Saturday, March 31, 2018

1986 Martin D-62LE (maple!)

Sometimes you just get lucky and a unique guitar becomes available at an attractive price. Thank you Craigslist!

The Martin D-62LE (Limited Edition) was Martin's custom-built Guitar of the Month for October 1986. Only 48 were made. It features flamed maple back and sides with a Sitka spruce top, scalloped forward-shifted X top bracing, tortoise-shell binding, style 42 snowflake fingerboard inlays, and a label hand-signed by C.F. Martin IV. Not only is this apparently Martin's first maple dreadnought model, but this model has a wider neck that measures 1-7/8" at the nut, unusual in a 14-fret guitar. My online alerts had flagged this listing, but it was originally being offered on the high end of Blue Book value at $2,250. Several price reductions later to below Blue Book, my interest was piqued.

I drove 45 minutes to check it out and it did not disappoint. Maple has a warm quality, which was amply evident in this 30+ year-old guitar. The action and crispness of the sound at both the high and low ends of the register were perfect. The tuners and pins had been upgraded and the frets dressed. The Sitka top had aged to a pleasing honey gold tone. With only very minor dings and some limited finish crazing this was a lightly played and well-cared for guitar. The original Martin case, a sound-hole humidifier, and couple sets of new strings rounded out the package. I paid the asking price.

I think I'll be holding on to this one!

Friday, March 30, 2018

2002 Guild F47-RCE

It's no secret that I'm a Guild acoustic guitar fan. In fact, scoring a used 2001 Guild F47-RCE guitar off of Craigslist a few years ago is what lured me back into the hunt for fine acoustic guitars on the second-hand market and led to this blog. I still enjoy that guitar and I've since also owned a 1999 F47-RCE, so when I saw a Guild F47-RCE in good condition listed on eBay recently for a starting bid of $699 with no reserve, I was interested. Especially as this now-discontinued model (last made in 2003) is rarely available and the only other current online listing I could find was on Reverb for more than twice as much.

The Guild F47-RCE has a cutaway grand concert-style body (with 4.8" body depth, 25-5/8" scale length, and 1-11/16" nut), solid Spruce top, solid Rosewood back and sides, scalloped bracing, Mahogany neck with bound Rosewood fingerboard and pearloid block inlays, and logo and Chesterfield pearl inlays on the headstock. This particular Guild F47-RCE was made in Corona, CA, after Fender purchased Guild and moved the Guild manufacturing plant from its long-time home in Westerly, R.I. An obvious difference with the Westerly model is the Chrome tuners instead of the earlier Gold Grover tuners. This particular guitar also has a noticeably downgraded Fishman pickup and EQ preamp system, but on the plus side the bridge pins had been upgraded to ones with Mother of Pearl dots. The guitar last listed for $2,400 new and has a Blue Book value of $1,300-1,450 in excellent condition.

Guild manufacturing has since moved again (several times) since Corona, and apparently the Corona plant serial number records were lost along the way. Unable to confirm the year of this Corona-made guitar against official Guild lists, I turned to Hans Moust, unofficial Guild historian and author of The Guild Guitar Book-The Company and the Instruments, 1952-1977, who was not beyond rescuing records from Guild's dumpsters. Checking his own records against the serial number I provided him, Hans was able to date this guitar to 2002. Should you need his help as well, Hans can be reached at

With only two other eBay bidders interested in this guitar on the listing's last day, I was able to SnipeIt! for not too much more than it's starting bid! For those unfamiliar with auction sniping services, these allow you to place your bids outside of the eBay platform so as not to show your hand and heat up the bidding until the last few seconds when the service will automatically enter your bids up to your maximum bid. For a small fee, you can thus save lots of money by not giving other bidders a chance to increase their maximum bids if they are outbid by just a few dollars. The guitar having arrived in good shape, it's now time to give it a little TLC, including some cleaning and new strings so I can enjoy it before passing it along to someone who can appreciate it as well.