The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

Martin D12 20 12 String Guitar Natural, 1968

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The Martin D12 20 was a slope shouldered, 12-fret 12 string guitar built from 1964 to 1991 with a Sitka Spruce top and Mahogany for the sides, back and neck and slotted peg head.

The 1964 D12-20 was Martin’s entry into 12-string production. The 12-string concept appeared in the late 1920s, with arguably the most famous 12-string artists being Huddie Ledbetter, known as ‘Leadbelly’ using a Stella Auditorium and Blind Willie McTell, who used both Stella and Tonk Brothers models. By the late 1950s, folk music was booming in the USA and in response the major builders began to add 12’s to their lines. Gibson released the B45-12 in 1961, the B25-12 in 1962. The B45-12 was later used by both Gordon Lightfoot and Leo Kottke. Guild also started building 12’s in 1964.

Here we’re looking at a Martin D12 20 dating to February of 1968 and built at the Martin plant in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. As a ’20’ model, it is very close to an ’18’ and the key differentiating component is the ‘zipper’ back strip. The top is Sitka Spruce – Adirondack Spruce had been overharvested during WW2 and it would still be decades for recovery. The sides, back, and slotted-headstock neck are Honduran Mahogany and, by the time this post-1967 guitar was built, Indian Rosewood was used for the head plate, bridge and unbound fingerboard. Until 1967, Brazilian Rosewood had been used.    Tuners are strip models intended for the slotted peg head. 

This Martin D12 20 example is in good working condition and has had some service over the years. In particular, the original bridge and plate were likely removed and replaced years ago; both parts are oversize compared to original equipment. The bridge itself has also had a pair of Gibson-style locating bolts added, and covered by Mother of Pearl dots. These bolts also help keep the back edge of the bridge from lifting. A new and substantial Maple bridge plate was installed. The guitar plays well, with a full and brilliant sound.   The top shows expected play wear and the finish has light to moderate wear. 

This Martin D12 20 is sold with a non-original hard shell case, likely built by TKL.


 

Price: $1,850.00 CAD
  • Model: D12-20
  • Year: 1968
  • Finish Gloss Natural
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: 231496 February 1968
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 14/12/2020

  • Consignment Item

  • Including Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 4.28lbs 1.945kg
  • Scale Length: 630mm 24.8in
  • Nut Width: 47.83mm 1.883in
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