Martin 1935 F-9 Conversion, Brazilian Rosewood & Adirondack Spruce - Pre-Owned


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For a brief period in the pre-war years, and at the height of the big band era, Martin followed Gibson's suit and tried their hand at making archtops. There were the C models with round soundholes, but when they realized there was a bigger market for f-hole models, they started the F series. At the time these were Martin's top of the line guitars, being even more expensive than a D-45. It was a short run, though. In the end, roughly 72 F-9s were made, and of those, folks speculate that only 50 remain in their original form. The rest--if they survived--were turned into flattops, like this F-9 Conversion. With their wider 16" lower bout, they became the inspiration for Martin's M model later on.

This particular 1939 F-9 features the original Brazilian rosewood back and sides, original neck, and original fretboard. It was re-topped with Adirondack spruce and sports a beautiful shade top finish. It has been over-sprayed and has an oversized rosewood bridge plate. We're not sure who did the conversion, but as with the C-2 Conversion we have, it was skillfully done. Due to the inherent design of its archtop origins, the neck is set at a steep angle to accommodate the carved top and tall bridge. In order to achieve a shallower neck angle, the part of the heel that joins the body must be fully reshaped. As a result, the fingerboard is shifted up towards the body a bit causing the neck to intersect the body between the 13th and 14th fret. Consequently, the bridge is repositioned slightly further from the soundhole than it would be on a conventional OM (or in this case, M or jumbo OM).

The condition is impressive for a guitar this age. Structurally, it's in excellent shape, and the finish checking only adds to its charm. Tonally, it combines the benefits of the versatile and dynamic M body shape with the vintage tone of a pre-war Martin. It's a unique addition to any collection, with plenty more years of making music ahead of it. A K&K Pure Mini pickup comes installed.

  • Year: 1939
  • Top: Adirondack spruce
  • Back and sides: Brazilian rosewood (original)
  • Neck: Mahogany (original)
  • Fretboard: Ebony (original)
  • Bridge: Ebony (oversized)
  • Purfling and rosette: Abalone
  • Binding: Ivoroid
  • Scale length: 25"
  • Nut width: 1-3/4"
  • Lower bout: 16"
  • Depth: 4-1/8"
  • Pickup: K&K Pure Mini installed
  • Case: Original archtop case


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This product listing was written by Kim. If you’d like to talk to Kim about this guitar, you can do so here:



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