Martin Kit Guitar Brazilian Rosewood D40 hybrid
Serial#192604 built 1963
This is a kit-built copy of a Martin
D-41/28 hybrid built circa 1963 according to the seller
who knew the builder- C. E. Hester and Co. (which hasn't
existed since the internet began, apparently.)This one
features beautifully grained laminated Brazilian
rosewood back, sides, and
headstock and rosewood fretboard
with an exceptionally nice spruce soundboard. It has a
sound that can compete with any classic Martin, which surprised me.
Gold Grover tuners, low action, 41 style abalone fretboard inlay, dovetail
joint, ebony bridge. This is a hybrid build as it does
not match any of MartinÕs specifications on a specific
style, does not have a Martin v
neck and mixes abalone and wood purfling. Hide glue
construction, non-scalloped bracing. Not pictured is the
number "40" revealed by my scope on the upper bout
underside of the spruce, which I have assumed
incorrectly corresponds to a D-40 in style, which seemed
to fit. The gold Grovers are not original to the build.
Looks like the original may have been Schaller type
given the patched screw holes. The mop inlay is not
perfect but close. Abalone inlay on back and side
I contacted Martin about their kit guitars and they didn't start selling kits until much later. This from Martin:
"Martin Guitar didn't sell guitar kits in the 1960s. Wood was available to be purchased by employees and this is where these "kit" or "employee" guitars came from at this point The first time Martin sold guitar kits is when the Woodworker's Dream opened in 1984. There are elements in the photo you sent that make me believe this kit is not made from wood that was purchased from Martin. The stamping on the block and the way the block is shaped do not look like anything the company has done in the past.
The guitar does have some Martin & some non-Martin elements. The top back and side pearl inlay is a Style 45 type and the back strip is a Style 28. The shape of the headstock where it meets the barrel of the neck is definitely non-Martin... I just received confirmation that the stamps on this guitar were never used on anything sold by the WoodworkerÕs Dream.
I donÕt believe the numbers on the guitar have any relation to MartinÕs serial number system or style numbers. Martin wouldnÕt use a standard serial number on a kit guitar and you mentioned the number on this guitar would be from 1963 when there no Style 40s being built. You asked if it could have some style 40 elements, but actually the D-40 wasnÕt introduced until 1997."