11/01/2015

1974 Martin 0-16NY 0-Size 12-Fret Guitar




It seems like my shop has a lot of "multiples" that fly in around the same time. After recently fixing up a '69 New Yorker, this painfully-clean '74 came in on consignment. It needed a bridge reglue, fret level/dress, and good setup but was otherwise in almost untouched condition. I very rarely get stuff in this clean.

If you're not in the know, these 0-16NY models are intended as pseudo-copies of late-20s, early-30s Martin 0-18s save that they've got a satin finish, no back binding, and no fretboard dots. Also... rosewood bridges and fretboards. No matter, though, because the guts of the build (lightly x-braced spruce top, mahogany back and sides, shorter 24.9" scale) definitely give it that '30s 12-fret Martin sound. This one is no slouch in the tone department and sounds gorgeous. Standard "New Yorker" rules apply, though, in that one has to use the very lightest steel gauges (46w-10) to keep them safe and happy. As such one mostly finds these in fingerpicking circles.



Crack-free and clean-clean-clean! There's very minor finish lining on the bass upper bout and a few spare, tiny dings (as well as a little finish edge-wear on the rear lower bout edge), but this really could've been made this year at a glance. It looks like a near-new guitar.

It plays perfectly after work with a straight neck, 3/32" low E&A and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret.


Nice rosewood headstock veneer! The nut is 1 7/8" and the board is lightly-radiused. The neck has a mild C-shaped profile that recalls the thin front/back size of 30s guitars but with the faster playability (and perhaps a little more classical influence?) of the 60s/70s necks.


The frets are freshly leveled/dressed and nearly full height.



Crisp, crisp, crisp!


The saddle is low but the bridge is in great shape. The pinhole edges have a tiny amount of tearout on the low E and D strings but you can't see it for the bridge pins. After regluing I also filled/redrilled the pinholes to make sure the strings were seated nice and securely at the ball-ends and added mild string-ramps behind the saddle. The saddle itself is now fully-compensated.


The mahogany back and sides look glorious in that afternoon light, huh?




The center seam has a little bit of crickle-crackle right on the black insert but is good and stable (these are "cleated" the whole length of the back by linings, anyhow).





The original tuners recall 1930s Waverlies.



The black plastic pins are all original...


...as is the 70s-familiar blue-grey Maartin molded hard case.

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