Museum: Martin Guitars

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1947 Martin 00-21

The 00-21 is something of an outlier in Martin's post-1930 instrument line-up. The model has the distinction of being the only 12 fret non-Hawaiian flat-top the company offered between about 1932 and 1961, when the New Yorker models were introduced. Also, its wooden purflings and rosette were not switched to celluloid through the 1930's and 40's, which gave even early post-war versions like this one an older look. But, like all steel string Martin guitars made after 1931, the guitar is built with a pickguard and belly bridge. Add into this mix the stunning and perfect Brazilian rosewood used, and you get a simply gorgeous guitar - and one with a tone that is unique among Martin guitars built in that era.

This guitar has just come through our repair-shop and is ready for its next chapter in life. The neck has been reset, the frets replaced, the pickguard crack properly tended to, and pickguard flattened. The saddle height is full, and the guitar's action is set to a fingerstyle friendly 4.5 to 5.5 64ths at the 12th fret. We've installed a set of Waverly three-on-a-plate tuning machines to replace the non-original (and admittedly ugly) tuners that previously graced the headstock. The guitar's top is crack-free but for our repair at the pickguard's edge; there are no side cracks, and there are two short repaired cracks on the back. The finish is original throughout, without any overspray or touch-up. The headstock face looks to have been buffed lightly in the past as there is faint evidence that a few stickers once graced it.

Lush, dark, quartersawn Brazilian rosewood back and sides, Sitka spruce top with slightly tapered top bracing, completely original and unrepaired bracing and bridgeplate, tortoise celluloid bindings with maple purflings, herringbone backstrip. Original ivory nut, original plastic bridge pins, bone saddle. Fairly rounded neck carve with a hint of a very soft V; 1-7/8" nut width, 2-5/16" string spread at the bridge, 24.9" scale. Brazilian rosewood fingerboard and bridge, refretted with modern Martin style fretwire.

A very lively, loud, even and powerful guitar; this 00-21 has a strong midrange, excellent articulation, and just enough overtones to add a beautiful color to single notes. Very much a fingerstyle guitar, it rewards proper technique with great richness and depth of tone.

With newer hardshell case

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