Everyone seems to think the pre-WWII Martins were hot. Well, they are now, but back then … well, let’s just say that even a company as successful as Martin didn’t always know a good thing when they made it. Gene Autry, the acknowledged “king of the singing cowboys” had Martin build him a Style 45 dreadnought. So did Tex Ritter, Roy Rogers, and even Cowboy Slim. Wow, just think of all those 10-gallon hats and pearly white teeth. Yet despite the fact that lots of other recording artists asked for Style 45 acoustics, Martin barely mentioned them in their own catalogs. Their smaller 00-45 fared somewhat better. The D-45 finally got its first listing in Martin’s 1938 catalog, where it was described as, “A very handsome guitar.” Man, enough with the hard sell! In all, only 91 Style D-45s were ever made, which made this particular Martin one of the very first guitars in history to gain widespread attention as a “collectible” (read: expensive) vintage guitar.
Even today, there’s more demand for Style 45 Martins than there are guitars to go around. Which is probably why the company introduced the Martin D-42. This dreadnought can trace its lineage directly back to those early pre-war acoustics, but it carries a significantly lower price tag. But the D-42 still boasts most of the features that made those early guitars so popular, like forward-shifted, scalloped bracing, traditional Style 45 snowflake fingerboard inlays, grained ivoroid binding, abalone pearl top inlay and “butterbean” tuners. Other D-42 features include a solid Sitka spruce top with solid East Indian rosewood back and sides, a select hardwood neck with ebony fingerboard and gold hardware. The finishing touch comes in the form of a gloss finish with Martin’s special aging toner. A hardshell case is standard.