Museum: Martin Guitars

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1934 Martin 000-28

Serial #58073. Listening to a good mid 1930's Martin 000-28 is something of an auditory awakening; even the hundredth time around. It's a guitar that defines "That Martin Sound" for so many, and it's among the most rewarding instruments to listen to if you are someone who shares our audiophile tendencies.

This example is all that, and is a tremendous guitar. It combines a clear, bold, defined, and robust bass with a mid range and treble response that is strong, present, and nicely rounded. The sound is clean and uncluttered, with an open-piano fullness, sustain, and grandeur. It's a guitar that makes our job here at Folkway even more exciting than it generally is.

1934 marked the change from bar frets to T frets, the addition of a steel T-bar neck support, and the change from the OM's long scale, to the 000's 24.9". The '34 000-28 is quite a departure from the OM-28s built a year earlier, even if cosmetically quite similar. Quarter-sawn Brazilian rosewood back and sides, scalloped-braced red spruce top, ebony fingerboard and belly bridge. Herringbone top purfling, zigzag back strip, celluloid rosette, and ivoroid bindings. This example is fitted with its original clipped-plate Grover tuners, and features the C.F. Martin stamp on the headstock's back side that would be discontinued a year later.

Crack free top and sides, three old repaired back cracks and a few back-brace reglues. A 5" section of back binding has been replaced, and the back appears to have been oversprayed very lightly and professionally. The top and side finish is original, with a few very small lacquer drop-fills on a number of the minor dings and dents. The top's bracing is original and in excellent condition, the bridge plate is original as well, with a small maple plate added over the holes.

Original neck finish, nut, and Grover tuners. Low E tuner was once replaced, but the original is back on the guitar. Frets are likely original and have been dressed, and the neck has been cleanly reset in the distant past. Playability is currently very good, with a string action of 5-6 64ths at the 12th fret. The guitar's non-original bridge measures a hair long, but is very close to the correct footprint. It is a thin bridge, and saddle is also quite low. Non-original Antique Acoustic pins, original endpin.

The guitar's neck has a heavenly feel, with a well-worn finish, rounded first-position carve that tapers to a softly rounded V in higher positions. 1-3/4" width at the nut, 2-5/16" bridge pin spread.

A remarkably good sounding guitar, and one that should appeal to vintage tone lovers of all stripes.

With non-original hardshell case

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