C. F. Martin 00-17 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1952)

C. F. Martin  00-17 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1952)
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Item # 9533
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C. F. Martin 00-17 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1952), made in Nazareth, PA, serial # 126725, natural lacquer finish, Mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, original brown alligator chipboard case.

This is a nicely preserved Martin 00-17 from late 1952, just hitting its 68th birthday! The 00-17 was the largest of the all-mahogany Martins of the 1950s, the company's lower budget 6-string offerings. Style 17 guitars were sold at a relatively modest price (list on this 00 was $70 in 1952, without a case) but they were still built to the same exacting quality standards of all Martins.

To achieve this economy, the company used mahogany instead of spruce for the top and applied only the most minimal decoration: there is no binding anywhere, only small dot fingerboard inlay and the gold Martin decal adorning the peghead. Typical features for this period include openback large-plate Kluson tuning pegs with plastic buttons, a 5-ply sound hole ring, a small straight rosewood bridge and tortoise celluloid pickguard.

Older mahogany-top Martin guitars are known for their distinctive ringing tone, with a somewhat "tighter" and more detailed response on each note than the typical spruce top model. They are generally considered particularly excellent fingerpickers, especially suited to blues and ragtime styles. The larger 00 body size gives the sound more depth than the more common smaller 0 size models and this is also a good general "strummer's" guitar. The 00-17 records and amplifies easily and also makes for an excellent singer-songwriter's instrument as well as a great all-around choice in a vintage Martin.
 
Overall length is 38 13/16 in. (98.6 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 decently clean guitar overall, showing some general wear from its 68 years on earth but no major damage or repair. It remains all original except for newer buttons on the original openback Kluson tuners, the originals likely having crumbled. The top finish shows some light play wear, with some scuffing (mostly to the pickguard) but only a few light pick scratches. The finish on the back and sides is somewhat more worn, with some dings, scratches, scuff marks and areas of finish worn away on the unbound back/side edges. Both upper bout sides have noticeable worn spots from rubbing against the interior the old chipboard case over the years.

The back of the neck has some very small dents and wear spots in the lower positions. Internally the guitar is untouched, with a clean original small maple bridgeplate and the typical super neat Martin bracework. There are no visible cracks anywhere. The original bridge has never been cut down, the neck has been recently reset and refretted. As a result this is an excellent player with a lovely sound, fairly bright but never shrill and with a wide dynamic range. It is still housed in the original (or at least period) chipboard case with a Bakelite handle. Excellent - Condition.