Inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame in 1996, Major Kealakai was a guitar, trombone, and flute player trained by the Royal Hawaiian Band. In 1916, Martin to built a unique custom guitar for the major—wider, deeper, and longer than a 000, this historic guitar was designed to be louder to help fill concert halls. Along with the guitars made for Oliver Ditson, the Major's guitar helped bring about the Martin Dreadnought.
Martin honors Major Kealakai with this Limited Edition 12-fret guitar, made in the Custom Shop. Martin calls this model a "K-1," and its unique 12-fret body measures 21" long and 15-1/2" across at the lower bout. That's just slightly bigger than a 12-fret 000, which is 20-7/16" long and 15" wide. At the end block, the K-1 is 5" deep—and that's even deeper than a modern dreadnought. Combined with the 25.4" scale length, the 12-fret neck positions the bridge closer to the widest part of the top.
The K-1 Major Kealakai features a VTS (torrefied) Adirondack Spruce top, and Sinker Mahogany back and sides. In addition to the VTS top, it shares a lot of the Authentic Series specs, such as a Vintage Gloss finish, Authentic 1931 neck profile, Authentic 1931 X-Bracing, Golden Age Relic tuners, and hide glue construction. While guitar aficionados will immediately notice the unique body shape, everyone will notice the eye-catching bridge design. With Madagascar Rosewood binding around the top and back, this guitar is classy and stylish without the over-the-top pearl inlay found on a lot of Custom Shop creations. This guitar stands out—both in appearance and in sound!
This K-1 Major Kealakai produces a big, bold sound. It is more balanced and articulate than a dreadnought, but it produces more volume and power than a 000. It's a deeply responsive guitar, too—even a light touch produces beautiful, bell-like tones. The 1-7/8" nut width and wide dynamic range make this guitar a great choice for fingerstyle, but it barks and projects across the room with a pick.
- Body Size: K 12-Fret
- Construction: Dovetail Neck Joint
- Top: Adirondack Spruce with VTS (Torrefied)
- Back & Sides: Sinker Mahogany
- Adhesive: Hide Glue
- Finish: Vintage Gloss
- Bracing Pattern: Authentic 1931 X Brace
- Brace Shape: Scalloped
- Braces: VTS Adirondack Spruce, 5/16"
- Scale Length: 25.4"
- Top & Back Binding: Madagascar Rosewood
- Bridge: Ebony Custom Major Kealakai
- Saddle: Compensated Bone, 2-5/16" Spacing
- Bridge Pins: Ebony w/ Abalone dots
Nut Width: 1-7/8"
- Neck: Genuine Mahogany
- Neck Shape: Authentic 1931
- Fingerboard: Ebony
- Fingerboard Inlay: Old-Style 18 Authentic 1931 Abalone dots
- Headstock Shape: Slotted w/ Round Slots, 1931 Taper and Diamond
- Headplate Material: Madagascar Rosewood
- Tuning Machines: Golden Age Relic Nickel Side Mount
Heads Up: There is a slight finish inconsistency on the treble side of the neck heel. Purely cosmetic, but worth mentioning. Also, while Harptone cases offer really nice protection, the key latches can be a little tricky.