C. F. Martin 00-18 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1944)

C. F. Martin  00-18 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1944)
This item has been sold.
Item # 9254
Prices subject to change without notice.
C. F. Martin 00-18 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1944), made in Nazareth, PA, serial # 89636, natural lacquer finish, mahogany body and neck, spruce top, Brazilian rosewood fingerboard and bridge, black hard shell case.

While the 00-18 is generally not one of Martin's rarer creations, to many players and flat top fans the model constitutes one of the company's most propitious combinations of wood, wire and inspiration. This 1944 guitar's light mahogany body and scallop-braced Adirondack spruce top makes for very light and a superbly responsive instrument. Interestingly enough this one just slipped in under the wire on that feature; According to the latest research Martin stopped scalloping the main X brace on most guitar less than 300 serial numbers down the line after it was built!

This 00-18 was made in the second half of 1944, one of a total of 425 shipped that pivotal year of the Second World War. Compared to Gibson, Martin managed their materials very well during the war years and maintained a surprisingly full production schedule. This 00 incorporates typical wartime features, most notably the ebony neck re-inforcement that replaced the metal rod due to restrictions on civilian use of critical metals. The individual tuners are austere wartime Klusons with plastic buttons, thin baseplates, riveted gears and no bushings. Standard 00-18 features include the 14 3/8" wide mahogany body with dark celluloid binding, dot inlaid rosewood fingerboard and gold C.F. Martin decal on the rosewood-faced headstock.

While not a particularly expensive guitar by 1940's standards, listing at $55.00 (plus case) this 00-18 still represented a fairly substantial investment to most players. This is not a flashy guitar; the trim is discreet with tortoise celluloid on the body edges and a simple multiply soundhole ring. In classic Martin style, the elegant understatement speaks for itself. Despite its smaller size body and lack of flash this was a fully professional-quality instrument fully suitable "for broadcasting or stage work".

In the years since, Martins of this era have become the benchmark for all subsequent acoustic guitar designs. The 00-18 is on the smaller side but even so is an extremely versatile instrument. The scalloped bracing really makes a major sound difference on smaller bodied guitars, and this instrument has a wealth of sound not evident even on most 00's from later in the same decade. Both as a creative tool and as an object of beauty and grace, a well-played but wonderful example of Martin's contribution to the American guitar.
Overall length is 39 3/8 in. (100 cm.), 14 3/8 in. (36.5 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 5/8 in. (41 mm.).

This is a well-played but still nicely original guitar with some repair work but in fine structural shape and an excellent player. The finish shows moderate checking overall and some typical play wear, with an area worn into the wood at the lower edge of the pickguard and some pick scratches mostly above and behind the soundhole. The top/side edge shows wear and some minor flaking to the lacquer from contact with the player's arm. There is a thin but fairly deep gouge into this area of the top as well.

The back has a decent amount of random wear and a number of melt marks on the upper half, likely from something vinyl left too long in the case. The sides show heavy checking to the lacquer and some dings and scrapes. The back if the neck is worn down to the wood in some spots and has a few shallow dings, but no large capo wear spots or the like. The finish on the entire instrument remains original with no overspray or even notable touch up.

The oddest repair on the instrument is two small filled circular holes on the top, one in the center of the pickguard and one in the worn area just behind it. We can't tell what might once have been there leaving these behind, but there are small round plugs in place attesting to something! These have been neatly plugged but are still visible. There is also a filled hole on the side near the endpin.

This guitar has had a thorough maintenance re-conditioning with a neck reset, period correct refret, new aged bone nut and a new perfect replica bridge made so playability is excellent. The original small bridgeplate is intact and undisturbed. We don't know exactly what indignities this guitar has endured over the last 75+ years but it has survived with its feel and sound intact, and is thoroughly set right and ready for another 75 or more. It is housed in a solid if somewhat worn period case likely a few years later than the guitar, with a single decorative sticker on the lid. Overall Very Good + Condition.