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Thread: Help identifying old Martin mandolin

  1. #1

    Default Help identifying old Martin mandolin

    Purchased at a music store in North Carolina around 1990. Has Martin label on inside and Martin stamp on head stock. Was told it was from the 1920s. What style is it? Any idea what it is worth? Thank you in advance.

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  2. #2
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help identifying old Martin mandolin

    Looks like a Martin B style mandolin from the era: Spruce top and rosewood back.

    A great combination of woods.

    Very desirable mandolin in good condition. Unfortunately the top on this has some severe cracks in need of serious repair.

    Certainly be worth $1000-1500...or more..... in prime condition.

    I couldn't venture a value in the given condition.

    Mick
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help identifying old Martin mandolin

    The case is not original to the instrument and it's missing the tailpiece cover unless you have that sitting around. That top needs attention as Mick has stated.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help identifying old Martin mandolin

    By coincindence, here is a Martin B for sale on Ebay for $1450. Sort of in the price range I was amateurishly estimating.

    I think that is a lot of mandolin for the money.

    Rosewood back and spruce top.

    Mick

    Oooh. Just noticed a small top crack on this one as well.....and I was getting a little itchy to buy.
    I had one of these years ago and am still trying to remember why I sold it.
    Ever tried, ever failed? No matter. Try again, fail again. Fail better.--Samuel Beckett
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    Default Re: Help identifying old Martin mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post

    Oooh. Just noticed a small top crack on this one as well.....and I was getting a little itchy to buy
    I wouldn’t call it a “small top crack”. If you look at, and enlarge, the fuller picture of the top, you’ll see that it goes all the way from the soundhole to the tailpiece.

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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help identifying old Martin mandolin

    Look through the soundhole, up towards the neck. Should be a serial number stamped into the backstrip. That'll give you an exact date of manufacture.
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  8. #7

    Default Re: Help identifying old Martin mandolin

    Thanks everyone! Can the cracks on the top of mine be repaired? I am not a pro but I enjoy playing it. It sounds great to me. I am interested in getting it fixed up. I wonder if I should trust my local independent music store with it. I am in Starkville MS, so New Orleans, Atlanta, Nashville are all half-day drives for me.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help identifying old Martin mandolin

    You need to take it to somebody that knows the instruments, you're local music store most likely has seen this one. Send a Private Message to Cafe member rcc56. Bob has seen these.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  10. #9
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: Help identifying old Martin mandolin

    After looking at the pictures, my opinion is that the top cracks can be fixed. The repair would be visible.
    I also see one back crack, and signs that the neck might be loose. One of the fingerboard inlays is missing, also the last fret, and it appears that the back binding is missing. The braces should be checked to make sure that none are loose.

    All of these things can be repaired. Bear in mind that the instrument needs quite a bit of work.

    This mandolin was made sometime between 1920 and 1935.
    In its current condition, it is worth no more than a few hundred dollars. Competently repaired, it might bring as much as $1000.

    You are welcome to pm me if you like.
    Last edited by rcc56; Sep-14-2021 at 4:28pm.

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    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help identifying old Martin mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    I wouldn’t call it a “small top crack”. If you look at, and enlarge, the fuller picture of the top, you’ll see that it goes all the way from the soundhole to the tailpiece.
    Oh. That's an altogether other crack than the one I had noticed at first.

    The itch has gone away.

    Mick
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    Default Re: Help identifying old Martin mandolin

    Quote Originally Posted by brunello97 View Post
    Oh. That's an altogether other crack than the one I had noticed at first.

    The itch has gone away.

    Mick
    So it is!

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