8/18/2017

1954 Martin 0-18 Flattop Guitar





A consignor sent this guitar my way and when I opened the case I was surprised to see an old '50s 0-18 in such good shape right off the bat. Aside from a small hairline crack next to the pickguard (just forward of the bridge) and several tiny, tight cracks on the lower-bout-bass side, it was structurally clean and clearly had received a good neck reset job at some point in its past.

My work was thus simple -- a fret level/dress, fill/redrill of the bridge pinholes, a cleat for the crack near the pickguard, and a new, compensated bone saddle install. It's strung with 52w-12 strings, has a straight neck, and plays spot-on with 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret. The saddle is tall and the guitar has a delicious, crunchy, folksy voice with a lot of volume and punch for its size. It has saucy mids like you'd expect from a Gibson LG-2 of the same period, but also has that velvety low end you'd expect from a Martin.


As per normal 0-18 specs, it has a spruce top and mahogany back, sides, and neck. The board and bridge are Brazilian rosewood and everything on the guitar appears to be original save my new saddle and perhaps the bridge pins (though they're older).


The original nut has a bit of surface wear and tear but serves nicely. It's 1 11/16" in width and the neck has a mellow, medium-soft-V profile to its rear. The board has a 14" radius and the frets are in good shape with plenty of life left.





If you look closely you can see the repaired hairline crack between the G&B strings in this picture of the bridge.




While there's pickwear and use-wear throughout, the guitar does look pretty handsome.






I lubed the tuners and they're working just fine.


Note the added, old, strap button.








In the glare, you can see the series of 4 small hairline cracks on the lower-bout-bass side. They're about 1" each. I glued them up as best as possible.





A Roadrunner gigbag comes with it.

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