6/08/2017

1949 Martin 0-15 Flattop Guitar





I've had a number of people asking after this guitar over the last few months, so since today is truncated (I'm leaving the premises around 4:00 PM), I decided to get this fella out of the way as it did not need too much effort. While it's an 0-15, the satin of the finish is just a hair glossier than most and so I kept referring to this one as an 0-17 when talking to folks about it. Oh well! Too many guitars on the brain!

It's also in surprisingly good shape, and like all '40s mahogany-topped Martins I've played (except for one example), it sounds wonderful. These tend towards a warm, woody, mids-rich, "saucy" tone that creams-up under a flatpick and stays focused for fingerpicking -- and that's just what this one does. I've had folks call these "chocolate Martins" for the look and the tone, but this one is more mocha for both, with a healthy, medium, warm-brown color and taste.

Work included a fret level/dress, replacement tuner buttons, replacement bridge pins and endpin, general cleaning, and a light sanding/buff-up of the bridge as it'd been a bit mucked-up  before landing here. Aside from the pins (and the nut), the guitar is all-original and crack-free save for a tiny 1/2" repaired hairline on the bass-waist-side. It's now playing on-the-dot with 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret. The neck is straight and it's good to go.


The guitar looks great but does have the usual finish checking here and there throughout and has some light scratching here and there as well. The worst scratch is directly under the bridge on the top and even it's not so bad compared to the average old guitar coming through here.


The replacement tuner buttons are vintage, funky old white ones I pulled off of some other (broken) tuners and adapted to the original Klusons on here. The originals on these would've been white as well, but a little thinner.


The frets are leveled and dressed and in good order. They still have plenty of meat left, too. The board itself has roughly a 14" radius (and is Brazilian rosewood), though someone must've shot both the board and bridge with a sealer coat of some finish, as the board shows lots of use-wear that's worn-through some sort of topcoat over most of it. The bridge had the same but was murkier.



I'm glad that the original, red, tortoise pickguard is still in good order. They look excellent against that brown!


Whoever RCW was, he or she left their mark in the form of this decal. It would come off with a little effort, but I don't want to be the one to possibly mar the finish removing it.


This is the original bridge, though it's had a light shave in the past and I re-sanded to remove a murky topcoat of finish, cleaned-up the look, and filled/redrilled the pinholes at the same time. It's now looking pretty slick. The original saddle has been recut for better compensation, too.


There's a little over 1/16" adjustment room, though I've also added string ramps behind the saddle to give much-better back-angle than average for increased projection/better tone. The plastic pins are, of course, replacements.




The original, large-plate Kluson tuners are smooth as heck and work great after a little lube.



The neck has a medium, soft-V shape and a typical 1 11/16" nut width.





Don't mind the pollen on the headstock.


This shot shows the bass-waist-side and the tiny, 1/2" repaired hairline crack at it.





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