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1981 Martin 7-37K – super rare, clean, sounds and plays great!
This is such a great guitar. Rare and super cool 1981 Martin 7-37K "7/8 dreadnought," scalloped braced spuce top, lightly flamed KOA back and sides, unbound ebony fretboard and ebony bridge. Loud, compact, versatile, responsive, toneful instrument, for performance, recording, the couch, or the road! Especially if you’re thinking about a Collings Baby or a Santa Cruz Firefly, take a look at this 29 YEAR OLD VINTAGE KOA MARTIN!
Martin began their modern renaissance in 1976, with the introduction of the scalloped braced HD-28. Many believe that they built their best guitars EVER during the ten or twelve years which followed, when Martin artisans still were shaping one-piece mahogany necks by hand with a drawknife and a rasp. This guitar has all the classic Martin construction details, such as scalloped bracing with small maple bridgeplate, non-adjustable neck reinforcement, pickguard under the finish, old-style (but smaller – 7/8!) gold Martin decal, gloss body and satin neck finish. The guitar is all stock, except for a replacement bridge by master luthier at Gruhn.
This is a very rare guitar. Martin made, I believe, only 81 of this model, and one of them has LA KONYA inlaid across the fretboard, and you can’t play that, so right there you’re down to only 80 of them. Some doubtless have been modified, damaged or destroyed over the years. There aren’t many of this model to be had, and seldom do they come up for sale. Surely there already are more Collings Babies out there than Martin ever made of this model. And this is a 29 YEAR OLD VINTAGE KOA MARTIN!
Martin called this model a "7/8 dreadnought." The scale length is 23”, nut width is 1-5/8”, 13-3/4" lower bout, 3-1/2" to 4-1/4" body depth. Its size may be in the neighborhood of a parlor guitar, but it sure doesn’t sound like a parlor guitar. It has the character of sound of a dreadnought. The sound is rich, loud, authoritative, and responsive. It’s amazing how much tone comes out of this box – this guitar speaks. Bass is richer than you’d expect from a smaller guitar, mids are round and musical, and treble is fat, with a nice sparkle. The neck is the classic Martin rounded-V neck profile, and the action and neck relief are great – it plays like a dream. The short scale is really cool for working on technique, too, because it gives you extended reach across and along the fretboard, and a powerful physical command of the instrument. Coupled with the rich, responsive tone, this guitar generously rewards the player. And the listener! You’ll smile for miles!
This is a comparatively fancy Martin. The fretboard inlays are almost never seen – they were used only on the few Foden Style D guitars Martin built in the ‘20s, and Martin brought them back only for this guitar and the full size D-37K. Even the sides have multiple binding at the front and back, which carries through at the heel cap for a really nice upscale touch. Rosette is abalone, and the pickguard is a reddish tortoise color that Martin at the time used only on the koa guitars. Tuners are stock Sperzels, nut is stock micarta. The koa is beautifully lightly flamed, much nicer than can be seen in the pics.
The guitar is really clean, with very light normal handling wear you’d expect on a well-kept thirty year old guitar, and it has a great aged patina. There’s something about snuggling up next to thirty year old aged lacquer that you just don’t get from a new guitar. And after thirty years of aging and playing, this guitar has a depth of tone and response that you just don’t get from a new guitar.
I don’t know why the bridge was replaced; the work already was done when I bought it. The replacement bridge is indistinguishable from the original. You can see very slight indication that the bridge was replaced, but it’s very minor. Gruhn’s luthier did a really good job. There are some lacquer checks, 1/16” to 1/8” long, running on some of the grain lines where they meet the bridge, and a few tiny spots of finish chipping right at the edge of the bridge, mainly directly under the strings. To see it, you really have to put your nose down at the bridge, hold the guitar in just the right light, and make an effort. I’m totally obsessive about my gear, and it hasn’t bothered me once. I believe it won’t bother you, too.
Guitar comes with original Martin molded case, equally clean, maybe cleaner. And the inventory tag from Gruhn, marked at $2500.00.
Check my feedback and bid with confidence. This guitar is a rare little treasure, just a jewel. You’ll be so happy you found it – you’re going to love it!
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