4/15/2016

1946 Martin 0-17T Flattop Tenor Guitar




I have a real soft spot for Martin's 0-17T and 0-15T tenor guitars. They have that mids-rich, woody mahogany Martin tone combined with a punchy vibe that only comes from the short scale and foreshortened body shape. This '46 is no slouch and has a great combination of punch and warmth with the usual "creamed-off" treble and bass you'd expect of a mahogany-top Martin.

It's lightly-built along the lines of prewar 17-series instruments but has a bigger, more D/U-shaped neck and a generous nut width which gives it a lot more of a comfortable string spread for the fingerpickers among us. Playability is spot-on with 1/16" action at the 12th fret. I've set it up for DGBE tuning at the moment.


Work on this one included installing a replacement bridge, a fret level/dress, a lube and "new" replacement buttons for the tuners, a new saddle, cleaning, and a good setup.

It had some old work done to it in the past including a couple of functional (but slightly sloppy) seam repairs to the back/side edges and an extra coat of finish on the back of the neck. I'm pretty sure that's the only bit that had an overspray/coat, though the guitar itself certainly has plenty of "patina" by way of playwear all over.


The headstock (with Brazilian rosewood veneer) has a filled hole right in the middle of it. Strap hanger -- maybe? Note the scratches from years of use... and a bone nut -- old but probably not original.


The board is flat-profile Brazilian rosewood with original brass frets and ivoroid dots.


Don't you love the look of those old pickguards?


The original bridge was split, poorly reglued, and poorly repaired -- so I tossed it. I rescued this Brazilian rosewood tenor guitar bridge from my parts-bin (it's from off of a '20s Oscar Schmidt tenor) and repurposed it for this Martin with a new, compensated, drop-in saddle slot and slightly-relocated pinholes. The pins are new ebony ones.

Note also the small crack in front of the bridge on the top. It's been filled/glued-up in the past and runs directly over all the bracing in that area so isn't a worry at all.


At some point there was a jack or volume knob installed over here. It's been filled and patched on the underside. When this came in there was a weird wooden "dome" to the fill job that I cut off.




This one has definitely been around a bit, but it's in overall good "player's" condition.


The tuner buttons are replacements off of some old '60s strip tuners, but these are the original open-backed Klusons. The original buttons would've been white (but were shrunken, cracked, and falling apart), so I figured "why not" use the same?



The mahogany is plain but good quality.


This is on the back, lower-bout side seam. It's repaired and filled in the past but has a slight overlap. I mention for completeness' sake. The picture makes it look open, but it's not.


Here's another slight overlap on another old-repaired seam on the back/side lower-bout.






I added a new ebony endpin.


A '70s Martin 00-size hard case comes with it. There's some extra padding installed (with matching trim) to fit the body-shape better but it's not glued into the case.

No comments: