C. F. Martin 0-18 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1954)

C. F. Martin  0-18 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1954)
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Item # 9912
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C. F. Martin 0-18 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1954), made in Nazareth, PA, serial # 140869, 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 late 1954, apparently not having seen too much play time since then. The mahogany body carries the typical period features including tortoise celluloid binding on the edges, tortoise celluloid pickguard and long-saddle Brazilian rosewood bridge. The spruce top shows a nicely ambered thin nitrocellulose lacquer finish. The headstock corners are the somewhat rounded style typical of the period, with the peghead face adorned with the "CF Martin" gold decal on the face and individual openback tuners with hexagonal bushings.

This guitar, like all made prior to 1964, is the product of the "old" red brick Martin factory, before the move to the modern facility down the road that year resulted in many changes in the way the guitars were made. These 1950s 0-18s are lovely-sounding instruments, fairly lightly built compared to examples from a decade or so later. Exactly 750 of these small mahogany-and-spruce marvels were shipped from Nazareth in 1954, priced at $85 (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 only very minor wear and relatively few sings of the passage of over six decades since it first left Nazareth PA.
 
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 very well preserved guitar, showing light wear and a couple of modern player additions but with no notable damage or repair. The original finish is completely intact showing only some light scrapes and dings throughout and no overspray anywhere. The top has some very light pickwear scratches into but not through the finish. The back shows scuffs and scratches but no heavy buckle wear. The back of the neck is free of capo marks or major finish loss, with a few small dings and dents, the largest a small chip up by the headstock. There is one spot of finish damage on the treble side forward of the waist, of indeterminate origin!

There are no cracks anywhere on the instrument, which is delightful to find on a Martin of this vintage. The interior, including the bridge plate, remains original except for a 3-point pickup added under the bridge and an endpin jack fitted. The neck has been carefully reset to the original full-height bridge. The bone nut and saddle appear to be replaced; the tuners are modern openback Waverlys. The original frets are intact with very minor wear and have plenty of life left in them. This guitar plays extremely well with a comfortable action and offers a lot of sound for a small body instrument. Includes a nice modern HSC. Excellent Condition.