C. F. Martin Arts & Crafts 2 Limited Edition #10 of 100 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (2007)

C. F. Martin  Arts & Crafts 2 Limited Edition #10 of 100 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (2007)
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C. F. Martin Arts & Crafts 2 Limited Edition #10 of 100 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (2007), made in Nazareth, PA, serial # 1258731, natural finish, figured German white oak back and sides, Englemann spruce top; mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, original brown tolex hard shell case.

This is one of the more interesting custom Martin models of the past couple of decades, designed as a tribute to an American aesthetic movement instead of a particular artist or historic instrument. Martin's intention was to honor the more austere "Arts & Crafts" aesthetic that flowered in America between the eras of Art Nouveau and Art Deco in the late 19th/early 20th centuries. Following a positive response to an Arts & Crafts Dreadnought model introduced in 2006, this Arts & Crafts 2 was conceived as a guitar more redolent of the actual era that birthed the titular movement.

This is a 000 sized 12-fret Acoustic Guitar, #10 of a Limited Edition run of 100. These were a somewhat unusual design for Martin, built with quartersawn figured German white oak back and sides with grain forming a dramatic "Cathedral" or herringbone pattern, an Engelmann spruce top, a unique ginkgo leaf fingerboard inlay motif, and a pointed-belly pyramid bridge. While some makers like Lyon & Healy had built oak guitars in the early 1900s, Martin had shown little interest in this timber.

This tastefully decorated 12-fret 000 has mostly 1900s style features including a 1 3/4" nut width, though it is built with the "modern" solid headstock most modern players seem to prefer. The top is bordered in bold herringbone and with no pickguard. Structural features include mahogany internal blocks and dovetail neck joint, top braces of 1/4" Sitka spruce, and end piece and outer bindings of East Indian rosewood. The low profile neck is mahogany and the nut and saddle are bone. The headstock is faced in East Indian rosewood with a "C Martin F" block gold mother of pearl logo and an inlaid pearl Ginkgo leaf floral border.

This is a long-scale guitar like a 1920s 000, 25.4" nut to saddle with 20 frets total, a string spacing of 2 1/4" at the 12th fret and 2 1/4" at the bridge. The fingerboard is inlaid in an interpretation of the Arts and Crafts style with Ginkgo leaves inlaid in gold mother of pearl and a mother of pearl border. The aging toner top, as well as the sides, back, and back of the neck are all finished in Polished Gloss lacquer. The bridge is a Pyramid "Stauffer" style; the bridge and end pins are solid black ebony. The tuners are Gotoh Antique gold machines with large buttons.

The sound hole label is signed by C F Martin IV and bears the number #10 of 100. In a salute to the Arts and Crafts movement, the back stripe is made up of a repeating Rosewood & Oak Dovetail Design and on either side of the heel of the neck two rosewood squares are placed, mirrored at the end graft. This unique Oak guitar is an interesting and aesthetically pleasing instrument both visually and in sound quality, housed in a Geib style #535AC five-ply plush lined wooden case.
Overall length is 39 3/4 in. (101 cm.), 15 1/8 in. (38.4 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 in. (10.2 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 25 1/4 in. (641 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/4 in. (44 mm.).

Overall this is a clean guitar showing some very minimal play and handling wear. There are a couple of "strap melt" marks on the back where something must have been left in contact with the finish for some time, which is not severe but noticeable. The top center seam has been resealed, and there is a small repaired spruce grain crack running down from the bridge below the low E pin. Someone let this one get a bit dry at some point over the last 13 years, it seems, but all is solid again now. The frets show some very light wear and this is a very good playing and sounding guitar, definitely an unusual but quite attractive Martin with its own look and sound. Includes the original case and a package of paperwork. Excellent Condition.