1937 Martin 00-18H
As the Great Recession swept into my neighborhood in early 2009, I needed money to pay some bills. So I decided to sell this 1937 Martin 00-18H, one of 255 made between 1935 and 1941 and priced at $45 to $55. A grand concert-sized guitar (14¼-in. lower-bout width), it originally was set up for Hawaiian-style play.
| PHOTO: Vintage Instruments|
The Lorizio — 1937 Martin 00-18H
Today, the instrument is known as the Lorizio after its original owner, Jeanette Porcello Lorizio. Born Jan. 2, 1913 and deceased Dec. 30, 2000 in Norton, MA near Boston, her surname and Soc. Sec. number are hand-inscribed on the back of the guitar's headstock.
Long-ago converted to standard play, I bought the Lorizio (SN 65183) at the height of the vintage guitar market, when a mid-thirties 00-18H in excellent condition could fetch $9,500. Offered in “good condition, needs work” at $6,500 in Jan. 2007 by Fred Oster of Vintage Instruments in Philadelphia, I was able to buy it six months later at $5,500. By year's end I'd spent $1,650 more for its restoration by luthiers Greg Hanson and David Crawford of Durham, NC (formerly in Raleigh).
| PHOTO: Lark Street|
Lorizio 00-18H headstock —
with inscribed name & SSN
Hanson and Crawford's repairs included the following work:
• resetting the neck;
• planing fingerboard to obtain uniform radius and removal of a hump at the 12th fret;
• refretting fingerboard with modern T frets;
• installing a forgery-grade ebony bridge and intonating the bone saddle;
• adjusting the set-up to accommodate my flatpicking playing style;
• gluing a thin pad of maple rescued from a 100-year-old piano onto the original bridge plate to eliminate string-ball damage;
• repairing two small irregular holes in the upper treble rib.
The quality of Hanson & Crawford's work was beyond reproach. Still, Oster sniffed dismissively when he examined the restored guitar in early 2009. He called the work "passable, not great."
Accurate or not, Oster's opinion of this fine guitar meant trouble for me. His opinion of the guitar could spoil my chance to sell the guitar and obtain a good price either at his Vintage Instruments shop or elsewhere in the vintage guitar market.
So I looked to sell or trade it in a non-East Coast
market. Luckily, a 1920s Maurer Style #493 guitar made by the Larson Brothers appeared on
Eric Schoenberg's website. Based in Tiburon, CA near San Francisco, he priced the Larson, a grand concert beauty restored by Chris Berkov, at $6,675. In addition, Schoenberg agreed to my suggestion of swapping the
Lorizio 00-18H for the Maurer #493. Like icing on a cake, I netted $1,000 cash from Schoenberg in the
| PHOTO: Ralph Shirak|
Ken Lelen with Lorizio 00-18H
Kennebunk, ME in June 2008
The Lorizio 00-18H is a great instrument and I enjoyed playing it for two years. Still, I don't miss it. The Maurer #493 is an outstanding guitar that offers sublime pleasures to any player. Indeed, it is hard to put down even after playing it for an hour.
References & Links
C. F. Martin & Co. — martinguitar.com
Vintage Instruments — vintage-instruments.com
Schoenberg Guitars — om28.com
Larson Bros. guitars — Maurer Style #493
A journalist for 30 years before opening Vintage Music Concerts in 1999,
Ken Lelen sings ragtime, jazz and swing & plays vintage acoustic guitars
at concerts for diverse groups, niche markets and sundry venues across
the East Coast. He has played acoustic guitar since the summer of 1963.
© 2014 by Kenneth Lelen — All Rights Reserved