Perhaps the strangest guitars C. F. Martin made for another company were about three dozen "resonator guitars" made for William Lange's Paramount Banjo Company of New York City in the early 1930s.. Some were tenor guitars like this one, a few had six-string necks instead, some had natural finished tops and some were given the amber shading as shown here. A few had soundholes but most did not. Other examples we've seen have engraved inlays on the headstock reading "Model L" or "Style L" but this is labeled "Style D." It also differs from other examples in that it has the full "Beethoven and Birds" fingerboard inlay. This same set of fingerboard inlays was used on high-end Paramount banjos like the Style E, and when the engraving on those inlays is still complete it's obviously the typical bust of Beethoven. That might seem like an odd choice for the inlay on a banjo neck, but you have to remember that Paramount described their banjos as having "harp-like tone." Yes, really.
The upper body is a 14-fret size 0. The lower resonator body is almost 16 inches wide, and with the wide waist we're wondering if Martin didn't use the same mold they'd used earlier to make a few large "Kealakai" Hawaiian models. Two long cracks in the Brazilian rosewood resonator back have been repaired, with a coat of satin lacquer added. Top cracks have also been repaired, along with the center seam. No cracks to the four sides, and the finish on those surfaces appears to be original, as does the finish on the back of the neck while the headstock facing got the same satin overspray as the top. The bridge and pickguard are not original but the pickguard is in the same style as 'guards on other Paramount/Martin models. Bar stock frets show a fair amount of wear in the lower position but it plays quite well. And it's loud, with lots of projection, which we assume was the whole idea!
stock no. 50912
|Model||Style D (made by Martin)|
|Back and sides||rosewood|
|Frets to body||14|