Martin’s answer to the Gibson L-5, the 16-inch F-9, was the company’s most expensive pre-war model, with a $250 price tag ($50 more than the fabled D-45).
A total of 72 examples were built between the F-9’s introduction in 1935 and its final year of production in 1942. Over the years, quite a few of these have been converted to flattops and as a result, few F-9 guitars remain in original condition.
The archtop guitars that Martin built from 1931 to 1942 employed many of the same features and construction techniques as the company’s flattop guitars and as a result, the F-9 has Brazilian rosewood back and sides.
Deluxe appointments and materials are similar to those of a D-45, with gold-plated hardware including Waverly tuners with engraved buttons and a trapeze tailpiece that was specially made for Martin by the Grover Company.
Martin F-9 Serial number: 59296
Images courtesy of Arlan Ettinger of Guernsey Auctions and photographer Paul Schraub