The 000 Perry Bechtel Special
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What Happened to the Original?

What Happened to the first 14-fret Martin guitar?

We don't know what happened to Perry's original 000-28 Special. With a bound neck on a Style 28 body, and a slotted headstock with Style 45 "torch" inlay, it would be quickly recognized as a something out of the ordinary, but there's no indication it has ever surfaced.

Here's what we do know: The guitar was at least initially owned by Cable Piano Co., and not by Perry himself. He had been borrowing a 000-28 from Cable while he was working there as a salesman and the surviving letters suggest that his custom Martin was to replace that standard 000. Most of C. F. Martin's correspondence files from 1930 and '31 are missing, including anything regarding Cable Piano Co. We know Martin went to the trouble to have a steel stamp made that reads "Made Especially For Cable Piano Co."because impressions made with that stamp are in Martin's archives. Unfortunately, no instruments with this stamp have ever surfaced, so we can't say for certain that it was intended to be used on 000-28 Special models similar to Perry's, although that seems logical.

Cable Piano Co was a huge five-story building. The first floor was mostly sales, and parts of two floors were devoted to lessons while another floor included a repair shop and facilities for piano finishing (most likely refinishing). On November 19, 1936 a fire started in the finishing department and the Cable building was destroyed. Three people died in the blaze, which was front page news in The Atlanta Constitution the following day. If Perry had left Cable's employ without taking the 000-28 Special guitar with him, there's a chance it went up in flames along with most of the rest of Cable's inventory. Even though Perry was no longer a salesman at the music store his business card lists "studio at Cables," so he continued to teach lessons there. Photos in Perry's scrapbook suggest that by the time of that fire, Perry was playing archtop Gibsons so his prototype may have been sold long before Cable went up in smoke.

Gryphon Stringed Instruments

The 000-28 Perry Bechtel Special
is a custom run of guitars made by the C.F. Martin Custom Shop
and commissioned by Gryphon Stringed Instruments
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