1974 Martin D-35, signed - opinions?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by apgwheeler, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. apgwheeler

    apgwheeler Member

    Nov 23, 2009
    Albany, NY
    So a few years ago I bought a '74 Martin D-35. I paid $1500. Not bad, all things considered. It needed the bridge to be pulled, filled, and moved a few millimeters. Also needed a neck reset. All good. Wonderful tone. Great aged finish, just how a guitar should sound. (to me, it sounds like snappy butter. You can tell I'm real technical).

    So, in my infinite wisdom, I had it signed by Doc Watson. And then, in another fit of wisdom, I had it signed by Peter Rowan. Actually, Tony Rice was supposed to sign it but he walked away while Peter Rowan took his time chewing his bread and drinking his wine.

    So here I have this '74 Martin D-35, that is in excellent (repaired) condition signed by Doc Watson and Peter Rowan.

    In your opinions (I know, it's just opinions) did I do a real injustice to the value of the instrument by getting it signed?
  2. mj07

    mj07 Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2006
    Hendersonville, NC
    Not really imo. Maybe if it was like some new pop band or fly by night artist, but those are two acoustic giants. I'd say Doc's auto will surely be worth a bit in the not so distant future. FWIW, I gave my dad a Tony Rice auto'd Martin last year. It was a cheaper one, so I didn't think twice about it. Bottom line is you'll get different opinions on this. What matters in the end, though is what it is worth to you.
  3. street

    street Member

    Sep 1, 2006
    I don't think so either. Not those 2 names.

    You'll get a definitive answer to this if you post on UMGF.
    google it if you don't know what it is.
  4. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2003
    near Philly
    Not sure if I represent the majority, but I do not consider a signature on a guitar to be an asset. Unless it was owned by the person that signed it (and that person is famous).
  5. Tidewater Custom Shop

    Tidewater Custom Shop Performance Enhancing Guitarworks Supporting Member

    Jul 22, 2008
    Under a stack of textbooks
    Hopefully the sigs weren't on a part of the D-35 where your arm or fingers make contact. You ever see those autographed pickguards where the sig is all but worn away? I would've preserved that pickguard and bought another to replace it. Not sure you can do that with your autographs - in other words, I hope you didn't render such a nice machine unusable...
  6. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2002
    Mid Atlantic USA
    not on a 1974 Martin ... if it was a 1947 Martin, maybe, but '74 was not a pinnacle of Martin craftsmanship ...
  7. Tricks

    Tricks Member

    May 1, 2008
    I don't see it as a problem as long as you're okay with it. I've never been an autograph hound, but I do remember reading a Jeff Beck interview back in the '80s where he mentioned getting Tina Turner to autograph his Strat after he played a session for her next album. Okay, Beck's got umpteen guitars and he can afford to relegate one to non playing status, still, I figured if he doesn't have a problem with it...
    A couple of years ago I had an assignment to photograph Hank Marvin for a magazine cover, I'm not a huge fan of his, but I certainly understand his place in Rock and Roll history and the number of guitar players he influenced in the early '60s... and since I own a fiesta red '57 reissue Strat (one of the early Fullerton ones, I've had it for 26 years) I figured I'd get him to sign it for me. Then, early this year Jeff Beck came down to my studio for a photo session (I'm a big fan of Beck)... I had no hesitation in asking him to also sign my Strat.
    The issue of whether this adds (or subtracts) value to the guitar is of no concern to me (as I don't plan to sell it), however, it is of significance to me on a personal level and a memento of a time when I got to meet and work with a couple guitar players who have played a significant part in Rock 'n' Roll history, and a story for my kids should they cultivate an interest when they get old enough to understand.
    Anyway, the point of my story is that it's a personal thing, and if the autographs are by significant guitar players then, if anything, it's all a part of you and your guitar's history. In fact, I'm pretty sure that one of Derek Trucks stage guitars is covered in autographs.
    Incidentally, I had mine signed in 2 spots where they wouldn't be interfered with whilst being played.
  8. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe Member

    Feb 27, 2007
    I'd let Doc Watson scratch his name into my D-35 with a pen knife ...
  9. davess23

    davess23 Member

    Mar 18, 2006
    Swampscott, MA
    There are plenty of good D-35's out there from all years, including the '70's. This one seems to please its owner, doesn't it? The internet mythology saying there aren't good ones from the '70's is just BS. (Yes, I'm aware of the increased production numbers and the stuff about heavier construction, blah, blah. Somebody should write a book about all the Martin-related truths/half-truths, rumors and nonsense that have gone down over the years. It'd be a pretty thick book.) The reality is that when you play a bunch of D-35's you'll find nice and not so nice ones from the late '60's. the 70's, the 80's and so on...)*

    That said, I'm not particularly nuts about autographs on guitars. Just my preference, though. Certainly there are those who'd pay extra for your guitar, as well as those who'd pass it by because of the signatures.

    * BTW, I have no dog in this fight-- the acoustics I own are all '90's Collings and Santa Cruz.
  10. musicofanatic5

    musicofanatic5 Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2006
    New England
  11. zombywoof

    zombywoof Member

    Jun 22, 2006

    Not totally BS. I was working for a music shop and we had what seemed to be a high number of Martins come though with neck and intonation issues. The owner who had been in the business since the early 1950s kept saying he had never seen anything like this before from Martin.

    But if you got one which did not have neck problems than you had a very good chance of getting yourself a nice sounding and playing guitar.

    I would think the signatures, considering whose they are, would not hurt the value of the instrument.

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