6/10/2016

1958 Martin 0-18 Flattop Guitar





This is a little brawler, for sure! As a '58 it blends the features of '50s Martins with those of the early '60s. The neck is a little bigger and rounder on the back, the tone emphasizes lower-mids and a "creamy" top-end, and yet the classic look and sound remains. I think this one got a lot of play, too, as its voice is quite opened-up. It's one of those guitars that, as you strum it first-off, responds and doesn't need any warm-up time.

It's also original save for a new (taller) bone saddle, newer ebony pins all-around, and a bit of light overspray just on the body. My own repairs included a neck reset, fret level/dress, and cleats for a pickguard crack near the edge on the top and and cleats for a previously-repaired hairline crack on the back. I also made a couple of different (compensated) bone saddles in addition to the original saddle which I managed to pull-out and save. The neck is straight and it plays spot-on at 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret, strung with 12s.



As a '58, the headstock veneer, fretboard, and bridge are still Brazilian rosewood. The nut is 1 11/16" and, as stated, the neck profile is a bigger, rounder, almost entirely-C shape (sorta like an early-50s Gibson, really) with just a hint of the usual Martin soft-V in the first few frets.

The usual style-18 appointments for the time abound -- spruce over mahogany, x-braced in the '50s manner (a little sturdier but not stiff), and tortoise binding.


The frets have plenty of life left in them.



The original bridge is, thankfully, unmodified. I did fill/redrill the pinholes, however, to make them tidier -- and then adjusted the worn-in slots in them into "actual" string ramps.


The new bone saddle is a hair taller than factory-issue for the time.



The hairline crack on the top is cleated and has an old fill-job in it. Note that the pickguard area does the normal "slightly concave" thing that's on all these old Martins (or any guitar with glued pickguards, for that matter).



While there's use-wear throughout, the guitar is in pretty darn good shape, overall.


The G-string tuner has a bend in the button-shaft but all tuners work and hold just fine.





Here's the back hairline crack that's been repaired. You can see a little bit of the overpsray "fizz" in this picture. It's not everywhere, but here and there on the body, and isn't obvious unless the light hits it just-so and you're inches away from it.







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