C. F. Martin 0-17 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1940)

C. F. Martin  0-17 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1940)
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Item # 11945
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C. F. Martin 0-17 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1940), made in Nazareth, PA, serial # 76267, natural lacquer finish, mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, original brown chipboard case.

This is a superb playing and sounding *just* pre-war Martin 0-17, showing some typical wear but offering a very powerful sound for a small body, all-mahogany guitar. It was built fairly late in 1940, a year that saw only 226 of these little mahogany wonders shipped out of Nazareth with WWII looming on the horizon. At the time inexpensive instruments remained important to Martin's bottom line; sales of this affordable model had been a big part of the company's salvation in the early-mid 1930's when most folks were hard up to afford even the basics.

While the humbly unadorned 0-17 stood near the bottom of the Martin guitar line, it is still built of high-grade materials to the company's lofty standards. The guitar is austere in appearance, with no binding anywhere and only a small sound hole ring, tortoise celluloid pickguard and Martin headstock logo as trim. The body and neck are mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard and bridge. The thin mahogany top is delicately scallop braced with a small maple bridge plate. These pre-war examples are more lightly built than the common 1950s style 17's and are often truly exceptional guitars despite their original budget status.

Listing for $30.00 in 1940, this guitar 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 0-17 is a fully professional-quality instrument, extremely responsive with a rich, singing tone. This is one of the nicer pre-war examples we have had lately, a wonderful player's instrument in every way.
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.).

This Martin has had some maintenance repair over the years, but overall remains well preserved showing some honest wear. Although there are many nicks, scratches, and dings over the body, the original lacquer has not been altered or refinished. There are some random deeper scrapes and shallow pick marks to the top but none of the heavy strum wear often encountered. An odd scrape mark behind the bridge is the most noticeable. There is a small mark on the side below the endpin where it looks like a second small endpin was once screwed, for reasons lost to history.

Somewhat surprisingly, this Martin appears to be entirely crack-free. The neck has been neatly reset, with a small rosewood shim installed under the fingerboard extension. The fingerboard has been leveled and refretted with wire comparable to the period correct size. The rosewood bridge has been reglued, and lowered on the treble side, and a newer bone saddle installed. Internally, all of the original scalloped bracing and small maple bridge plate remain untouched. The 0-17 still has the original Waverly tuners, which are fully functional and is housed in the surprisingly functional original gold plush-lined heavy chipboard case. Overall Very Good + Condition.