C. F. Martin 00-18 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1950)

C. F. Martin  00-18 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1950)
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Item # 9325
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C. F. Martin 00-18 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1950), made in Nazareth, PA, serial # 115840, natural lacquer finish, mahogany back, sides and neck, spruce top; mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

This one's a stunner, one of the cleanest 70+ year old Martin guitars we have seen in some time. While the post WWII 00-18 is not one of Martin's rarer creations, to many players and Martin fans the model constitutes one of the company's most beloved combinations of wood, wire and inspiration. This mahogany Grand Concert model is not a flashy guitar; the trim is discreet with binding on the body edges and a simple multiply soundhole ring. In typical Martin style, the elegant understatement and classic lines speak for themselves.

This 00-18 was built in mid-1950, one of a total of 525 shipped that year just as the Korean War began. The list price was $80, up to $90 by the end of the year as another round of wartime inflation set in. It has typical period features with the tortoise celluloid outer binding and pickguard setting off the nicely ambered top finish. The tuners are Grover Sta-Tite openback individual units. The neck profile is just a bit bigger than the slim WWII standard, with the hint of a vestigial "V" along the rounded spine. The 14 1/4" light mahogany body makes for a very responsive guitar, with a nice mix of depth and clarity to the sound.
Overall length is 39 1/4 in. (99.7 cm.), 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 in. (10.2 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 is a truly lovely guitar, amazingly well preserved for its 70+ years on earth showing hardly any play wear and just some typical maintenance repairs. The finish still shines like it did when new, the color has ambered somewhat on the top. There are small scuffs and dings overall but really little evidence the guitar was ever played much.

Time has taken a toll in a few spots, mostly related to the celluloid pickguard shrinking just a bit. There is one old repaired grain crack to the top off the bottom edge of the pickguard, sealed with some fill and minimal touchup but still quite visible. Another smaller tight crack is off the top edge of the guard, neatly sealed up and far less conspicuous. There are no other cracks on the instrument.

The guitar has had a very neatly done neck set, with a new compensated saddle set into the original rosewood bridge. The original frets show virtually no wear, the fingerboard is very clean and this is an excellent player, with a lovely sound that really calls for playing in to fully mature, something this guitar seems to have been waiting for since the Truman administration! It still resides in the very fine and rare original green-lined HSC, something many buyers in 1950 would not have elected to purchase as it was quite an expensive add-on at the time. Not quite a time capsule but close, a superb example of this perennial Martin favorite. Excellent Condition.