the body.
There is also some provenance in the case that was written by one of the family members detailing some of his time owning and playing the guitar, which is quite remarkable in and of itself. The coffin case is missing one latch, but has the original handle and other latch.
Overall, this is a fantastic piece from a bygone era in the type of original condition and is rarely found anymore for a guitar this old.
Please feel free to message me with any questions/offers.
The late 1800s were an exciting and crucial time for the guitar’s place in history. The 1800s introduced the X bracing pattern. This is a fundamental design that is still used by all the fine luthiers we represent. The Martin company had just lost it’s founder, C.F Martin Sr., and it was time for his son to take the reins. It was somewhere in this historic period the 3-18 was built. We are thrilled to have such a remarkable piece of history. Even in spite of the unbelievable amount of homework that was required to find it’s place in history.
Prior to the late 1880s, most Martin styles were offered only in one size. As demand for larger guitars increased, styles previously listed only in size 2 or size 1 began to appear in larger sizes. This 3-17 would be considered a parlor size by today’s standards, but it was the norm at the time. The size and nylon strings in use lends itself beautifully to the emerging guitar fingerstyle of the era – a style that is making a revival today.
It is constructed with Brazilian rosewood back and sides and a spruce top; the typical woods for guitars of the era. The neck is remarkably straight, with lower action all the way down the fingerboard. While bracing patterns were going through radical changes, this model featured fan-pattern bracing much like classical builders today use. The body is bound with rosewood binding, with no binding on back.