This is a vintage 1943 Martin 0-17 flat top acoustic guitar. This particular “pre-war” example, serial number 84156, is in very excellent condition and includes a non original soft case. This scalloped-braced, small-bodied, entirely-mahogany, acoustic guitar was made to the same specifications as those made during Martin’s self-proclaimed “Golden Era,” and is an absolutely stunning instrument. Far superior to a Guild M-20, Gibson LG-0, or an 0-17 produced thereafter, the 0-17 has enjoyed a reputation for being a fantastic recording guitar and providing an alternative and attractive voice.
This ’43 Martin 0-17 features: all mahogany construction (top, back, sides and neck), a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard, 1 11/16″ nut width, rosewood bridge, the original three-on-a-side plate Kluson tuning machines with original plastic buttons, X-bracing, tear drop tortoise pickguard, and a soft case.
This example is a no issues guitar: nothing has been modified, changed, broken, repaired, etc. The neck is perfectly straight, and the neck angle is intact and untouched, which makes the guitar truly enjoyable to play. The original frets exhibit extremely minimal wear, and do not need to be dressed or replaced. The traditional neck profile with the 1 11/16″ nut width is extremely comfortable. The neck joint is solid, with no evidence of separation or fatigue. The bridge is also perfectly intact, with no indication of lifting or bellying. There is some minimal pick wear around the sound hole, a bit of pressure wear on the back of the guitar, and ironically some coil cable imprints on the back as well. It is generally, however, very presentable and extremely well preserved, unfaded, crisp, sheen, and very attractive.
There are no cracks, breaks, or separations. Though the guitar includes the original bridge pins, which are currently installed and seen in the photos to the right, newer replacements will also be included. There is a very small hole under tuning machine plate on the bass side, directly under the low-E machine, which was the result of a small eye screw used as a strap pin. The non-original soft case is in good condition, but is a bit over-sized.
One interesting war-time production feature is the lack of tuning machine ferrules in the headstock. Clearly, to preserve metal, the tuner posts are fitted snugly through the peghead.
The guitar sounds fantastic, plays incredibly well, and looks amazing. The specific and focused tone perfectly complements additional acoustics with a more full-range character. While one could clearly use this guitar as an additional acoustic texture to layer atop another, it sits beautifully amongst normal instrumentation, and situates neatly without encountering boominess or producing a muddy footprint. While the guitar is great for traditional strumming, it is remarkably responsive when playing finger-picking and small chord techniques.