5/24/2017

1963 Martin 0-18 Flattop Guitar





This guitar originally came in for work and then resale, but was recently traded to me. Curiously enough, I was halfway through the repairs and so I finished it off this morning. As a '63, it has a tonal response similar to late-50s Martin 0-18s, but to my ears has more of that 60s "scoop" to the midrange. This makes it a terribly-nice fingerpicker or chordal strummer but it has less direct punch for flatpicking leads. It's still a pretty darn loud guitar, and being an old Martin, has a lot of presence and mwah.

It's also in pretty good overall shape, too -- with no cracks that I can find. It does have a rattlecan-style light overspray on the top, but nowhere else. The rest of the finish is original and everything on the guitar is original, too, save a new bridge and saddle (my own) and old black pins which are probably not original. My work included a neck reset, that new bridge and saddle, a fret level/dress, and general setup. It has a straight neck, plays on-the-dot with 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret, and is strung with 54w-12 strings.

Materials are the usual -- solid mahogany for the back, sides, and neck, a Brazilian rosewood fretboard with a flatter radius, soft-V/more-C light-to-medium neck shape and depth, a 1 11/16" nut width, and short 24.9" scale length.


It's a handsome guitar and I definitely like seeing the original tortoise pickguard still extant and all the nice 50s/60s tortoise binding.


I'm even partial to the "rounded" 60s headstock shape, myself. They tend to chip less when you bang them into a wall! Hee hee...





My new bridge is Indian rosewood and has a compensated, drop-in, bone saddle. The original bridge had been shaved, shot with finish, and had some splits which made it not useful to re-use. This one is full-height and has some good "adjustment room" for the saddle to come down, if necessary.

When I reglued the bridge I filled and redrilled the pinholes, by the way, so the ball-ends are snug on the bridge plate.





As usual, the mahogany on this Martin is good quality, straight-grained, and even in looks.


The original Grover tuners work great, especially after a drop of lube.









A fitted, molded, Martin-branded hard case comes with it. Nice, huh? It's in great condition and will serve well.

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