Museum: Martin Guitars

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1928 Martin 00-40H

A simply breathtaking fingerstyle guitar with a very light build, stunning appointments, and the kind of tone most of us dream about at night. This Martin 00-40H is one of those guitars with a tone that might get described as piano-like. It has a long and resonant sustain, and a hardwood-floor response in a carpeted room. The bass notes are deep and cleanly articulated, and the trebles are beautifully supported by underling mid and low frequency presence. The guitar has a pronounced fundamental and excellent clarity, and would certainly be as much at home in front of a condenser mic as in the living room. It reacts to a soft touch with eagerness, but handles a medium to hard attack with ease.

The style 40 designation, although employed on a small assortment of guitars in the 1800’s and early part of the 1900’s, was put into regular production in 1928 with the release of the Hawaiian 00-40H. Martin built a total of 244 of this model in total between the years 1928 and 1941, and this example is one of the 40 built in the first model year.

The guitar features quartersawn Brazilian rosewood back and sides and a scalloped X-braced Red spruce top. The model was trimmed nearly identically to style 42, but without fingerboard binding or the pearl purflings surrounding the fingerboard’s extension. Built for lap style Hawaiian playing, the guitar original featured a tall nut, flush-ground frets, and a straight saddle. This example was converted to Spanish style by TJ Thompson, and features his neck reset, replacement bridge, and new bar frets. The workmanship of his conversion is exactly as beautiful as you might expect. Older repairs include a replacement bridge plate, a pair of repaired and oversprayed back cracks, the replacement of an oversized bridge and associated touch-up.

Crack-free top and sides with original finish, original tuners and nut. Tall bar frets with very little player wear, fingerstyle action, excellent neck angle and saddle height. Late 1920’s rounded neck carve with subtle hint of a V, 1-7/8” width at the nut, radiused fingerboard, 24.9” scale, and 2-3/8” string spread at the bridge.

With newer deluxe hardshell case

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