Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Carter Vintage Guitars

Ok, I made it Nashville for the October camp. The weather is spectacular - sunny, 80 degrees, just beautiful. Having grown up in the Ohio River Valley, I know that October is THE best month of the year in this area, and Nashville is not disappointing me on that front (no pun intended…)

The highlight of my day today was visiting Carter Vintage Guitars. I took my own guitar in with me so that I could compare it straight up with the Martin guitars I’ve always heard so much about. The folks at the store were fantastic. I spent a couple hours picking away. The more I kept playing, the more they kept bringing out guitars as we focused on what my guitar can do and what I might want in a different guitar. Man was that fun! The penultimate guitar was a $25,000 Martin D28 that was once owned by Ricky Skaggs. The ultimate guitar I played today was the 1937 D28 that was priced at $75,000!

I think I’m just about up to the level of competence where I can recognize what good really is. (Kind of like the way a single digit handicap golfer is barely good enough to appreciate just how crazy good the pros are). Anyway, what I thought today was that these guitars really do sound different but the differences only shine if you can push them. I can see how if you were a pro making a living at playing then having one of these tools in your toolbox would be a requirement. But for me, it would be an extravagance. Still, maybe someday…

As a geeky math/engineery kind of guy, here’s my graph of today’s experience…



Thanks for the insight @rich. I’m more on the mandolin and fiddle playing side but that sounds like an AWESOMELY FUN way to spend an afternoon.


Make it a point to visit Gruhn guitars as well. All of his vintage and collectible instruments are on the second floor as well. Both are pretty amazing places!


Cool! Carter’s was closed for covid when I was there


You played a $75,000 guitar!?!

Did you happen to notice if there was a sign in the store that says “You break it, you bought it?” :flushed:


Yeah, I was being SUPER careful for sure!!! That said, these guitars have been played. A lot. They’re nicked up, scratched, worn, been worked on, etc. So cosmetically, you couldn’t really hurt them, LOL.


Glad they’re back open. Like Gunnar said, they were closed back in July.

Hope y’all have a blast at camp! Sure am going to miss you.


Carters is my favorite guitar store in Nashville. Never been able to make to the upstairs of Gruhns, but if I did it might take the cake. I played a 1936 D-18 last time I was there, next time I’m there I’m hoping to play a prewar D-28. Ya know, if you put it on a payment plan a prewar Martin won’t cost any more than a new car monthly. Maybe someday…


And would most likely be worth more after your debt is over with than what you you originally paid… unlike a new car which would be worth less than half of what you paid for it originally! Plus… the Martin wouldn’t cost you an arm and leg for gas, tires, constant wash jobs (cause it’s new you know) and other maintenance! And of course with any vintage instrument, you don’t have to worry about that first scratch, ding or dent (like you do a car) and will bring joy to you for the rest of your life (no matter how old you are)!

I say trade in the new Lexus for a Martin!


I agree 100%! Now if I only had a new lexus to trade in😂