C. F. Martin 0-17 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1934)

C. F. Martin  0-17 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1934)
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Item # 9421
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C. F. Martin 0-17 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1934), made in Nazareth, PA, serial # 55759, natural lacquer finish, mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard and bridge, black tolex hard shell case.

This is a slightly worn-in but truly superb sounding 1930's Martin 0-17, showing some wear but an extremely fine player with an amazingly powerful sound for such a small all-mahogany guitar. This 0-17 was built very early in 1934, when the 14-fret version of the model was still a new design. This guitar would be one of the earliest such examples built as the model had been modernized from a 12-fret design just in time for the 1934 catalog. The rosewood fingerboard still features the traditional bar frets, which would shortly be discontinued across the Martin line.

Eleven hundred of these little mahogany wonders were made this year, the peak for the model ever. In 1934 the Depression was very much in evidence and inexpensive instruments were of the utmost importance...this one model may well have been the Martin company's salvation at this crucial point. Listing at $30.00 in 1933-4, this was down near the bottom of Martin's line but still a fairly expensive proposition for many Americans at the time.

While the 0-17 is extremely plain in appearance, it is built of high-grade materials to the typically high Martin standards. This is a pure minimalist guitar; there is no ornament save the small soundhole ring, tortoise celluloid pickguard and gold Martin logo on the headstock. Internally the delicately made scalloped braces are as finely worked as any Martin; unlike some other makers Martin never cut corners there. While plain as can be then as now 0-17 is a fully professional-quality guitar, extremely responsive and with a rich, singing tone.
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 0-17 has some general wear overall, but none of the heavy pickwear on the face often encountered on older Martins. The original thin lacquer finish has dings, dents and scrapes most heavily on the back, with some deeper gouges here and there. The top is comparatively clean, but does show one noticeable crack repair on the lower bass bout just by the edge with another smaller one above it. There is one small repaired crack to the upper side at the curve of the lower bout. The top is in excellent condition with none of the bulge distortion these early scallop-braced mahogany guitars sometimes show.

The neck has been reset at a good angle; there is some notable finish touch-up to some scarring around the heel and edges of the fingerboard but otherwise the finish on the instrument is original. The original bridge is intact and has not been lowered; someone nay have added more of an arch to the top than it had originally but there is still plenty of height. The bone nut and saddle are newer, while the original small maple bridgeplate is original and untampered with. The tuners are recent Grover G-98 reissues. The original bar frets remain in excellent shape and this scallop-braced mahogany gem is a little wonder to play. Very Good + Condition.