“I was expecting to toss it into the pile of unsuccessful builds from the 1960s guitar boom. Boy howdy, was I wrong!” Meet the Martin GT‑75 Moth – the iconic acoustic company’s 1967 semi-hollow electric experiment

1967 Martin Moth
(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

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.  

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Jamie Dickson

Jamie Dickson is Editor-in-Chief of Guitarist magazine, Britain's best-selling and longest-running monthly for guitar players. He started his career at the Daily Telegraph in London, where his first assignment was interviewing blue-eyed soul legend Robert Palmer, going on to become a full-time author on music, writing for benchmark references such as 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and Dorling Kindersley's How To Play Guitar Step By Step. He joined Guitarist in 2011 and since then it has been his privilege to interview everyone from B.B. King to St. Vincent for Guitarist's readers, while sharing insights into scores of historic guitars, from Rory Gallagher's '61 Strat to the first Martin D-28 ever made.