Old Martin Guitar - Smashed during filming of The Hateful Eight

Well either it’s a $5000 guitar or it’s irreplaceable.

If it’s irreplaceable then you don’t lend it out without precautions. Martin is not a “victim” Some people have been on the great debates forum too much. (Maybe if the thing didn’t have those pretty new strings on it that wouldn’t have happened)

If it’s a $5000 axe then if Martin wasn’t in on it being destroyed I’d be surprised;

The filmmakers already got their moneys worth out of this from news sites and this thread where we are hand wringing over it.

Wow - cynical much?

Look, Martins have a monetary value, fine. But ones that have survived 140 years are really amazing, beautiful instruments.


Here’s an “online museum” featuring the guitars in photographer Robert Corwin’s collection. Scroll down to “Chapter 25” and you will see examples of guitars from 1870 or so. I don’t know if those photos are more porn for guitar geeks or woodworking nuts - the craftsmanship going into these guitars is just humbling.

To guitar geeks like me, I don’t care how much a guitar that old and beautifully crafted “is worth” - it is a priceless piece of history. I believe Martin is framing their reaction that way. The fact that the guitars don’t quite sound “modern” and therefore command a relatively lower price in the market is not the point, nor is the insurance.

As I have tried to relate, but will state explicitly here: Martin are known for being very open. I know many people who have accessed their archives, their museum of instruments, gotten support on research from them, etc. I would be more inclined to think they simply thought they were doing a fun, easy thing and it went sideways, and they are responding to the guitar lovers who went :eek: to make it clear that they agree. Not that big of a deal and not a cynical marketing ploy. Eesh.

Well, Word you have to admit that $5000 is nothing compared to the publicity, for both Tarantino and Martin I might add;

and that if it was unique in design among extant guitars in the world and could not be replaced by any purchase they probably wouldn’t have lent it, and it would be described as worth much more than that somewhere.

I can appreciate that.

But really, both issues (not having “adequate” insurance in a monetary sense, and lending out valuable cultural relics as movie props whatever the insurance level) are examples of the same problem - namely, the failure to be adequately prepared for a reasonably foreseeable risk.

It can be tough to draw the line, clearly Martin wants guitar fans to have the experience of handling the instruments and sees that as a valuable part of its mission, which requires accepting a certain amount of risk to the objects. It seems this experience has convinced them that movie rentals are a risk too far, which is fair enough. But not, I think, unexpected. Guitar fans can be expected to be a lot less risky to the items than movie crews.

Martin doesn’t need or want this kind of publicity. They came out with “it was priceless!” because the initial report stated that Martin simply asked if they needed a second guitar, and geeks went “Wha?!”. They care a lot more about their reputation with guitar lovers than some broader name-check due to this accident.

Malthus - yes, that is what is weird. As I have repeated a lot, Martin lets folks put their hands on their museum guitars regularly. I have to assume they have plenty of insurance, but perhaps focused on playwear accidents vs. Townshend-ing one.

Well, there is no company that doesn’t care about consumers buying what they produce, and that doesn’t need to advertise and stay current. They have been around for almost 200 years. They are big boys now, and part of a competitive marketplace. They are not naive about lending out old guitars. And I don’t think they are coasting on the goodwill of guitar connoisseurs.

Martin only gains reflected benefits off the used guitar market. Some of these guitar collectors have never bought a new Martin. Maybe even you, dare I say. What guitar lover would think less of the company’s guitars because of this?

There is no one who looks bad or loses in this scenario. That says something very meaningful to me.

For me when I see that movie I am going to be waiting for that moment and really enjoying it; not out of destructiveness, just curiosity. This is great post production investment for the movie and great publicity for a guitar company.

Yes, I have bought new Martins.

Here is what Robert Corwin, the collector and photographer I linked to above, had to say about it. I posted to the thread on the Vintage Corner messageboard, where I am also WordMan:

[including my post to that thread, which he quoted in his reply] WordMan wrote:
I believe this era of Martin guitars are going for $3,000 - $$6,000, in general. Dick Boak’s FB comments describe the guitar as “priceless.”

To be clear: as a huge Martin fan, it is priceless as a wonderful instrument that had lasted this long.

But do we have a sense for how straightforward it might be to have Martin replace this guitar in their museum timeline? Did it have an attribute or two that are particularly uncommon in the pool of Civil War-era Martins that are still around?

I was shocked and disturbed by this story. But in all honesty, Wordman has it right. This guitar is neither “priceless” nor irreplaceable. For the entire 1870’s and '80’s Martin was making indistinguishable cookie cutter guitars, and virtually no custom orders. I can’t think of a single priceless 1870’s Martin. And even if there were one, a priceless Martin would not have been appropriate for folks living in the time and conditions of this story line.

It may have been easier and possibly cheaper for the filmmakers to purchase three identical 1870 0-18 Martins than to borrow a guitar and make replicas. And with a value of $3 to $6K, why cry over the negligible difference between the full replacement value and the actual insured cost, which might pay a publicist for a few hours at best.

So, it sounds like Martin is overspinning their reaction, I am assuming because of how they were initially portrayed.

Here is something funny about real expensive guitars - a lot of the people who buy them are not pro musicians. They are people like doctors, lawyers, bankers, etc. with a lot of money who just want a status symbol.

Musicians with a lot of money often use regular guitars since they don’t need to impress anyone with their equipment. They use what sounds good to them.

The gradation I’ve seen with actual musician collectors is usually:

1.) “Here’s the 1962 Fender Telecaster John Mayall played on The Turning Point. Ummm…careful there about handling it. In fact why don’t you step back a couple feet.”

2.) “Here’s the deluxe Stratocaster I use on stage. Beauty, isn’t she - check out this tone.”

3.) “Here’s the beat-up old Mexican Telecaster I use to practice with, that I picked up cheap at an estate sale. Here - catch!”

Wilco was on Colbert last night. Jeff Tweedy played a '61 Gibson SG/Les Paul and then sang Stephen to be playing a lullaby on a 1930 Gibson Kel Kroyden which I have discussed on the SDMB previously. Each are $10K guitars.

This topic is discussed regularly on guitar boards. Yes doctors and lawyers buy vintage. But it is also likely that musicians who are great players have great gear, like bluegrassers who have nothing to their name but a '40’s Martin. Most of us are passionate about the instrument and have a deep appreciation for what we have been able to acquire. I hope that comes through in my posts on this board.

You like guitars? Huh. Never noticed.

As a point of reference and interesting coincidence, this post just popped up on my Facebook feed. Mike McCready of Pearl Jam buying a '59 Les Paul…

Are there people out there who’d be cynical and devious enough to execute a plot such as this? Well, as long as Karl Rove’s and Dick Cheney are alive, there’s at least a couple.

But they’re vastly outnumbered by people who innocently make bonehead mistakes. So for us to accept the idea of some duplicitous scheme as the default assumption would be to come dangerously close to expressing a preference for conspiracy theories over reality. We need more evidence.

Unless, of course, you’re telling us that Rove and Cheney dreamed up the whole plot, in which case you’ve made a convincing case for summary execution.

This is basically correct, except for one point: the playing of the guitar and the smashing of the guitar are, very likely, two (or many more) distinct shots. So it’s very plausible that, by the time the guitar smashing shot is ready to roll, the prop man has handed the actor that old Martin dozens or hundreds of times, and therefore he’s already acquired a habit of reaching for that particular guitar.

It’s for this reason that you never store the Bengay creme next to the toothpaste.

Ah, Emerald City guitars - pricey (not that McCready needs to care) in the old town but with good inventory. Yeah, Mike Campbell finally got around to getting a 'burst, too.

Yeah, it’s a sickness. But when I start some thread like this, there ends up being a discussion, so I have to assume more than a few Dopers have some guitar geekery, too :wink:

All shots are distinct, and made many times over. Guitars are handled by professional prop masters and such. You want to make scenarios about it OK. We don’t know what happened, or whose error might have caused it. But I am just looking at what’s reported with open eyes. It is not a big expense or historical loss.

The only thing we really know is that the principles agreed was destroyed and it has created a news story, and a lot of guitar in jeopardy discussion, and lots of attention for two large business entities. That’s what I think happened.

If I was making the movie I would spend the 6K and smash the guitar, and tell people about it. If I was Martin I would not be against smashing old Martins as long as they are bought and paid for. I’m a business and I want to sell new ones.

So how much was it? and which one of the two was it that he bought? Am I just supposed to know the details on a '59 LP?

Yeah, I used to work across the street. Dangerous place to hang out over lunch.

Couple hundred grand, easy. Jay doesn’t put the prices of the really exiting guitars on his website.

Edit: doesn’t always put the prices up. I’d like to have this guitar, and he’s priced it online.

Jeez, where did he find an under-the-bed mint '55 Strat?

I totally get your lust, but I struggle with “closet queens,” collectible guitars in such great condition I don’t feel I can play them. I happened into a 1955 Gretsch Country Club in that condition and owned it for a few years. With Gretsch’s rep for finishes that show wear if you look at them funny and neck joints which are always solid, I could never feel comfortable.

I ended up trading it for a newer U.S. Strat and a good acoustic - got me on my way in terms of focusing on guitars I am going to play.

drad dog both guitars McCready is holding appear to be old 'bursts. Per Pork Rind, they will go for $200,000 each, minimum and that would be with an issue or two. Prices have rebounded for the tippy-top most desired old guitars, so a good one could be back in the $300K+ range.