The D-21 has sometimes been called “a Martin D-18 with Brazilian rosewood back and sides” since its appointments are plainer than the stately D-28. It has tortoise shell celluloid side bindings, a thin four-ply white-black purfling around the top, and the repeating geometric rectangles in black and crème parquetry as the backstripe. In the D-21 period 2,933 were produced, including the 325 made in 1957. 99% of them have Brazilian rosewood sides and back (including this one), but a few were made in late 1969 that had East Indian. This era Martin has a rounded corner headstock, the old style “C F Martin & Co., Est. 1833” headstock decal, and is a standard dreadnought in every way.
This guitar has two added tortoise color plastic pickguards – one on the bass side of the strings in a non-traditional shape (not a teardrop) – this has 5 straight sides and then a semi-circular edge that abuts the sounds right to the edge. The second pickguard is the shape of a finger and fills in part of the space between the original teardrop pickguard and the bridge. There was, when it arrived, a pickguard crack under the bass edge of this finger-shaped ‘guard - but this has been closed. It has replaced Grover “Pat. Pend. USA” gold-plated tuners whose buttons have lost nearly all of their gold. This model from this period originally had Kluson tuners; the original tuners have been lost. The original fingerboard, wherever it may reside, was replaced with a newer Brazilian rosewood ‘board that has no dotmarkers. On the bottom side is observed a metal strap button that may not be original - we note that at present that metal button has been removed (maybe it's in the case pocket, and maybe not) but the more we think about it the more we are convinced that it was not original. We also believe that the bridge was replaced. Here’s a quote from <vintagemartin.com> “In 1965, Martin moved back to belly bridges with short drop in saddles.” This has a short drop-in saddle. It shouldn’t be "drop in" on a 1957 guitar.
One thing’s for sure, now that this guitar has gotten its pretty little neck reset it is, by anybody's standards, a stone cold killer in Brazilian rosewood back and sides, Sitka spruce top dreadnought. Our workshop has performed the de rigueur neck reset and refret, glued a loose brace, closed a seam separation along the top edge at the bottom side, closed the pickguard crack. This instrument shows normal signs of use and wear including dings, nicks, scratches, scuffs, scrapes and finish checking overall. There is arm wear on the lower bass edge of the top, an area of glue or epoxy measuring around 2” by 5/8” on the bass side shoulder, a split in the binding on the back, bass side. The nut width is 1 11/16th” and the bridge spacing is 2 1/8”. This has the “old style” Martin neck, which is pretty big – but we like that. We subscribe to the notion that a larger-sized neck transfers more lower mid-range and bass response into the body – thus the great success of the Martin new D-18 Authentic, and of prewar Martins in general. They tend to have a thunderous response – room-filling with exceptional power and presence. Now that the work is done we stand in awe of this 54-year-old considerably coveted critter. If you get a chance to try it, prepare to be impressed.
THIS WAS $6701 BUT IT IS NOW ON SALE. . . (priced further reduced 3/29/13) . . .