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Thread: Martin 2-15s

  1. #1

    Default Martin 2-15s

    i just came across a deal on a 1950 Martin 2-15. it's in excellent condition & the price is right. i did a search & the opinions are that it's not great for bluegrass. too mellow. any opinions? also found a near perfect 1974 style A and a 1946 0-18 guitar. can't buy them all. decisions, decisions.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    S.W. Wisconsin

    Default Re: Martin 2-15s

    Well the 2-15 is a nice mellow mandolin if that is the sound you want. The A style is fairly common to find at a later date, unless it is a really good deal. How much is the 0-18? If it is a good deal too that would be my choice.

  3. #3
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003

    Default Re: Martin 2-15s

    My experience with martin carved f-hole mandolins (2-15, 2-20, etc.) is that the tops tend to be too thin and the braces are huge. Some tops collapse in the re-curve area at the tailpiece. The sound is quite a bit different from that of the typical Gibson f-hole mandolin, and in my opinion, not my favorite.

    Personally, I'd skip both mandos and consider the 0-18. If you like the sound of the Martin mando and it is in great shape, grab it if you want to.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Martin 2-15s

    it's funny that when i searched the forum nothing much showed up but when i searched online i found several threads from this forum on the 2-15. i can afford 1 mandolin & the 0-18. we're negotiating on the price on the 0-18. he claims he has offers for 500.00 more than i offered but that might be a ploy to test my will. it needs a lot of work. nothing that i can't handle but a lot of hours. one tuner is missing a knob, one is bent, there's a hole in the side on the curve of the bass side lower bout, it needs a neck reset, it needs a pickguard, & it has the 'martin crack' by the pickguard. plus a few more odds & ends. from what i've read on this forum & online i think i'll go with the 1974 type a with the oval sound hole. i have a collings mt & a loar coming into the shop next week for repairs. i've never handled either brand before & have been curious about the QT on the loars. everything comes in cycles. suddenly mandolins are everywhere in my life, including yesterday while going to pick up a guitar to repair a local station was played mandolin pickers the entire time i was in my truck.

  5. #5
    Teacher, repair person
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Southeast Tennessee

    Default Re: Martin 2-15s

    My feelings on Martin f-hole mandolins are that they never really learned how to build them "right," either sonically or structurally.
    I've encountered some of their carved oval hole mandolins that I thought were very fine sounding instruments.
    Their A model flatbacks have been quite consistent over the decades. While they are good instruments, they don't deliver well in a bluegrass setting. They will do pretty well in an acoustic duet or trio setting, or for solo playing at home.

    A 1948 0-18 is likely to be quite a good instrument. Almost all the Martin guitars I've seen from the immediate post WWII years were rather impressive. I think that's because the boys were very glad to get home from overseas and get back to work and normal life.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Martin 2-15s

    I know the 2-15s are not popular among mandolinists but I love mine. It has no sign of any structural damage in its 67 years and the maple back and neck are stunning. You can practically buy these things for a song because they have a bad reputation. But they are Martins and I think one of the few remaining values in vintage instruments. There are actually Stradolins on Reverb for what I paid for my Martin. And I'm not knocking Stradolins. They are good too. One man's opinion.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Martin 2-15s

    i know martins as do most instruments get better with age. in 1967 i bought a new D-18 for $372.86 with hard case & taxes. all the older players (30ish ) groaned & said i should have bought an older one until they played it. i lucked out & found a gem. unfortunately it was stolen along with a 1933 00-Koa. i do currently own a 37 000-28, a 42 00-17, a 70 D-18, a 49 D-18, & a 70 00-18. the 46 0-18 will come down to price. i'd like to have it but not enough to pay stupid money for it. he started at 3500.00. i told him that that dog won't hunt. this thread reminded me of an experiment i tried back in the 70s. an arch top mandolin came in for repairs. one issue was that the top was just barely beginning to collapse. i pre humidified the case & then the mandolin. i have some mini machinist bottle jacks. i put one inside it & tweaked slowly it back to normal over 3 weeks. then i installed a violin-like sound post & told him to leave in in for a few months. it did not seem to effect the tone. he brough back 2 years later for another issue & it was still there. He'd decided to leave it.
    Last edited by zacko; Nov-20-2023 at 3:38pm.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Martin 2-15s

    the deal on the Martin is off, the guy needed cash & his dad bailed him out. so i decided to buy a Collings MT locally. can't go wrong there.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Martin 2-15s

    I had a Style 20 (oval hole 2 point) for several years. It was always fine structurally. I currently have an almost perfect 2-20. 80 years old. The recurve does look a little deep, but there are indications of structural issues. The neck remains dead straight and the action perfect. With medium strings it has adequate volume and a clear, throaty tone. More focused and articulate than my louder A-4. I canít believe that itís as perfect as it is as old as it is. It will doubtless outlast me.



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