Here is a vintage 1953 Martin 00-18 flat top acoustic guitar. This particular example, serial number 129028, is in very excellent, all original, condition and includes the original Victoria hard case. The petite frame of this small-bodied acoustic belies the large sound, and surprisingly loud projection, of this highly under-rated guitar. Comprised of classic traditional D-18 appointments, in a smaller and possibly better-recording package, the 00-18 is the alternative voice choice for those who are tired of the sometimes sterile D-sized acoustic.
This ’53 Martin 00-18 features; the original natural lacquer finish, a double bound body construction, a two-piece close-grain Sitka spruce top, Honduran mahogany back and sides, and neck, with a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard, a Brazilian rosewood headstock overlay/veneer, a Brazilian rosewood bridge, single Kluson tuning machines, a Tortoise pickguard, original black bridge pins, and the original Victoria hard shell case.
The guitar plays great, feels fantastic, and sounds superb. The 1 11/16″ nut width and larger neck profile make the guitar extremely comfortable and particularly good for the acoustics of the instrument. The playability is very good, but since the original saddle is preserved, it could easily be enhanced if the saddle is reduced slightly. The original frets are extremely well-preserved, with visible playing wear on those used in the open position only. It does sound particularly great, as can be heard in the video.
This particular guitar is a no issues, perfectly intact example, with no breaks, no cracks, and no repairs. The Brazilian Rosewood bridge is solidly affixed, with no separation, no lift, and no resultant bellying of the top. Similarly, there are no distracting drying or pickguard cracks. The neck joint is stable, with no gap, no separation, and no pulling whatsoever. The original bridge saddle is also intact and unmodified.
There is also surprisingly light playing wear, very minimal fading, and no significant weather-checking. Miraculously, the pickguard is not lifting nor curling, which a notoriously common issue. There is no distracting pick wear through the finish around the sound hole. The most noticeable cosmetic flaw is that there was a flake of finish that appears chipped off the treble-side bottom-bout of the top, revealing the natural wood beneath. It is quite small, and doesn’t compromise the surrounding finish nor structural integrity of the top, though when viewed under with UV/Black light, it does show that it has allowed some humidity access to the top in that area.
The guitar comes with the original Victoria hardshell case with yellow interior. All of the latches work well, and the original plastic handle is intact. The case does not emit any unusual or unbecoming odor, and while it’s slightly worn, presents nicely and protects and stores the guitar effectively.