C. F. Martin 0-15 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1941)

C. F. Martin  0-15 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1941)
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Item # 11826
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C. F. Martin 0-15 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1941), made in Nazareth, PA, serial # 78857, natural lacquer finish, mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, original black chipboard case.

This is a superb playing and sounding JUST pre-war Martin 0-15 showing very little wear, really superbly preserved and offering a very powerful sound for a small body, all-mahogany guitar. It was built in mid-1941, the last year before the US was pulled into the Second World War. 475 of these little mahogany wonders shipped out in '41, only the second production year for this most stripped-down of all Martin models. At the time inexpensive instruments remained important to Martin's bottom line; sales of the affordable all-mahogany models had been a big part of the company's salvation in the 1930's.

While the unadorned 0-15 stood at the bottom of the Martin guitar line, it is still built of high-grade materials to Martin's lofty standards. The 0-15 is the same instrument as the slightly more expensive 0-17 except for a less polished semi-gloss finish, rated as worth a $5 price difference in 1941! Both are built of mahogany throughout, with a rosewood fingerboard and bridge. The thin mahogany top is delicately scallop-braced with a small maple bridgeplate. This model is very austere in appearance, with no binding anywhere and only a small sound hole ring and Martin headstock logo as trim. This 1941 example has the rare tortoise Celluloid veneer decorating the headstock face, an attractive oddity seen only around this time.

These early scallop-braced 0-15 and 0-17 models are truly exceptional guitars despite their original budget status. The 0-15 listed for the now-ridiculous sounding price of $25.00 in 1941, raised to $28 at the end of the year as Wartime inflation set in. Even so, this still represented a fairly expensive proposition for many Americans at the time; you could get a guitar from Sears for $1.98! Then as now 0-15 is a fully professional-quality instrument, extremely responsive with a rich, singing tone. This is one of the nicest early examples we have ever had, a cool variant with its tortoise look headplate and a wonderful player's instrument as expected.
Overall length is 38 1/2 in. (97.8 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 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

For being just over 80 years old, this guitar is in pretty amazing shape, little changed since it left Nazareth on the eve of WWII. The original semi-gloss lacquer finish shows some small nicks, scratches, and very light checking in spots, but has not been oversprayed altered at all. The back of the neck is worn down just slightly. There is a small impact spot on the upper top/side edge and a tiny side crack on the curve of the lower treble bout but that's about it for heavier wear.

The neck has been perfectly reset, a VERY clean job. The original rosewood bridge was reglued at some point, with a couple of marks around the edge to show for it. Internally the guitar is untouched with the beautiful slim scalloped braces and tiny maple bridgeplate fully intact. The tuners and even the bridgepins and endpin are still the original pieces, while the original frets show hardly any wear. This is close to a time capsule piece and simply a delightful guitar to play, a gem in every way. It still resides in its original chipboard case, which is a bit battered but functional. The sheet music for two devotional "mother" songs and an original tassel cord are included adding to the lovely vibe. Overall Excellent Condition.