3/02/2018

1972 Martin 00-18 Flattop Guitar




This 00-18 is in for consignment and it's in great shape. While the '70s Martin dreadnoughts suffered a bit from stiffer bracing and a large rosewood bridge plate, the 0-to-000 guitars still used a smaller bridge plate like '60s guitars and, not surprisingly, sound almost the same as their '60s counterparts -- good!

It's survived with a minimum of trouble -- it's had an endpin jack hole drilled-out in the endblock, the bridge has a rosewood plug in its back edge and its top has been resurfaced (sanded/buffed), and the only crack is a treble-side pickguard hairline crack on the top that was cleated, sealed, and taken care-of before my time. The neck angle is good, the saddle has good height and back angle, and my work simply involved yanking-out an old pickup system, giving it a fret level/dress, filling and redrilling the pinholes, making a new saddle, and general setup.

It plays spot-on with 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret. I've strung it with 54w-12 strings and the neck is straight under tension. Specs-wise it's pretty typical for a 00-18 -- with a 1 11/16" nut width and 1 1/2" string spacing at the nut, 2 1/8" spacing at the bridge, 14 3/8" width at the lower bout, a 4 1/8" depth at the endblock, and 24 7/8" scale length. Martin's short scale drifts between this and "actual" 24.9" scale in my experience.


As usual, the top is solid spruce and the back, sides, and neck are solid mahogany. Both the fretboard and bridge are rosewood and the headstock veneer is, too. The guitar is all-original save for the bridge pins, endpin, and new bone saddle, though the original bridge pins are stashed in the case.

There's weather-checking to the finish mostly on the top and sides, but the back has light indentation/scuffing in its middle probably from a belt buckle (under a shirt?) or stand that was padded as the back does not appear to be top-coated but the scratches don't leave "bright" marks.



The frets still have plenty of life to go before they'll need replacing. The neck has a medium C/V hybrid shape to its back and a light radius to the board.





Note that I gave the string-slots fresh string-ramping for getting the best back-angle on the saddle. This also helps when changing strings. A fresh pin-hole fill/redrill job also means the ball-ends are fit snugly at the bridge plate.



I'm not sure why there's a lighter streak in the mahogany, but it's definitely in the grain and not the finish.


Grovers were standard-issue in this era.





The endpin has a cut-off jack/strap button in it (non-functional) that I grabbed from my parts-bins. I removed a Fishman Infinity Matrix that was installed ho-hum in this as I find these pickups sap acoustic tone a fair bit. The whole assembly is in the case. It'd be an easy guitar to drop a K&K Pure Mini in, though -- which would be my first choice on this one!



A period, hard, arched-top case comes with it. It's in healthy condition.

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