The first guitar I ever owned was a Silvertone that my parents bought me out of a Sears & Roebuck catalog.
When I was about 14 years old I finally took guitar lessons. After 3 or 4 sessions I had learned to play some John Denver songs (which all have like 3 chords), so I stopped taking lessons.
I was really enjoying the opportunity to play all those great vintage Martins. I
We eventually made an album, which fortunately is no longer available!
We even played at a couple of bluegrass festivals. To our shock we actually won the band contest at the Sander's Family Bluegrass Festival (McCalester, Oklahoma) in the summer of 1977. Bill Monroe was there.
. I'm not sure how much I would have gotten if I had just let the Ebay auction play out, but probably more. However, getting ten times what I had into wasn't bad. Especially after getting to play and enjoy it for almost 30 years!
So I bought a 00-18 on Ebay. It didn't have the
One time I sold a Martin 000-16RGTE on Ebay to a guy in New York for $1200. For some reason, I decided not to pay the extra little bit for the insurance. Of course that's the one that DHL lost. So I returned the guy his $1200.
After all the long process of trying to find out what happened, I was told they were "sorry, but we deliver 97% of things safe and sound." I guess that's a good track record and all, but it still cost me $1200.
I never played in public until I was around 18 years old.
About that time, a friend and I somehow stumbled upon a bluegrass festival in Langley, Oklahoma. I had no idea what bluegrass was, had never heard of it, but I liked it.
Soon we formed a group called the Ozark Bible Bluegrass Revival. We played in churches around Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas.
That summer of 1977, as our bluegrass group traveled, going through Colorado we somehow came by the Denver Folklore Center. There they had a very worn out 1947 Martin D-18 which they were asking $650 for. I traded my '72 D-28 even for their '47 D-18.
It was during this time that I discovered Martin guitars. My first was was a 1972 D- 28 that I got used for $325. That was a lot of money back then.
Intermountain Guitar & Banjo. I bought a 1942 00-18. It had scalloped braces and was in pretty good condition.
My wife thought I was having a mid-life crisis! She said, "I hope you won't trade me in for a younger model after 29 years!" And I told her, "actually, I traded in my '47 for an OLDER model - which I'm very unlikely to do with a wife!" She didn't think it was that funny.
I kept that D-18 for the next 29 years. Don Teeter (author of THE ACOUSTIC GUITAR: ADJUSTMENT, CARE, MAINTAINCE & REPAIR) fixed the lifting bridge and belly of the lower part
on the top and installed an under the saddle pickup. I carried and played that guitar everywhere, but mostly played it in my church.
Through all these experiences I really got an education on Martin guitars - all the different models, years and features, what to do and not do.
Another one happened when I bought a '48 000-28 on Ebay. You can read about that one in the MONEY BACK GUARENTEE section. Bottom line, it cost me $2300.
Fast forward to 2006 - not really knowing too much about it, I decided that I wanted to get a smaller body Martin. So I sold my '47 D-18 on Ebay for $3800. Actually a guy from the area called me up, came and played it and bought it for that.
Another happened (almost) thanks to my 3 year old. I have told him to never touch daddy's guitars. But one time I walked in and saw black scribbling all over the front of a 1939 00-18! Fortunately it had been refinished and was very slick, and he didn't use permanent marker, so the black came right off.
But needless to say - lesson learned!
Now I keep my guitars out of his reach. I'm like the guy in the movie SPINAL TAP, I tell him, "Don't play daddy's guitars. Don't touch daddy's guitars. Don't even LOOK at daddy's guitars!"
My "Martin Story" really boils down to the fact that no other guitar can compare to the feel and the sound and beauty of a vintage Martin.
Okay, a little update on my Martin story. The 1947 D-18 I have for 29 years and sold on eBay, well the guy sold it back to me and then I sold it to contemporary Christian music pioneer Paul Clark. He has used it on some of his recent albums. One day Vince Gill dropped by and they jammed a little and Paul said that Vince Gill loved that '47 D-18 (see picture below). It's a small world (but I'd still hate to paint it.)
. sound that I wanted so I resold it on Ebay.
Then I bought another 00-18, then a 000-18, etc. All of them couldn't match the sound of that
So I continued on my quest. I even flew out to Salt Lake City to play old Martins at
was also enjoying all the great people that I met through Ebay and other places.