C. F. Martin 000-18 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1954)

C. F. Martin  000-18 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1954)
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Item # 10200
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C. F. Martin 000-18 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1954), made in Nazareth, PA, serial # 139411, natural lacquer finish, mahogany back, sides and neck, spruce top; mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

The 1950s 000-18 is not one of Martin's rarer creations, but to many players and Martin fans constitutes one of the company's most beloved combinations of wood, wire, and inspiration. This is not a flashy guitar; the trim is discreet with tortoise celluloid on the body edges and a simple multiply sound hole ring. In classic Martin style, the elegant understatement speaks for itself.

The 15" light mahogany body makes for a very responsive guitar, with a nice mix of depth and clarity to the sound. This example was built late in 1954, one of a total of 601 000-18s shipped that year. It has typical period features with tortoise celluloid binding and pickguard, a rosewood belly bridge, and an ambered top finish over some nicely grained spruce. The neck has a smooth rounded profile with the underlying hint of a "V". The tuners are the postwar open back single-unit oval metal button Waverlys, more familiarly used by Gretsch and Danelectro, among others.

While not a particularly expensive guitar by Martin standards, listing in 1954 at $110.00 (plus case) the 000-18 still represented a substantial investment to many players. Despite its smaller size and lack of flash, the 000-18 remains a fully professional instrument popular with pickers of many styles, and one of Martin's most versatile and timeless classics. This is an smooth playing and excellent sounding example that would be at home in just about any musical situation, vintage or modern.
 
Overall length is 39 1/4 in. (99.7 cm.), 15 in. (38.1 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 in. (10.2 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.).

This is a very nicely preserved example overall; it has had a cleanly done neckset and the bridge neatly re-glued but appears otherwise unaltered. The finish shows minor checking and light general wear overall with small scratches, scuffs, and dings mostly. There is pick wear through the finish and in to the wood on the treble side of the soundhole and lighter pickwear generally around the pickguard. Some strum marks can be seen both above and below the soundhole and an is area worn through the lacquer on the pickguard itself. The back has light buckle rash and the sides have minor scuffs and dings, with a heavier spot just forward of the upper waist. The back of the neck is very clean with just a few minor scuffs, visible at the second and ninth fret positions.

There is an approximately one inch long sealed top crack triangulated between the waist, the bass side bridge wing and the soundhole; no additional finish was applied. There are no other cracks on the instrument. The bridge is original with a replacement saddle and the original small maple bridgeplate is intact and unaltered. The fingerboard has been levelled and refretted, making for an excellent player. This is a very lightly built guitar compared to later examples, with a bright ringing sound still with considerable depth. It would make an excellent recording, writing, or performance instrument and is ready to gig, in a very solid original hard shell case with some external wear. Overall Excellent - Condition.