C. F. Martin 0-18 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1942)

C. F. Martin  0-18 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1942)
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Item # 10112
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C. F. Martin 0-18 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1942), made in Nazareth, PA, natural lacquer finish, mahogany back, sides and neck, Adirondack spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, black tolex hard shell case.

This is a lovely Martin 0-18 from mid-1942, when despite difficult wartime conditions the company managed to keep up a steady output of the highest quality guitars in the world. This year 275 of these featherweight mahogany marvels shipped out of Nazareth, which considering the limited production of most guitar builders at the time seems rather miraculous in hindsight. Wartime Martins like this have an ebony neck reinforcement instead of metal giving them a special exceptionally light feel, and some players have come to prefer them to even many earlier models.

This 0-18 is a simple but delightful small-body flat-top, built as noted superbly lightweight with typical features for the era. The mahogany body has a scalloped X-braced Adirondack spruce top with tortoise celluloid binding on the edges, tortoise celluloid pickguard, a long-saddle Brazilian rosewood bridge, and a nicely ambered nitrocellulose lacquer finish.

The mahogany neck has a slim round-backed profile with a hint of a "V' as it moves towards the body and dot-inlaid rosewood fingerboard. The headstock face is adorned with a "C.F. Martin" gold decal on the rosewood facing and fitted with individual Kluson openback tuners that are exact reproductions of those used during the war years. This is a great-playing and fantastic-sounding little guitar, extremely friendly to play with a very big tone for its size.
Overall length is 38 3/4 in. (98.4 cm.), 13 9/16 in. (34.4 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 1/4 in. (10.8 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

Overall this is a very nicely preserved original guitar, with some typical playing wear and a some carefully completed repairs to keep it going nearly 80 years on. The finish shows wear overall -- mostly fairly random dings and dents with areas of more concentrated pickwear around the sound hole and pickguard. The area of the top off the front edge of the guard is the most heavily affected, with the most noticeable wear into the grain of the wood.

One tiny grain split at the treble side of the waist next to the pickguard appears to be the only crack on the instrument. The neck has been neatly reset and the bridge and saddle replaced with correct replicas to the original specifications. There are no internal repairs or modifications, the original thin scalloped bracing and bridgeplate are as they left Nazareth around the summer of '42. The fingerboard has been trued and refretted with the smaller fretwire correct for this period. The guitar plays extremely well, with a very comfortable action and defined but extremely responsive sound, particularly a singing high-mid register. It resides in a modern HSC. Excellent - Condition.