Museum: Martin Guitars

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1927 Martin 0-18 Lefty Conversion

Serial # 32312. This guitar arrived at Folkway in need of a neck reset and new frets, and had previously had its bridgeplate and bridge replaced. There was a spliced crack on the top, a pair of un-repaired cracks along the edges of the fingerboard's extension, and a few minor cracks stemming from around the bridge. The bridge and plate were not nicely replaced, and the instrument lingered un-repaired on our back shelves for years. Rediscovered during our year-end inventory earlier this year, we immediately saw the potential in this instrument that we'd not previously noticed. It was a perfect candidate for lefty-ization! The body was in great shape despite the crack repairs and bridge and plate work, and it was a late 20's steel-string braced small body. We couldn't resist!

We replaced the bridge plate (it's modern-sized), and opted to make an early 1930's profile belly bridge. This allowed us to add some structural integrity back to the top, hide some of the last repair-person's messiness, and make the guitar look cool and factory lefty in the process. It's not an oversized bridge, just a slightly later shape that what was used in 1927. We repaired the cracks along the fingerboard's edge, reset and refretted the neck, added lefty side-dots that match the originals on the righty side, cut new lefty nut, and made a great looking beveled-edge lefty celluloid pickguard out of the most 1930's looking stock we have.

We had fun bringing life back to this guitar, and the results were shocking to say the least. To call this guitar 'good' is a massive understatement. It's one of the best sounding lefty instruments we've ever offered, and one that's pretty much impossible to put down. The guitar is hugely open, dynamic, balanced, and powerful. It has a wonderful liveliness, but is anything but brash. It's voice is warm, resonant, punchy, and round. It is equally at home played fingerstyle or with a flat pick, and plays perfectly with low action. The neck is very comfortable, too; with a low round profile, 1-13/16" nut-width, and 24.9" scale. Original finish throughout, with minor touch-up around the spliced top crack; original Waverly tuners, new Blazer+Henkes bridgepins, original end pin.

With hardshell case

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