1930 Martin OM-45 Deluxe
The pinnacle achievement of Martin’s Golden Era, the OM-45 Deluxe, is the ne plus ultra of flattop guitar design in the 20th century. Equally impressive in both form and function, it is acclaimed by many as the most beautiful, collectible, and valuable guitar that Martin ever made, built by the company’s finest craftsmen during a period considered to be their best.
The perfect storm conspired to make this the most desirable flattop guitar of all time. During the late 1920s, the guitar market had become increasingly competitive as the companies of the day all aspired to make the finest guitars imaginable and dominate this rapidly growing sector of stringed instrument sales. Innovation was rampant, and craftsmanship was outstanding. However, the stock market crash of 1929 sent the economy into a tailspin and ushered in the Great Depression. As a result, companies like Martin were forced to lay off all but their most highly skilled craftsmen, and expensive flagship instruments like this OM-45 Deluxe were produced in very small numbers.
This OM-45 Deluxe is exquisite and is very likely the finest example offered for public sale in the last three decades. It has experienced only a minimal amount of restoration, which includes a reset neck, reglued bridge, and the repair of an insignificant crack. The original banjo tuners were replaced at some point by Waverly tuners, and the guitar now features original-style gold-plated 4:1 banjo tuners sold by Stewart-MacDonald. The guitar has a very distinctive serial number (44999), and it is one of the very first with the OM-45 inscription on the neck block.
This OM-45 Deluxe is very lightly built and provides tremendous projection and impressive volume output. These guitars were built for professional performers, and their sound quality is truly beyond compare. The OM model ushered in Martin’s modern flattop era, and the design still remains the standard for the instruments that Martin still makes today.
The inlay work on this guitar is stunning, featuring pieces of abalone that were meticulously handpicked to match and provide the effect of a single continuous piece surrounding the various edges. The OM-45 Deluxe was Martin’s only catalogue model at the time featuring a bridge and pickguard with inlays. The “torch” inlay on the headstock is simple and elegant.
Fewer than 10 OM-45 Deluxe guitars are still accounted for today. This guitar was last purchased from Berkeley vintage guitar dealer Jon Lundberg, and it has excellent provenance.
Serial number: 44999
Top: Adirondack Spruce
Back and sides: Brazilian Rosewood
Bridge: Ebony belly pin
Tuners: Gold-plated banjo tuners with pearl buttons