Martin 2-17 (1923) $1850

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An ideal choice for a couch guitar, this all-mahogany model produces tone and volume that far exceed its humble dimensions.

Originally introduced in 1922 for a list price of $25, the 2-17 found an early adherent in the “Yodeling Brakeman” Jimmie Rodgers, sometimes described as the father of country music. No doubt about it, Rodgers knew tone, but this guitar shines in contexts beyond “T for Texas,” “Blue Yodel No. 3” and other vintage chestnuts.

The mahogany body emits lean tones that are bright but not piercing. The bass frequencies are thick without any hint of flabbiness, and the high end is lively, round, and rich with overtones. We testedthis vintage beauty against a few other parlor guitars and found it to be articulate and robust. On a fingerstyle rendition of “Georgia on My Mind,” the comfortable v-shaped neck invited long stretches and extended voicings. On a flatpicked rendition of “In the Jailhouse Now,” the notes rang beautifully, with an appealing balance between registers.

Refinished top, new bridge and bridgeplate, repaired small crack at bridge. The guitar may require a neck reset in the future (the action is .117 at the 12th fret on the low e string), but at this point, we would leave it as is, because it produces lovely tones and yields abundant volume. Without a doubt, Jimmie Rodgers would be proud. Ships in a new hardshell case. Sold!

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An ideal choice for a couch guitar, this all-mahogany model produces tone and volume that far exceed its humble dimensions.

Originally introduced in 1922 for a list price of $25, the 2-17 found an early adherent in the “Yodeling Brakeman” Jimmie Rodgers, sometimes described as the father of country music. No doubt about it, Rodgers knew tone, but this guitar shines in contexts beyond “T for Texas,” “Blue Yodel No. 3” and other vintage chestnuts.

The mahogany body emits lean tones that are bright but not piercing. The bass frequencies are thick without any hint of flabbiness, and the high end is lively, round, and rich with overtones. We testedthis vintage beauty against a few other parlor guitars and found it to be articulate and robust. On a fingerstyle rendition of “Georgia on My Mind,” the comfortable v-shaped neck invited long stretches and extended voicings. On a flatpicked rendition of “In the Jailhouse Now,” the notes rang beautifully, with an appealing balance between registers.

Refinished top, new bridge and bridgeplate, repaired small crack at bridge. The guitar may require a neck reset in the future (the action is .117 at the 12th fret on the low e string), but at this point, we would leave it as is, because it produces lovely tones and yields abundant volume. Without a doubt, Jimmie Rodgers would be proud. Ships in a new hardshell case. Sold!