C. F. Martin 00-18 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1958)

C. F. Martin  00-18 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1958)
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Item # 9735
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C. F. Martin 00-18 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1958), made in Nazareth, PA, serial # 165335, natural lacquer finish, mahogany back, sides and neck, spruce top; mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard, black hard shell case.

The late 1950s 00-18 is not one of Martin's rarer creations, but to many players and Martin fans constitutes one of the company's most beloved combinations of wood, wire, and inspiration. This is not a flashy guitar; the trim is discreet with tortoise celluloid on the body edges and a simple multiply sound hole ring. In classic Martin style, the elegant understatement speaks for itself. The spruce used for this top has a few spots of nice bearclaw figure, not often seen on Martins of this period.

The 14 1/4" light mahogany body makes for a very responsive guitar, with a nice mix of depth and clarity to the sound. This example was built in late 1958, one of a total of 575 000-18s shipped that year. It has typical period features with tortoise celluloid binding and pickguard, a rosewood through-saddle belly bridge and a nicely ambered top finish. The original tuners are the ubiquitous openback Grover Sta-Tite machines used on many 1950s and '60s guitars.

While not a particularly expensive guitar by 1958 standards, listing at $125.00 (plus case) the 00-18 still represented a substantial investment to many amateur players at least. Despite its smaller size and lack of flash, the 00-18 has always been a fully professional instrument popular with pickers of many styles, one of Martin's most versatile and timeless classics. This one has seen a decent amount of use and shows it, but offers a very well-developed 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 5/8 in. (41 mm.).

This is a well-used but excellent playing example overall, showing some typical wear and minor repair. The finish shows light checking and general wear overall with numerous scratches, scuffs, and dings. There is a moderate amount of the common pick wear, just a bit down to the wood on the sound hole edge above the pickguard and into but not through the finish on either side of the fingerboard and above the soundhole. The back has numerous dings, scratches and scuffs mostly in the center but no large wear spots through to the wood.

The back of the neck shows several light scratches and scuffs, and an old repair on either side of the fingerboard just below the nut. This was a short grain split running under the fingerboard about 1" on the bass side and 3" on the treble, sealed up solidly but without any overspray so still visible. These do not affect play in any way but are visible on close inspection. The headstock edge shows some wear, with one large chip, off the top edge. The neck has been neatly reset, probably some time ago.

There are several tightly repaired side cracks, the most visible running around the curve of the lower treble bout back to the waist. There are two more short cracks on the upper bout on the bass side, and longer one running from the waist to the lower bout curve close to the back. These have been neatly sealed with minimal touch-up and some of the daintiest cleats we have ever seen! There are no other cracks on the instrument, the top amazingly is totally crack-free.

The original bridge has been slightly shaved down but still has good height, while the original small maple bridgeplate is intact and unaltered. The original frets and fingerboard show some very light play wear. This is a very lightly built guitar compared to later 1960s and '70s examples, with a lively sound fingerpicked or flatpicked. It would make an excellent recording, writing, or performance instrument and is ready to gig, in a nice modern HSC. Overall Very Good + Condition.