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The 000 Perry Bechtel Special
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Article - The 14-Fret Bet
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What else is in the case?

Perry Bechtel Scrap BookOur research on this guitar turned up a mountain of amazing material that we felt we wanted to share. When we contacted Perry's granddaughter we discovered that Perry's original, personal scrapbook was still around. Here was a collection of photographs from a long and varied career in music, all bundled in a scrapbook that had been stashed in an attic for decades.

Once we got Perry's scrapbook from his granddaughter, this project took on a life of its own. Maybe we should say, it took on a life of Perry's own as we learned more about the man. From the granddaughter we learned that Perry was a devoted family man. She recalled him teaching lessons for most of the day, playing gigs until the wee hours of the morning and still getting up early to fix her breakfast.

Bechtel Scrapbook 1By sheer coincidence, Gryphon's State Farm Insurance agent from years ago was also an excellent plectrum banjo player. As a young man he was an aspiring plectrum banjo player who idolized Perry Bechtel. He told tales of what a tireless communicator Perry had been and how Perry would send long letters of encouragement and advice to this young player on the other side of the continent whom he hardly knew.

Bechtel Scrapbook 2At some point, amidst all of these heartfelt stories of his brilliance as a player and generosity as a person, we decided that we should reproduce the scrapbook. Perry Bechtel deserved more than having just his name on a label buried within a couple of dozen guitars. The man was more than just those moments when he helped design the first 14-fret 000 Martin and we want you to have some of that too.

Bechtel Scrapbook 3We reproduced the scrap book to be as close to the original as we could. It is 12 by 13 inches. The cover is letterpress-printed on a laminated, heavy cover stock. The 12 inside pages are of a heavy stock with the photographs hand tipped in. And such photos! Lots of photos from all stages of Perry's long career. There's even a copy of his obituary notice on the final page with a photo of Perry in his twilight years looking as handsome as ever. This is a lovely, hand-assembled piece. There were no staples or glue-sticks involved in it's making, just lots of careful work.

Bechtel Scrapbook 4The CD is just as beautiful. The "cover" for the CD is also printed by an old-style letter press and die-cut from the same paper as you will find inside of the scrapbook. The CD itself has a photo of the young Perry Bechtel on it. There are only two songs on the CD, but they give the listener a good idea of the phenomenal technique that had wowed C. F. Martin and Frank Henry Martin when Perry visited the factory in Nazareth, back in the summer of 1929.

Bechtel Scrapbook 5The CD, the scrapbook and the guitar. All of the items in this grouping were created with the utmost attention and care. Together they highlight a remarkable turning point of the Martin Guitar company and the man who inspired the first 14-fret Martin OOO-28.



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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