Museum: Martin Guitars

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1929 Martin 0-28

Serial # 40014. A very special guitar, built in one of Martin's best years.

1929 was the year Martin introduced the OM, and made its prominence felt in the steel string guitar market. The very first belly bridges, like the one this guitar was built with, made their appearance sometime in late 1929; and this is the earliest belly bridge Martin that's ever come through Folkway. The serial number of this 0-28 suggests a production commencing in the early fall of 1929.

Built during the colder months of the year and clearly well cared for through its life, this 0-28 has survived without cracks, loose or damaged braces, and without the need for any repairs other than a reglue of its bridge, and a neck reset. The frets, nut, saddle, pins, and tuners are all original, and the finish is beautiful. There is playwear in the area where Martin would have put a pickguard had this guitar been built a few months later, and a few small scuffs on the back.

A very interesting and tonally complex smaller bodied guitar, the 0-28 is loud, punchy, present and fundamental. It has the big, cavernous 'piano-like' qualities that we often hear in the lightly built instruments of this period, but with a mid-range push that adds something of a bubbly roundness to the notes played on the G, B, and E strings -- a tone maybe somewhat reminiscent of a good Gypsy jazz box, but with a fatter and thicker frame. Single note runs on the treble strings with nicely rounded nails or a heavy pick are stunning, full, and deep. The guitar can't be pigeonholed as either a fingerstyle or flatpicker's instrument -- it does both with great reward.

0-sized body of quartered Brazilian rosewood and red spruce. Ivoroid bindings, wood and ivoroid rosette, herringbone top trim and zigzag backstrip. Ebony fingerboard and bridge, engraved Waverly tuning machines with ivoroid buttons. C.F. Martin and Co. stamp on the headstock's backside, along with the Made in USA stamp we see on instruments originally exported to Canada. Rounded neck with a slight softened V hull, 24.9" scale, 1-7/8" nutwidth, and a string spread of 2-3/8" at the bridge. Strung with 12-53 light gauge strings, the guitar's neck shows perfect relief and the action measures 5-6 64ths at the 12th fret.

With 1960's Harptone hardshell case

Click HERE for our hi-def video feature of this instrument.



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