The Ditson 333 Dreadnaught Realized
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 25 - Jun. 2008
On the drawing board but never produced, the Ditson Style 333 Dreadnaught was originally intended as the most elaborate Dreadnaught model in the first series of unique instruments manufactured by Martin exclusively for the Chas. H. Ditson Store in New York. Under the direction of Ditson’s musical instrument manager, Harry L. Hunt, the initial series of guitars were offered in three different sizes; the Ditson “Standard,” “Concert” and largest model, the “Dreadnaught.” The guitars were also first offered in three different styles, Style 3 being the most ornate.
The Ditson 333 Dreadnaught features a dark stained Adirondack spruce top, similar to the Style 44 guitars Martin was producing during the 1920s for Vahdah Olcott-Bickford. The multiple-bound body is similar to the Martin Style 3 ukulele, as is the bound genuine mahogany back and sides. The ornate shell inlay pattern on the ivoroid-bound ebony fingerboard is special to the Ditson 3-series models, as well as the dark stained mahogany neck embossed with the original Oliver Ditson stamp retrieved from our archives. The Brazilian rosewood headplate is adorned with Waverly Deluxe tuners with ivoroid buttons. The 333 also features a multiple white/ivoroid/black pattern rosette and ivoroid bound soundhole, a striking contrast against the dark stained Adirondack spruce top.
The original spec-sheet Frank Henry Martin created for the Ditson 333 Dreadnaught still resides in our archives and was used for this guitar. Although Martin had produced a handful of Style 3 Ditson guitars in the two smaller Ditson sizes, no records show a 333 Dreadnaught being shipped.
In keeping with tradition, we are now pleased to offer the Ditson 333 Dreadnaught for the very first time, over 90 years since the guitar was first drafted for the New York Ditson store that initiated the original Dreadnaught guitars from Martin.