Son of German artist, George Grosz, Marty Grosz was born in Berlin in 1930 and has been a resident of the United States since the age of three.
One of the few Jazz guitarists who continue to perform with an unamplified acoustic archtop guitar, he augments his fretboard skills with Fats Waller-style vocals and a liberal helping of humour. Marty has appeared with The Classic Jazz Quartet and Orphan Newsboys as well as sharing the stage with other guitarists including Joe Pass, Herb Ellis and Charlie Byrd.
Below Marty comments on his Gibson L-5s (which can be viewed in the appropriate sections)
“The tailpiece of this guitar was made for me by Mirabella (www.mirabellaguitars.com). I have the original, which is not one of Gibson’s great achievements. Its cross-bar has a mild crescent shape with narrow slots which make string-changing difficult.”
Serial number: none (interior label is missing)
“This is one of the finest guitars I’ve played, if not the finest! It has been refinished and probably had other work done, which lowers its value. In addition, the interior label is missing. No matter, I’m a player not a collector and this guitar has all of the attributes that an acoustic archtop needs. Fellow musicians can hear the tone and power and often comment on it. I dare say it could wipe out the newer archtops produced by contemporary builders!”
“My 1939 L-5 has a 25 ½ inch scale and is, perhaps, the most powerful instrument that I’ve owned – and I’ve owned a 19-inch Stromberg (dud), a D’Angelico New Yorker (dud), and an Epiphone Emperor (dud)! Suffice it to say that I’ve owned a truckload of guitars in my search for the perfect instrument. The three pictured on this site are very fine examples of unamplified archtops. Of course, the player has to contend with heavy-gauge strings, high action and play with a forceful stroke!”
You can’t help but love Marty’s infectious style and witty banter. Here he is singing ‘Swing That Music’.