For sale is this vintage 1956 Martin 000-18 flat top acoustic guitar. This auditorium size example, serial number 147415, is in good vintage condition and includes a non-original 1980s Martin hard case. This particular example displays several typical small originality issues, which will make it perfect for both players and those interested in a minor restoration project.
This 000-18 features: a spruce top with beautiful grain, mahogany back/sides, mahogany neck, a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard, a 5-ply bound top, bound back, a Brazilian headstock overlay, Brazilian rosewood bridge, original single-line Kluson Deluxe tuning machines with metal buttons, and a replacement tortoise-shell material pickguard.
Thankfully, this guitar is structurally very intact. The original bridge is firmly affixed to the top without lifting, shifting, or creating bellying. The original neck joint is strong with no evidence of a gap between the heel and the body. The neck has not been reset, and the action is quite manageable. The original frets appear to have been dressed, and present nicely with plenty of life remaining. The neck profile feels incredibly comfortable and is spectacularly straight, which makes the guitar a real pleasure to play.
With minimal effort, this guitar could be restored to be a truly beautiful instrument. It sounds amazing as it is, and qualifies as an excellent player’s piece, but with a little work it could look and feel just as good as it sounds. It is very light, very dry, and produces a harmonically rich and well-balanced voice that is only associated with brilliant Martins from this era and earlier. This guitar really projects nicely, and sounds unlike any guitar made today. Old Martins are getting harder to find, and rarely can you find one for a bargain, so don’t miss this chance!
All of the finish on both the body and neck is original; and it is surprisingly attractive and clean. There are no cracks in the top, although there is the inevitable fracturing of the rosette near the bass side of the fingerboard and a microscopic pickguard crack. Both of which are as small as possible without not being considered an issue at all. There is also a small pickguard crack that extends from the high e-string to the pickgaurd: note, it is not through the top. There is an un-repaired puncture (.25″ x .25″) near the back on the treble-side waist of the guitar, which is currently stable. Otherwise, there are no cracks in the sides. There are 2 small cracks in the back, which are difficult to photograph because they aren’t very traumatic, and do not appear to be through. The pickguard was professionally replaced with an appropriate spec and style reproduction. While the neck and headstock are in good shape, there is a superficial crack in the surface of the wood on the back of the headstock caused when non-original tuners were installed. As can be seen in the photos, the crack is not through the headstock, and does not appear to be very significant, though it is visible. As I briefly mentioned, the guitar appears to have had small non-original tuners installed at one point, which required the holes to be enlarged, although no additional screw holes were created for the installation. The existing tuners completely obscure the evidence from the back, while the large washers from the previous tuners made an imprint which can be seen from the front of the headstock. The fingerboard has playing wear, but the divots caused by normal playing were filled with some dark grain wood putty. Though I didn’t attempt it, I would highly suggest removing the touch ups.
Nut Width: 1 5/8″
Action: 5/32″ (string height at 12th fret)
As mentioned the guitar includes a high-quality 1980s Martin hard case.
Sale Price: Sold