C. F. Martin 00-18 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1962)

C. F. Martin  00-18 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1962)
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Item # 11901
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C. F. Martin 00-18 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1962), made in Nazareth, PA, serial # 182847, natural lacquer finish, mahogany back, sides and neck; spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, original black chipboard case.

This is a great sounding 00-18 from the height of the early '60s "folk boom", before the Beatles brought electricity roaring back in 1964! To most flat-top players of this era, a Martin guitar was the ultimate goal and the venerable company had trouble keeping up with the demand. This 1962 model was still built in Martin's old North Street factory, which the company moved out of less than two years later. It has a look and feel closer to older Martins from the '40s and '50s than to the more heavily built 1960s instruments to come.

The guitar shows a number of these older features that would change as the decade wore on. The top has a tortoise celluloid pickguard and edge binding, both replaced with black a few years later. Another period feature is the openback Grover Sta-Tite tuners with hexagonal bushings on the typical '60s rounded-edge peghead. The long-saddle rosewood bridge and small maple bridgeplate would also be replaced with stouter fittings later in the decade, the latter of which had more of an effect on sound than any cosmetic changes.

To many players and Martin fans, the 00-18 from any era has remained one of the company's most propitious and beloved combinations of wood, wire, and inspiration. The mahogany back and sides coupled with a spruce top makes for a transparent sounding but still warm and responsive guitar; the 15" wide narrow-waisted 000-size body contributes both depth and clarity to the sound.

By early '60s standards, the 00-18 was a fairly expensive guitar listing at $155.00 (plus case) in June 1962. This represented a substantial investment to many younger players, especially as the increasingly popular Dreadnought D-18 could be had for only $55 more. This example was built in the early-mid part of the year, one of exactly 475 00-18s shipped. With 60+ years of aging this is a superbly light and responsive guitar, an excellent fingerpicker's instrument but also offering plenty of punch and clarity as a straight rhythm machine. It plays effortlessly and rings like a bell, all over this land!
Overall length is 39 1/4 in. (99.7 cm.), 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 1/8 in. (10.5 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 Martin has seen some honest wear over the years, with a few notable repairs but nothing extreme. The original lacquer body finish shows nicks, scratches, and dings overall, most notably some fairly deep scratches along both sides at the upper bout. The top has seen some light checking and has a collection of fairly random pick wear, most heavily to the lower sound hole rim. The back of the neck has some small feelable dinks.

There are two small impact cracks along both sides at the lower bout that have been recently sealed. The top has two long sealed spruce grain splits that run from the pickguard down to the bottom edge. The neck has been neatly reset, with a shim inserted under the fingerboard extension. The frets have been leveled and polished to improve playability. The original bridge has been replaced with a newer reproduction with a new bone saddle; the removal of the original left some residual marks on the top around the perimeter. Internally, all of the braces and the original maple bridge plate remain in perfect condition. This 00-18 has kept the original open back Grover tuners, the original bone nut, and sounds lovely, still residing in the original chipboard case. Overall Excellent - Condition.