Rare original "Pre-War" Martin D-45 (construction was begun in Sept. 14, 1941). Although the original owner has passed away, this is essentially a one-owner instrument because no one in the family has played it since. Restored in 2003 by Dan Blom, who had served as Repair Shop Foreman at Gruhn Guitars in Nashville, and who also worked at Glaser Instruments (also in Nashville) as well. See Blom's repair order (photo 37), detailing the work done to the instrument. Also included is a 2017 appraisal written by Mr. Gruhn, based on photos taken by the current owner after it was restored (photo 38).

Although the guitar has been refinished, except for thin cleats under the splinted top crack there are no signs of internal repairs. The bridge plate is original and the top is remarkably flat and stable, with zero "bridge roll" from string tension. Thanks to Blom's recent neck reset and refret it's highly playable with medium gauge strings and delivers the powerful sound and rich bass response that has made pre-WWII D-45s legendary.

Note the repaired headstock crack (which we noted when we first saw this D-45 over 25 years ago), the repaired top crack (photo 33), and Blom's work order also mentions gluing a back crack and installing the gold Waverly tuners. Also note that the fingerboard binding on both sides of the neck has many vertical cracks. Pickguard is original, it appears the bridge is original as well. The recent finish has a satin sheen, but according to Dan Blom this was not done with low-gloss lacquer but with a solvent spray final coat that allowed him to keep the finish thinner and avoid heavy buffing.

The original owner of this D-45 visited Gryphon in the early 1990s and showed us his guitar while telling the story of how he acquired it. He was stationed at Pearl Harbor in 1941 and ordered this D-45 from a music store salesman who visited the barracks, showed sailors catalogs and taking orders for all manner of musical instruments. Since this salesman was showing sailors the Martin catalog, we can assume he worked for Bergstrom Music in Honolulu, Martin's retailer in the Hawaiian Islands since before 1900 (and the largest music store in Hawaii). Did the purchaser of the most expensive flat-top in Martin's catalog already play guitar? Not at all, instead he chose the D-45 because he figured if he owned a guitar like that he'd have no trouble getting guitar-pickin' sailors to teach him how to play it, and his hunch paid off.

stock no. 53459

ModelD-45
TopAdirondack spruce
Back and sidesBrazilian rosewood
Frets to body14
Nut width1 11/16"
Scale length25.4"
Bridge materialebony
Fretboard Materialebony
Neck materialmahogany
Total frets20
Bracingscalloped X
Electronicsnone
CaseNew Hard
Finishlacquer
NotesSee RJ
Serial No78883
TunersGold Waverly
Bindingivoroid