C. F. Martin 0-18 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1959)

C. F. Martin  0-18 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1959)
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Item # 8863
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C. F. Martin 0-18 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1959), made in Nazareth, PA, serial # 163422, natural lacquer finish, mahogany back, sides and neck, spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, black tolex hard shell case.

This is an obviously well-loved and heavily played Martin 0-18 from the 1959, the year when the runaway success of the Kingston Trio launched the "Folk era" into the popular imagination and made the Martin guitar the height of popular fashion. The mahogany body carries the traditional features including tortoise celluloid binding on the body edges, tortoise celluloid pickguard, long-saddle Brazilian rosewood bridge, and a heavily ambered nitrocellulose lacquer finish. The headstock corners are the rounded style typical of the period, with the peghead face adorned with the "C.F. Martin" gold decal on the face and individual Grover Sta-Tite G98 openback tuners with hexagonal bushings.

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 small body 0s are lovely-sounding instruments; despite (or maybe because of) generations of wear this one has plenty of volume and a well-balanced ringing tone. This is a superb-playing and sounding guitar, showing many signs of decades of heavy use but still a wonderful player's instrument.
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 excellent-playing and sounding Martin has seen a LOT of wear and repair over the last 60 years. If you're looking for a "clean one" move on...this is a guitar that wears its scars proudly, but there are a lot of 'em!

The finish is heavily darkened to a deep amber and checked with some light flaking to the top. Overall it shows considerable wear -- dings, dents, scrapes, scuffs, and more -- but oddly less pickwear to the top than many well-played old flat-tops tend to show. The heaviest of this is to the lower sound hole edge.

There are also a lot of old repairs. This includes a number of crack repairs to the sides; the lower treble bout in particular has a number of splits from the tail block to the waist, solidly but not particularly neatly sealed up. There is a similar but less extensive situation on the bass side. The back has numerous grain cracks as well. Oddly enough the top has been spared comparatively; it has repaired cracks just below the pickguard, and a fairly deep crack/gouge by the upper edge in the armwear area but again the spruce shows less cracking than many.

The original bridge has never been cut down but has been reglued (probably more than once) and the bridge plate is a nicely done maple replacement just a bit larger than the original. There is a repaired grain split on the back seam of the mahogany neck between the nut and the second fret.

The frets are newer and show almost no wear; they are a bit larger than traditional Martin fretwire and play very well. Again, this is what we call a "real relic" showing years of use and perhaps neglect but sounding as good as they come. We always think of Riley Puckett's theme song "Ragged But Right" when we handle a Martin like this, that's about the best description there is! Overall Very Good Condition.