2/17/2018

1964 Martin 0-16NY 12-Fret Lefty Guitar





I've had two of these 0-16NYs hanging-around waiting for consignment since late last year. A good customer of mine asked me to work this one over for him and then convert it to lefty, which I've done. It's now awaiting his approval.

Martin built these guitars to appeal to folk-boom players in the '60s and they're supposed to be throwbacks to 1930s 12-fret Martins. They are and they aren't, but when they're fixed-up properly they sound quite good and look the biz, too. They share the same body shape, size, and materials as a 12-fret 0-18, but the build is ever-so-slightly heavier overall and the neck has steel reinforcement in it rather than ebony. Still, these are built with very light bracing and I only suggest 46w-10 strings on these at maximum as they will get the "1930s belly" to them if you use anything higher.


This guitar has obviously been used during its lifetime, but it has no cracks and hasn't been abused. Work included a neck reset, fret level/dress, bridge reglue and conversion to a lefty drop-in saddle, general cleaning, and setup. The interested party also had me install lefty side-dots and a set of mini-dots on the face of the guitar. I chose to use the old 17-series dot pattern to suit the look of the tiny dots and I like how the understated look turned-out.


Aside from the bridge pins and new saddle, the guitar is otherwise entirely original.


The neck is nice and straight and the frets leveled/dressed easily. There's plenty of meat left on those bones for several future level/dress jobs.





While the original configuration of the bridge called for a slotted saddle, I like to use drop-in saddles as they're a lot easier to swap-out and do micro-adjustments to the action on. You can see here how this saddle has a healthy height to it, too, after the neck reset.

Like the original 1930s Martins, these guys had lower-height, lighter-weight bridges than their "normal Martin" contemporaries.



Note that there's no tortoise binding on the back edge (and no original board dots) -- hence the in-between 0-16NY (NY for "New Yorker") designation rather than 0-18.



There's a little finish muck near the heel and a filled strap-button hole.





While not pictured, this guitar also comes with its original, molded, hard grey Martin case.

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