1966 Martin GT-70
Martin first started experimenting with thin-line, hollow, f-hole electrics in 1961 when they introduced three models, the single pickup F-50, the double pickup F-55 and the double pickup, double cutaway F-65. These shapes of these three guitars were based on the silhouette of Martin’s 1930s F series of archtop guitars, and they each had specially designed DeArmond pickups. The three F models featured sunburst finishes, non-adjustable necks and a fairly sedate styling that quickly looked out of date as the 1960s progressed. In 1965 Martin discontinued the F series of electrics in favor of the upgraded GT series, which featured the GT-70 seen here and the double cutaway GT-75. The new guitars came in black, maroon and the red finish on this example, colors that seem conservative today but for Martin in 1966, they must have looked pretty radical. Also, the two GT guitars were the first Martins to have adjustable truss-rods, a feature that wouldn’t appear on the rest of the line until 1985.
I used to have a black GT-75 and while it was very well made and it played quite well, I thought the pickups were a bit too bright sounding for my taste. Sadly, it was stolen. Martin made 453 GT-70 and 750 GT-75s, respectable numbers for the two years they were in production. It seems likely Martin would have continued to make them for a bit longer but the demand for their standard flattop guitars was growing so quickly that they couldn’t really spare the time and space at the factory to make these new-fangled instruments. These days they are fairly scarce and even seasoned Martin collectors don’t always realize that Martin made electric guitars. This particular GT-70 in on eBay with an opening bid of $1800. The auction ends on March, 17, 2014.
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