1941 Martin 000-21$33,000.00
Scalloped bracing, Brazilian rosewood, EX. A one family-owned 81 year-old prewar Martin classic. It’s honest and clean and beautiful. No strap button added. No b-string crack. No cracks at all. There are dings, scrapes, scratches, and a few needed repairs. Desirable prewar attributes ilike scalloped braces (the better to hear you with, my dear) and diamond-and-square inlays – both features gone by 1944.
Repairs: It has its original bridge plate, freshly and carefully repaired. The original bridge was shaved – now replaced. Neck set done (you’re welcome) and refretted. Also added period Grover Sta-Tite tuners. It plays great.
It’s not mint. No 81 year-old is. But it’s really clean and the previous owner, who lives 7 hours away, said his father bought it new in 1941. A family treasure. It’s wonderful to see and heartbreaking in tone. Don’t play it. We warn you – it has intense charm. Yes, it has the original hard case. The first 000-21 was made in 1938. The last 000-21 with scalloped braces was made in 1944. About 400 or so were made overall. Martin shipped 10 times more D-18s than 000-21s in the period. These are rare. Charmingly clean and honest. We paid up. You will too.
And now we will dip into Martin history and add additional commentary on the 000-21, 000-28, and other Martins from the era. Optional reading.
There is historical significance to to one of America’s oldest family-owned businesses, that also makes guitars. Even in 1850 Martin guitars were considered to be superior. Best wood in the world cured correctly. Stoically made with deep pride. Hank Williams, Elvis, John Lennon, Johnny Cash, Kurt Cobain, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and Joan Baez. These musicians changed the world. They played Martins.
So here is some important Martin history: It was in 1926 that steel strings became standard, replacing gut. 1934 was the last year for bar frets. In 1938 the x-bracing was moved closer to the bridge as heavy strings were in fashion – previously it had been forward-shifted x-bracing. In 1939 the 1 & 3/4” nut was trimmed to 1 & 11/16” and stayed that way for roughly 50 more years. In 1944 they stopped scalloping the braces. These are the historical details that greatly affect vintage Martin prices.
The 000-21 is equally as rare as the 000-28. They shipped in approximately the same numbers – Martin made only 63 of these 000-21s in 1941. The Style 21 trim was simpler with the dark tortoiseshell binding of the Style 18 models. It was so named because it was $21 wholesale. For $28 you got the thicker white binding and herringbone trim around the body. The 000-21 had herringbone on the rosette (look closely at this one) and diamond inlays until 1945. Both models were Brazilian rosewood, finest ebony, and had aged Adirondack spruce tops sourced from the region.
This is not a ‘50s Martin. This is a pre-1944 scallop-braced Martin. Highly desirable. A 000-28 will cost more in the same condition (a pre-1939 will be lots and lots more).
The current trend is moving towards smaller-bodied acoustics (and small amps). In the future we would bet all smaller-bodied early Martins will become harder and harder to find, pushing up prices. Clean one-family guitars from this era are a rare joy just to behold and play.
Note that with any Martin, the era of 1930 to 1938 is the most expensive. The later 1939 to 1944 is the next most desired (and expensive), because in 1944 they scalloping the braces and discontinued the fancy inlay. Martin sold ten times more of the big D-18s in same time period. Prewar Martins are the most copied guitars in the world.