This rare 1930 Martin OM-45 Deluxe guitar is insured for a million dollars
There are rare guitars, and then there are rare guitars that are “insured for a million dollars”. Fans of the latter can turn their attention to this 1930 Martin OM-45 Deluxe that recently featured on John McBride’s Inside Blackbird series.
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Describing the instrument as “the Stradivari of guitar collecting”, collector Matt Swanson says this acoustic guitar is but one of fourteen that Martin made in 1930 for the Sherman Clay & Co music store out of Oakland, California.
“I hear there’s like nine of these that are known to exist [now],” he says.
As with Martin’s pre-war 45-series guitars, the OM-45 Deluxe features Adirondack spruce for the top along with Brazilian rosewood on its back and sides. The brand famously discontinued the use of Brazilian rosewood in favour of Indian rosewood and other varieties in 1969 due to CITES regulations, which adds to the guitar’s rarity.
“You can find little bits here and there but not that looks like this, because what they really prize is the straight grain,” Swanson explains. “And a lot of it now is very swirly, and I am not saying that’s bad, I don’t know if you can hear a difference, but it’s rare.”
“Martin made these guitars in this era and they didn’t know it,” he adds. “They didn’t know at the time they were making the greatest guitars in the history of the world, because they were just on this path of making improvements.”
“But you know they had these wood, these were handmade, limited production, and they are a feather — this guitar weighs like three-and-a-half pounds. It is super light.”
Other details include all that binding and amazingly detailed Mother of Pearl inlays on the guitar’s bridge and pickguard (which sets it apart from the non-Deluxe version), as well as banjo style tuners that are finished in gold.
Given the guitar’s rich history and near-unicorn status, it’s no surprise then, that the six-string commands an equally hefty price tag. As Swanson tells host John McBride, “I’ve got this insured for a million dollars.”
Check out the full rundown of the 1930 Martin OM-45 Deluxe below.
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