C. F. Martin 0-18 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1953)

C. F. Martin  0-18 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1953)
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Item # 10789
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C. F. Martin 0-18 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1953), made in Nazareth, PA, serial # 133882, natural lacquer finish, mahogany back, sides and neck, spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, black tolex hard shell case.

This charming little Martin 0-18 was built fairly late in 1953, one of 650 of these little 13 9/16" marvels shipped out of Nazareth PA that year. The mahogany body carries the typical period features including tortoise celluloid binding on the edges, tortoise celluloid pickguard and long-saddle Brazilian rosewood bridge. The spruce top has some fairly prominent wide grain at the edges for a period Martin, enhanced by the nicely ambered thin nitrocellulose lacquer finish. The headstock corners are the somewhat rounded style typical of the period, with the peghead face adorned with the "CF Martin" gold decal on the face and individual openback Waverly tuners with metal buttons.

This guitar, like all made prior to 1964, is the product of the "old" red brick Martin factory, before the move to the modern facility down the road that year resulted in many changes in the way the guitars were made. These early 1950s 0-18s are lovely-sounding instruments, more lightly built compared to examples from a decade or so later. Priced in 1953 at $80 (up to $85 in Decenmber, plus case) the 0-18 was inexpensive for a Martin but hardly a cheap guitar by the standards of the day. This one has a surprising amount of volume (more than many expect in a smaller body guitar) and a nicely even ringing tone. This is a superb-playing and sounding small-body Martin, showing light wear and repair and minor repair but still in excellent playing order for all the just under seven decades since it first left Nazareth PA.
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.).

This is a solidly preserved guitar overall, relatively clean for seven decades showing some light general wear. The original finish is completely unaltered showing scrapes, pickwear, scratches, dents and dings throughout but no overspray anywhere. The top has light checking and a few scrapes, dents and scratches, some through the finish, most notably on the treble side of the soundhole and a small but deep spot next to the bass side of the soundhole. The back and sides also show some fairly light wear with some heavier scuffing and scratching in the center of the back.

The instrument shows only couple of minor crack repairs, which is nice to find on a Martin of this vintage. There are three repaired grain splits on the top, two typical short "B" string cracks in front of the bridge above the pickguard and a long center seam split running from the endblock to the bridge. All of these have been carefully sealed with no added finish, there is a tiny cleat under the B string area. There was never a strap button or anything else added.

The interior, including the small maple bridge plate, remains unaltered original. The neck has been carefully reset to the original full-height bridge. The bone nut and saddle appear to be replaced; the tuners are the original openback Waverlys. The original frets are intact with very minor wear and have plenty of life left in them. This guitar plays extremely well with a comfortable action and offers a lot of sound for a small body instrument. It includes a nice modern HSC. Overall Excellent - Condition.