1/31/2015

1941 Martin 00-17 Flattop Guitar




Update December 2015: Photos are updated and parts of the description, too.

Talk about your box of chocolate! This pretty old gal plays spot-on, has original and gorgeous finish, and has that classic airy, powerful, clean sound that mahogany Martins are known for. It's also just prewar and enjoys that same lightweight, thoroughbred build that gives this a good, rich lower-mids boost of warmth.

It's pretty, too, huh?


The guitar is crack-free except for a 1" hairline to the treble side of the pickguard (on the top) which is glued-up. There are a couple of very tight tiny hairlines on the upper bout side (bass side) which are pictured below. They're good to go.

That said: what a stunner! It's shocking how clean this one is. There are the usual minor scuffs and scratches from use and some pickwear above the pickguard (and on it), but nothing that makes you think this is truly old until you start looking up-close and seeing the fine-grain weatherchecking and whatnot. It was certainly kept very well.


An original nut and rosewood headstock veneer adorn the headstock. A note on the tuners: these are period Kluson units identical to ones used on these guitars but they're actually not original to the guitar. This guitar had Rotomatic-style tuners installed at some point but I rectified that when installing these old tuners (they match the original footprints) by using oversize ferrules that I drilled-out to fit the vintage large shafts. The creamy-white buttons aren't original but are from an older 60s set of vintage tuners and they simply look closer than some sort of new repro buttons which is why I used them.

This has a 1 11/16" nut width with a very fast soft-v shape to the neck profile. The neck itself is dead straight under tension with 12s strung up.


I leveled and dressed the frets so they're good to go. The Brazilian rosewood board has some pitting in first position but nothing that distracts. I love me them mini dots.



The bridge is not original but it does look like Brazilian rosewood. I recently (Dec 2015) recut the saddle slot to allow a wider (new) bone saddle for better compensation. At the same time I swapped-out for ebony bridge pins. The (original?) old pins are in the case.



In this pic you can see that spot of pickwear above the pickguard a bit better and some of the minor usewear scratching. Awfully pretty!



Here are those period Kluson units again. They work swell.




There's a bit of buckle-wear on the back.





What else can I say? It's a 00-size all-mahogany Martin. I love these things. They speak for themselves when you get them under the pick!


Here's a tiny little "ding" impact ring at the bass upper bout side.


Here's a tight little hairline right next to that on the shoulder. I can't find either of these on the inside.


There's a scuff over here.




This is a bit of light scratching on the treble side lower bout.



The guitar comes with a period (maybe original?) chip case that serves for storage but isn't anything to write home about.

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