5/29/2015

1947 Martin 0-17 Flattop Guitar




Here's a nice old chocolate-flavored sweetie. This one's serial dates it to 1947 and it's certainly got that 40s charm. After work it plays perfectly, has tons of volume, and flatpicks just as well as it fingerpicks. The typical mahogany "rolled off bass and treble" is there and it's got a striking amount of juicy mids. It's all-original save for replacement pins all around and a layer of overspray (old work) on the back of the neck. What can I say? It's a pretty old no-frills gal and ready to go.



The top is crack-free. Like usual per 17-series specs, this has a gloss finish but no binding. The body and neck are both solid mahogany and the bridge and fretboard are Brazilian rosewood.

Work included a fret level/dress, cleaning, the new pins, and a bit of adjustment at the bridge (which I'll note in a sec).


Nice headstock veneer and bone nut... this has the standard 24.9" scale, 1 11/16" nut width, and a hybird C/V neck shape that's fairly fast but slightly bulkier than your average (super-fast, modern-feeling) 40s neck. It's more like a 50s neck to my hands.


Someone had evidently worked-over the frets a while back but didn't do too much damage. They did put some scritchy-scratchy in the board which I have lightly sanded and polished out for the most part. I then leveled/dressed the frets and they're almost full height and feel good. The neck is dead-straight with a regular set of 12s on it and the action height is dialed-in to "perfection" at 3/32" bass and 1/16" treble at the 12th fret.


The original pickguard looks great. There's definitely some pickwear to the top around the soundhole and upper bout but it looks good rather than distracting. Otherwise, there's typical weather-check and use-wear throughout but at a glance the guitar looks pretty darn clean for its age.


The bridge and saddle had been shaved (but accurately-so) when this came in. The top of it didn't "look" right, though, so I lightly sanded, buffed, and sealed the bridge for a more "original" balanced look. I also filled the pin-holes and re-drilled them. This let me get smooth seating for the ball-ends of the strings and helps keep the bridge plate healthy.






After a lube, the tuners are healthy.


Someone put that strap button in there a long time ago and... I left it. All plus to me!


The back of the neck definitely had a coat of overspray on it at some point. It looks and feels original -- it was shot with nitro -- and so doesn't really matter. It's already picked up use-wear over time so at a glance you wouldn't know, but you can see it in some of the old worn spots that were glossied-up by the new coat.




There are only two cracks that I can find on the guitar: a super-tight not-through hairline on the bass lower bout "side" -- I couldn't even snag it in the photo. The other is near the endpin on the side.





The bridge pins may be new cream units, but the endpin is an old 50s one I had in my bins. It matches, though.

Look to the left of that endpin and slightly above -- that dime-width little tiny impact crack is the only other crack on the guitar that I can find. It's been drop-filled and doesn't budge. Not worried.



This comes with an older 00-size hard case. It serves.

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