3/25/2015

1956 Martin 00-18 Flattop Guitar




Another 50s gem, here! 00-size guitars of any stripe are always among my favorites because they fit right in the middle of clarity and extra low-end vs. a smaller guitar. They're just very practical and do well for both flatpicking and fingerpicking. This old 00-18 has reserve volume and punch to spare and is crack-free save a couple of super-tight 1" hairlines on the back.

Work included a fret level/dress, new bone saddle, replacement endpin, and a little bit of bridge clean-up. This originally had a couple of pearl dots installed to hide two mini-bolts (like Gibson-style ones) in the bridge which I removed. I then filled the holes and lightly sanded and polished the bridge back up. It plays like a champ: 3/32" bass and 1/16" treble action at the 12th fret and it's authoritative and confident in tone.




It's also a looker with fairly clean finish save for the smattering of pickwear along the upper bout.


Original bone nut...


The frets only needed a little bit off so they still have great height and feel nice under the fingers.


The pickguard is that pretty red 50s stuff. There were a few tiny "grain separation" not-quite-hairline thingies going on at the treble edge of the pickguard. I filled them (they weren't through) and they're hard to see, even in the full-res pic. This is pretty usual for glued-on pickguards.


I'm pretty sure the black pins are later than the guitar itself. The saddle certainly is -- because I made it. It's compensated for good intonation up the neck.





The metal-buttoned tuners sure are spiffy... in a nickel-plated sorta way. After a lube they work just fine, too.







Nice and clean, huh?

I'm always attracted to the tortoise binding on these. So glowy!



I replaced the missing endpin with an ebony one.


And the period Excelsior hard case? It's in super shape, has an arched lid, and fits well. It's really nice to see a good case with one of these as so many just have their chip cases in tow.


Slick!

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