Vintage Instruments: Martin Guitars

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1944 Martin 000-18

Among my favourite sounding vintage Martins we’ve ever had through the store, this 1944 000-18 is an exceptional guitar. With its wartime features and exceptionally light build, this guitar has incredible expressiveness, warmth, balance, and versatility. It can be played softly or hard with the same reward, and offers that truly beguiling and hard-to-describe sound/feel experience that only the best guitars can. It’s quite different than a wide-neck 1930’s 000-18; it’s more intimate, subtle, and dark, but is on par with a great mid ‘30’s version in being the best in its class. Part of this guitar’s magic lies in its ebony neck reinforcement and light headstock, part is in its gorgeous red spruce top, scalloped braces, and 75 or so years, and the rest is just the luck of the draw. This 000-18 weighs in at just over 3 lbs, which has a lot to do with its expressive and open tone as well.

A completely original 000-18 that’s light on repairs, the guitar has seen a neck reset and its frets and saddle replaced in recent years. The workmanship is excellent and largely undetectable. It’s a crack free instrument with the notable exception of glued cracks at the outside margin of the pickguard. The bracing and original bridgeplate are perfect and without any repairs, and the original bridge is unmodified. Original tuners, nut, and finish. Beyond all that, the guitar appears to have been fitted with a pickup at some point and now has a plugged jack-hole on the side. There are two tiny filled screw-holes on the side of the guitar and another on the side of the headstock that, presumably, were the site of small eye-screws as attachment points. They are very easy to miss. Overall the guitar presents as an exceptionally clean instrument.

Typical early 40’s neck carve with a much-softened V that becomes more pronounced higher up towards the body. 1-11/16” nut, 24.9” scale, 2-3/16” string spread at the saddle. Full height saddle with action set at 4.5 to 6 64ths at the 12th fret.

With modern hard shell case

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