C. F. Martin 0-18 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1953)

C. F. Martin  0-18 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1953)
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Item # 9620
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C. F. Martin 0-18 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1953), made in Nazareth, PA, serial # 133885, natural lacquer finish, mahogany back, sides and neck, spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, black tolex hard shell case.

This is a lovely little Martin 0-18 from early 1953, built just as the Korean war was ending and the country settled into the "Populuxe" era. The mahogany body carries traditional Martin features including tortoise celluloid binding on the body edges, tortoise celluloid pickguard, old style long-saddle rosewood bridge, and a nicely ambered nitrocellulose lacquer finish. The headstock corners are the rounded style typical of the period, with the peghead face adorned with the "CF Martin" gold decal on the face and individual Waverly openback tuners with hexagonal bushings.

These 1950s 0-18s are lovely-sounding instruments, still built fairly lightly compared to examples from a decade or so later. Exactly 650 of these small mahogany-and-spruce marvels were shipped from Nazareth in 1953, priced at $$80 (Plus case). This one has plenty of volume (more than many expect in a smaller body guitar) and a nicely even ringing tone. This is a superb-playing and sounding small-body Martin, showing some wear but better preserved than many and ready for the next 65+ years.
Overall length is 38 3/4 in. (98.4 cm.), 13 9/16 in. (34.4 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 is a played-in but generally well preserved guitar. The original finish is intact all over the guitar, with scrapes and dings throughout, but with no overspray anywhere. The top has pickwear scratches around the treble side soundhole, a case bite scratch on the lower bout bass side and numerous small scratches from strumming and handling. There is a cleanly repaired crack at the top of the pickguard under the "B" string, a place where cracks typically occur as the pickguard shrinks over time. There is also a cleanly repaired crack directly adjacent to the center seam between the bridge and the tail block.

There are two cleanly repaired cracks on the rim, both on the treble side, one begins near the neck block and continues around the upper bout and another running for about four inches at the apex of the lower bout. There is also a scrape on the upper bout of the treble side, presumably from the guitar rubbing on the hinges of a previous case. The back shows numerous scuffs and scratches but no repairs.

The neck has been carefully reset and the original full-height bridge has been reglued. The original bone saddle has been taken down somewhat, but is still quite tall enough for adjustments in the future. The interior, including the bridge plate, is fully original and shows no signs of repair except on the treble rim where the two glued side cracks can faintly be seen.

The bone nut, Waverly openback single unit tuners and tortoise celluloid pickguard are original. The original decal is clear and bright on the headstock which shows finish checks and numerous small bumps to the edges. The neck is free of capo marks or finish loss, with a few scratches over its length. The original frets have been neatly dressed, but still have plenty of life left. This guitar plays extremely well with a low even action and offers a lot of sound for a small body instrument. Overall Excellent - Condition.