Magazine article Guitar Player

Pawnshop Prize: Martin GT-70

Magazine article Guitar Player

Pawnshop Prize: Martin GT-70

Article excerpt

Martin was an old and well established company when it began flirting with electrified instruments in the late 1950s. Looking to get in on some of the amplified action that Fender, Gibson, Guild, and Gretsch were so enjoying at the time, Martin got with it by simply putting DeArmond pickups into some of its standard acoustics. The resulting D-18E, D-28E, and 00-18E models looked pretty strange with pickups--not to mention those big plastic knobs that the company must have gotten from a local electronics store. But these initial steps paved the way for the development of Martin's F series thinline archtops (1962 to 1965), as well as the GT-70 and GT-75 models, which came to the fore in 1966 and lasted until 1968.

The GT-70 is a sweet-looking thing with its black lacquer finish, white pickguard, and big, flared headstock, and Martin thoughtfully used an overlay of rosewood on the peghead to bring some woody contrast to the mix. The funky shapes that jump out from the pickup covers and tailpiece are totally off the hook, and the entire perimeter of the guitar is stylishly trimmed in single- and multi-ply binding.

With its slim, 22-fret bolt-on neck, the GT-70 is a nice player, too. It's light and well balanced, and, dispite the timid cutaway, you can reach the high notes with no trouble. The Bigsby trem has a very soft action, which is great for working in subtle pitch bends, and the roller-style bridge (which resembles a Gretsch Space Control unit) and polished bone nut help keep the tuning stable. …

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