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Guitar Player
Encore -- Hank Risan's 1938 Sunburst D-45

Feb 1992
by Tom Wheeler

Link to Guitar Player Magazine

ll pre-war D-45s are noteworthy, to say the least, but serial number 71663 is remarkable even among that regal group of Martins. A glance tells you why: It's a sunburst, perhaps the only one. Owner Hank Risan, of Washington Street Music, Santa Cruz, California, considers it the forerunner of the modern D-45 because it has hexagon inlays instead of snowflakes.

    Hanks's theory is reasonable, Mike Longworth, author of Martin Guitars: A History, elaborates: "1939 is considered the year when D-45s went to hexagons regularly, 71663 comes from the last batch of 45s made in 1938. The 45 made just before it and the one just after it both had snowflakes, so this may indeed be the first with hexagons. They built it on custom order and seemed to have liked the idea and stuck with it. There's no way to verify that it's the only sunburst, but it's the only one I'm aware of."

   Formerly owned by author/repairman Don Teeter, the Brazilian rosewood sunburst D-45 also sports a tortoiseshell headstock veneer, engraved Grover tuners with the Martin M, and a factory-original F-9 style fingerboard with alternating black/white borders.End

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