C. F. Martin 0-21 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1947)

C. F. Martin  0-21 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1947)
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Item # 11514
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C. F. Martin 0-21 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1947), made in Nazareth, PA, serial # 98599, natural lacquer finish, Brazilian rosewood back and sides, spruce top; mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, black tolex hard shell case.

This guitar is a lovely 0-sized Brazilian rosewood Martin with a very powerful sound for its relatively small size. This Model 0-21 dates to very early 1947, when the 12-fret steel string Martin was considered almost obsolete design. The Style 21 -- the lowest priced rosewood model -- were the last guitars of this type offered, other Martins having adopted the 14 fret "Orchestra Model' pattern in the early 1930s. The 0-21 was only sold in small numbers after 1931 making it a relatively rare model despite its midline status; when this one was made it was about to become extinct. Only 48 shipped out in 1947, and '48 saw the end of the model's production leaving only the 00-21 to carry the 12-fret design on through the 1950s.

Martin's preference for straight-grained rosewood often results in Style 21 instruments often carrying dramatically figured Brazilian back and sides. This one has a precisely bookmatched back around the herringbone backstrip (one of the last of these!) with some nice dark-to-light contrast, while the sides have some pronounced straight graining. The spruce top features multiple celluloid layer outer binding as does the soundhole ring. The ebony fingerboard has pearl dot inlay. The Waverly strip tuners are vintage but not original to this guitar.

Overall, this is a truly superb steel-string 12 fret Martin, a real treat to play either fingerstyle or "plectrum". While more heavily built than the scallop-braced pre-war models this is still a featherweight tone machine. If a shade less responsive than the 1920's Martins it compensates by offering a more full-bodied sound that can be driven harder without overwhelming the instrument. In any situation this is a delightful instrument with a voice belying its (by modern standards) small size.
Overall length is 38 in. (96.5 cm.), 13 5/8 in. (34.6 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 13/16 in. (46 mm.).

This Martin shows some general wear but on the whole remains in fine shape for it's age, with a few notable repairs. The all-original finish shows nicks, dents and scratches in the top, back, and sides, but overall the original lacquer finish has been well maintained over the last 75 years. There is pick wear into the wood on the lower soundhole rim and a couple of deeper random scratches to the top. There is some old chipping around the bridge, but nothing major. Some finish is rubbed away on the upper back edge ahead of the waist.

The neck has been neatly reset and the fingerboard cleanly refretted with wire comparable to standard post-war spec. It has had a new bone nut and saddle installed, and the ebony bridge had previously been reglued and lowered just slightly along the top. The only crack in the instrument is a very small grain split in the standard "B-String" spot between the pickguard and bridge, properly glued shut at some point. Internally, the guitar is all original, with the braces and bridge plate in excellent condition. There appear to have been several sets of tuners fitted over the years; The Waverly strips currently in place are a good match for the vintage of the guitar and fully functional. This is an excellent playing and great sounding instrument, a real powerhouse for all if its less than 14" body size. It resides in a more modern HSC. Overall Excellent - Condition.