1988 Martin - Custom CM-15 Herringbone

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Product Details

No. 4340. Includes original mint condition molded martin hardshell case with papers- original purchase invoice from 1988, owner's booklet, warranty papers, strap & strap connector the the peghead. This is a 1 owner Guitar that's been played very little. A 2'nd strap button was never installed & it's not had a pickup. It has a fully functioning adjustable truss rod (Thank GAWD!) It's near mint condition, except for:

* Some very, very, very slight fret grooves in the 1st few frets. Very minimal.

* There's a ding in the back of the neck below the 1st fret. Very minor

Some info from an active Martin Forum:

"the first custom 15 was made in 1980 (15th custom order at Martin) which incorporated features like earlier herringbone D-28's.. 1-11/16" nut, scalloped bracing to 1-1/2" from soundhole--same as a HD-28..., Schaller tuners, drop in short saddle, slight V-neck profile, squared headstock, diamond and snowflake inlays on fretboard, tortoiseshell style pickguard..This guitar became a standard model in 1993 andf later evolved into the HD28-VR in 1996.. "

Custom-15 Mandolin Bros. 3-26-15

"The story behind the Martin “Custom 15” which is not, by the way, labeled as such, but only as “Custom,” is quite interesting and one we love to tell the smallest children in the family on the night before the anniversary of C. F. Martin, Sr., to America. Now, children, in the winter of early 1977 a Staten Island company that had become a C. F. Martin Guitar dealer only six months earlier – before that they had sold just vintage instruments, pulled into Nazareth for a meeting with then president Frank Herbert Martin. We (why yes, that would be Stan Jay and Hap Kuffner, the original Mandolin Brothers) proposed, even though C. F. Martin did not have a Custom Shop, that Martin especially build us, on an exclusive basis, 250 “1934 Reissue” D-28 Herringbones (based on the woods and techniques that were available in 1977) and 91 “1939 Reissue” D-45s. Remember that no guitar company at this time had ever come out with any sort of “Reissue” style guitar. Frank Herbert thought about it for about 45 seconds and said, “Sure, we can do that.” And so it transpired that Martin began shipping guitars to this New York firm and guess what? Every single guitar sold within days or a week of arriving. Our customers went crazy for them! We couldn’t get them fast enough.

This happy history continued unabated and without incident for around three years. It took exactly that long a period of time before “other dealers” around the country realized that they were missing something important.

If the Martin Company could make such exciting new previously unheard of guitars for Mandolin Brothers, why couldn’t they make similar guitars for them? C. F. Martin had an exclusive with us for those guitars and they couldn’t make these guitars for other suitors, so they did the politically acceptable thing and in 1980 came out with a new model that had no name, just “Custom” on the neck block, and called it “Custom 15,” possibly because it was the 15th prototype they might have produced – we really don’t know the actual reason for the name; we’re just supposing. Other dealers were apparently satisfied to get access to an HD-28 made to some, but not all, prewar specifications including an aging toner Sitka top, East Indian rosewood sides, back and headplate, a tortoise shell type teardrop pickguards with beveled edges, scalloped bracing, a long, glued-in, bridge saddle, grained ivoroid body bindings, heel cap and end graft, a square-ish headstock design, six modern tuners, 7 etched diamond and snowflake fingerboard inlays in 5 fret positions, a modified V-shaped neck, a 1 11/16” nut and bridge string spacing of 2 1/8th”. This interim “Custom 15” model remained in the line until 1995 at which time the name changed first to HD-28VR (because it had rosewood sides and back but all D-28s are rosewood) and then to the more likely name of HD-28V."

Acoustic high quality Pickups expertly installed & tested:

  1. R. Baggs Anthem $429
  2. R. Baggs Lyric $329
  3. R. Baggs Active Element $259
  4. K&K Pure Mini Passive (very natural sound) $235 **
  5. K&K FanTaStick Under saddle $265
  6. R. Baggs M1 Active Soundhole $299

We can also install your pickup, other brands, or other pickups offered by Baggs and K&K. Just let us know what it is and we can quote an installed & tested price.

** K&K offer fine, affordable outboard pre-amps to compliment their passive Pure Mini pickup. We stock them. Prices are on their web site, where you can compare & select the best for you.

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Wolfe Guitars

2875 Jupiter Park Drive #400

Jupiter, FL 33458