Martin OM-45 Deluxe, Limited Edition, #3 of 4
In 1930, C.F. Martin & Co. offered the OM-45 Deluxe. Just 14 of these instruments were originally made. Priced at $225, the Deluxe was the most expensive flat-top Martin guitar available at the time. They were all identical, with the exception of one instrument – the one that would be played by Leonard Slye (aka Roy Rogers), which had its own special details, including a more ornate pickguard inlay and headstock motif.
In 1998, an additional 14 OM-45 Deluxe guitars were made, under the model banner “Limited Edition OM-45 Deluxe Golden Era.” This faithful-to-original model featured an Adirondack spruce soundboard with matching braces, an abalone inlaid tortoise color “teardrop” pickguard, hand-engraved banjo tuners with genuine Mother-Of-Pearl buttons, and a replica of the old style 45 mosaic back inlay strip. This release was fairly well publicized, but with a still very limited release of 14 guitars, it’s safe to say this model remains quite hard to come by.
Around the same time that the 14 Golden Era OM-45s were starting to come to market, an additional 4 OM-45 Deluxe guitars were commissioned. These four instruments are far less well known than the Golden Era Limiteds,=, as they were ordered by a single individual, the owner of a single, well known guitar store. They took about two years to complete, and when they were ready, three of them moved quietly into the homes of some well-heeled players, two of whom are well-known in their own right (I can’t confirm this directly but it’s my understanding that one of the four was purchased by a Mr. Juber, and another by a Mr. Dylan.). It is also my understanding that one of the reasons they took so long to complete was because these four OM-45s were built with even greater attention to detail than the 14 Golden Era models – the goal was to make as perfect a reproduction as possible of Mr. Slye’s original OM-45 Deluxe.
This OM-45 Deluxe is number three of that very limited four-instrument run. Originally, it was held back by the owner of the aforementioned guitar store, as it was his intention to keep it. However, someone managed to talk him out of it within the first year. That someone is my client, the original owner (or the first person to “own” it after the ordering dealer. It is my pleasure to offer this very special and very rare Martin on consignment here at Imagine Guitars.
The OM-45 Deluxe of course has the OM/”Orchestra Model” body famous for exceptional sound combined with a manageable and very comfortable body size/shape. The tone of this instrument is superb – wonderfully balanced, strong in the fundamental but also with richly detailed harmonics. This guitar has hardly been touched – it has resided in the current owner’s private collection, and has under an hour of playing time on it. The owner says that the character has changed for the better with five years of aging, and postulates (correctly, in my opinion) that wonderful things are going to happen once this guitar actually gets played on a regular basis.
This guitar has some of the most luscious Brazilian you’ll see, with incredible figure. The guitar store owner jumped on this particular one of the four partly because of the Brazilian figuring, and partly because of the tone. While I am sure all four were spectacular, this is the one he felt was the most exemplary of the group. The craftsmanship on these instruments is top-notch, as you’d expect. They are a beautiful instrument to look at and play, from the gorgeous inlay work on the fretboard, peghead, pickguard and bridge, to the reproduction mosaic inlay strip on the back, to the Abalone purfling (which is just about everywhere it possibly can be, and yet never looks overdone.) The Banjo tuners are a very cool touch – they have never been used on any other Martin guitar, part of the effort to maintain the uniqueness of this model. They are certainly novel at first if you have not used anything like this, but you get used to it really quickly – tuning is actually very fast and easy once you get the touch, although things definitely move more quickly with the higher gear ratio. These tuners are historically accurate and have the same pearloid finish used on the tuners of the original 14 instruments.
The original 14 Martin OM-45 Deluxe models are among the rarest guitars in the world, and their value is reflective of that rarity. Between the four limiteds of this run and the 18 Golden Era instruments made in 1998, that’s a total of only 32 guitars produced in 74 years! With Martin’s current 10,000+ dollar Brazilian surcharge, you couldn’t walk out of a dealer with a new one of these for less than $25,000, if you could even get one built – Martin is obviously seeking to keep this model very special and very rare. This instrument listed at $28,000 in 2000 before Martin put the brakes on the use of Brazilian Rosewood for production instruments.
Includes original hardshell case, case key, Warranty paperwork, and hang tag, as well as a Martin custom shop pamphlet.