Vintage Instruments: Martin Guitars

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1950 Martin 00-18

A particularly good sounding, early post-war 00-18 with excellent playability, great looks, and an over-all condition that belies its age. It’s hard to imagine that this guitar has been making music for the better part of 70 years. The original finish is in excellent shape and there are no cracks to report on other than a small ‘B string’ pickguard crack that’s been cleated. New frets and set-up just completed here so you can expect it to play perfectly too. Under the hood looks excellent as well, with an original bridgeplate and braces that show no repairs or issues.

The guitar arrived with Waverly tuners installed, which we’ve swapped out for an original set of the correct Kluson machines that would have been installed back in 1950. We’ve left the Waverly bushings on the headstock face. The back of the headstock looks to have been buffed in the past, and there is minor finish touch-up under the Kluson tuner’s bases, which was likely necessitated by the Waverly’s smaller footprint. Minor stuff, but we sweat the details.

Original bridge, new Martin style 18 pins. Endpin jack hole has been filled and re-drilled for a standard endpin. Neck reset appears to have been done in the recent past and the angle is correct. There remains some minor finish damage visible on the sides of the heel.

Compact feeling neck carve with 1-11/16” nut width, C/V carve, 24.9” scale, and 2-1/8” pin spread at the bridge.

Martin’s 00-18 is consistently among our favourite models thanks to its 14.25” wide smaller body and short scale. The string balance is seemingly perfect with this size of guitar, which is similar to both classical guitars and Gibson’s L and LG guitars. Its body is big enough to offer some warmth in the bass, but small enough to give the trebles the power and thickness that fingerstyle and lead guitar players crave. This one is no exception, and adds in a bunch of mid range sweetness and a hint of overtone bloom for good measure.

With original hardshell case

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