Museum: Martin Guitars

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1932 Martin OM-18

The OM, built between 1929 and 1933 was Martin's first truly modern steel string guitar. With its neck joining the body at the 14th fret, narrower 1-3/4" nutwidth and solid headstock the OM set the stage for the development of the American flat-top, and everything that came with it. It is impossible to understate the importance of Martin's OMs. But even with the historical significance of the model, it's the guitar's otherworldly tone that gets us really worked up!

This OM18's original shaded-top finish is just a really big bonus…

A wonderful instrument with a very lightly built body, this OM has a tone that's entirely different than a 000-18 built a few years later. It's a guitar that offers its best to a medium right hand attack, and well shaped and polished fingernails. Set-up is appropriate to fingerstyle.

The basses are wide open, resonant, and very warm -- as you'd expect from a very lightly made guitar; and the mids and uppers are sweet with an underlying supportive low frequency response. It's not heavy with overtones as some super-light guitars can be, but does balance itself well between the fundamental and everything that surrounds it.

Red spruce top with scalloped braces, mahogany back and sides, black celluloid bindings, celluloid rosette, tortoise-shell celluloid pickguard. Mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, pearl inlays, and bar frets. Ebony bridge and nut, bone saddle. Well-rounded V neck carve that's just the right size, 1-3/4" nutwidth. First-year Martin headstock logo in gold without the black stroke, replacement Waverly tuning machines, C.F. Martin & Co. stamp on the backside of the headstock. Teaburst shaded top finish.

The guitar is in excellent condition, with reset, new frets and rebridge done by TJ Thompson. The bridge saddle is properly compensated, and the bridge -- with exact 1932 footprint -- is a replacement of a 70's Martin bridge that was once on the guitar. There is a touched-up shadow of the previous bridge visible in front and partially behind the current bridge. Bone glued-in through-saddle, new Antique Acoustic pins. Original bridgeplate, and all braces are intact and original. There are no repairs other than a minor side crack just down from the waist. No top or back cracks, or other body damage. There isn't even a pickguard crack. The bar frets show very little wear, action is low and very easy, and the saddle and bridge are full-height. There are a few finish blemishes on the guitar's back that have been rubbed out, but the guitar's original finish is intact and otherwise unmodified. The tea-burst shaded top aesthetic is about as good looking as a vintage Martin can get, if you ask us.

An exceptional and exceptionally rare vintage Martin.

With original / period hardshell case

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