Museum: Martin Guitars

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1942 Martin 00-17

Serial # 82417. An amazingly lightweight war-era 00-17, with an open but detailed voice, quick response, excellent bass to treble balance, and dry snap. A very different sounding guitar than the pre-war 0-17 we recently offered for sale, this 00 size all-mahogany guitar has a much smoother tone, more complex note decay, and an all-around more forgiving reaction to the player's right hand by comparison.

The guitar is, of course, a beautiful fingerstyle instrument and handles flatpicked single note melodies beautifully; but it's a surprisingly good strummer as well -- in a small guitar kind of way. The instrument's sweetness lends itself nicely to chording, and although it might not be a great choice for a bluegrass jam, it's well suited to song writing and vocal accompaniment.

Scalloped braces, thin and small maple bridgeplate, small bridge, and the ebony (rather than steel) neck support are the ingredients that are making this such a lovely sounding instrument.

A crack-free guitar with completely original finish, original bridge and bridgeplate, original nut and tuning machines, and not much in the way of repairs. No loose or repaired braces, and no pickguard cupping or associated top cracking. The neck was reset and the frets replaced prior to its arrival at Folkway, and we've since dressed the frets, made and installed a new bone saddle, and installed vintage-correct unslotted bridge pins. The guitar plays easily with a fingerstyle action of 4-6 64ths and 12-53 gauged strings. Neck relief is perfect, bridge is full thickness, and there is 1/16" to 3/32" of saddle height above the bridge. In short, all things set-up are pretty much spot-on.

Original finish shows belt rash on the back of the body, worn areas along the body's edges, and a good amount of dings, dents, and small scratches. Pickwear between the bridge and pickguard as well as along the treble edge of the fingerboard, and there is capo scarring on the back side of the neck. The finish is otherwise fairly shiny and attractive; but you won't be terribly upset if you happen to add an accidental ding to this one.

Small and comfortable neck with a fairly rounded feel that becomes more V'd in the upper fret positions, 1-21/32" at the nut, 24.9" scale, and a string spread of 2-3/16" at the bridge. It's a fairly modern feeling neck and string spacing.

With newer hardshell case

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