This unusual (and somewhat obscure) ’60s electric may not be an iconic guitar per se, but it does represent a bold experiment that an iconic guitar maker, Martin, took a gamble on as the ’60s pop revolution took off.
Launched the same year Bob Dylan infamously ‘betrayed’ the Newport Folk Festival audience by going electric with a Stratocaster, the writing already appeared to be on the wall for guitar makers who had no electrics to offer, as rock ’n’ roll got louder and janglier.
While there was no shortage of artists continuing to use classic Martin Dreadnoughts in ’65, the Nazareth, Pennsylvania company clearly felt it needed to move with the changing times and its answer was the GT‑75 Moth semi-hollow electric guitar.
Equipped with a pair of DeArmond model 2000 pickups, the GT-75 had a 22-fret neck with a slim profile and a Brazilian mahogany fretboard.
It’s tempting to think that the guitar must have been a dud to have slipped off the radar so comprehensively over time, but Terry Carleton of Guitar Player magazine inspected a surviving vintage example for his ‘Whack Jobs’ column on cult-following guitars and was surprised by how effective it was as a design.
“I was expecting to give it a lacklustre review and brusquely toss it into the proverbial pile of unsuccessful builds from the 1960s guitar boom. Boy howdy, was I wrong! This axe is just plain off-the-hook awesome,” he enthused, citing the GT-75’s “complex and chimey sound” as its most engaging quality.
High praise, indeed. But sadly there were few takers for the GT-75 and production ceased after a scant two years in 1967. This vibey example of the ill-fated Moth belonged to British blues icon Peter Green and sold for £3,200 at the June 2023 ‘Man Of The World’ auction of his guitars at Bonhams, London.