The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

Martin R-17 Archtop Guitar Natural Mahogany, 1937


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Listed from 1935 to 1941, the Martin R-17 was one of a few arched top, flat back models in the Martin catalog, featuring a Mahogany top, back and sides. Its sibling, the R-18, had a solid, shaped Spruce top with Mahogany elsewhere; Brazilian Rosewood was used for the head plate, bridge, and fingerboard. Early examples of both models used 12 fret necks but soon gained the more popular 14 fret configuration.

A distinctive feature of the Martin R-17 and R-18 models was the three-segment F holes. However a few early examples were built with round sound holes instead of F-holes. Round hole archtops pretty much vanished by the mid 1930s. During the Canoe scene in “Horse Feathers”, released in 1932 by Paramount and starring The Marx Brothers, Groucho plays a Gibson L-7 to serenade Thelma Todd, then throws a round-hole archtop prop guitar into the lake.

Here we are looking at a Martin R-17 Mahogany archtop dating to 1937, one of 40 built that year, and in overall good and largely original condition. The original tuners were replaced some time ago. This guitar is in overall good condition with good action height and plenty of bridge height. The finish has expected wear on the body, and on the bass side of the neck is worn through. The pickguard and tailpiece appear to be original. The fingerboard shows clear signs of play wear in the low positions but the frets are newer with very little wear; this guitar is ready to play!

A non-original fibre case is included.


Price: $3,250.00 CAD
  • Model: R-18
  • Year: 1937
  • Finish Natural Mahogany
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: N/A, built during 1937 in Nazareth PA
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 28/06/2022

  • Consignment Item

  • Including Soft case
  • Instrument Weight: 3.828lbs 1.74kg
  • Scale Length: 24.8in 630mm
  • Nut Width: 1.734in 44.18mm
Martin Website

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