This is a vintage 1956 Martin 5-18 acoustic guitar. Designated by Martin as size “5,” which is smaller than the average 3/4 guitar, the Martin “Terz” is the highest quality small/baby/mini guitar ever made. Famously played by Marty Robbins, as well as, Michael Hedges, Will Ackerman and Dolly Parton to name a few, the Martin 5-18 is celebrated for its specific and unique voicing. This special example is serial number 152312.
Do not be fooled by the 5-18’s petite frame, as this child’s size proportions were constructed using the exact same high quality materials and superior craftsmanship as all other Martin acoustics. The 5-18, much like a D-18, features: a spruce top, mahogany back/sides/neck, a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard, a double-bound body, a Brazilian headstock overlay and bridge, original open-back Kluson tuning machines, and original tortoise pickguard.
Perhaps the first thing that stands out is the decorative hand-painting on the top, back and headstock. The gold and red designs were added by the original owner “Tina,” who was supposedly an active cowgirl country singer local to the San Bernadino valley. She sold it to the second/previous owner in the early-80s, and we purchased it from him.
Aside from the elaborate and attractive folk-art added to the original finish, there is nothing that has been modified, changed, broken, repaired, etc.
The neck is perfectly straight, and while the neck angle isn’t the best (inevitable), it is still surprisingly easy to play. The original Kluson tuning machines work perfectly, and hold the guitar in tune. The original frets exhibit minimal wear, and do not need to be addressed or replaced. The neck joint is solid, with no evidence of separation. The bridge is also perfectly intact, with no indication of lifting or bellying. There is one very small pickguard crack, which is solid and has not been repaired, otherwise, there are no cracks, breaks, or separations.
All parts are original to this guitar, aside from one missing strap pin.