1974 Martin 00-21 Flattop Guitar

Rosewood-bodied Martin 12-frets are not exactly easy to come by, so when a customer sent this in for some quick work before heading home after purchase, I was a little bit excited to see how it'd turn out. It seems to have been a two-owner guitar -- maybe an inherited instrument -- and it's very clean for its age save the usual, ugly, hairline, pickguard-shrinking-induced cracks on the treble side of the top.

My work on it included a fret level/dress, bridge pinholes fill/redrill, saddle and minor bridge shaping, string ramp additions, cleats and a seal-job to the cracks near the pickguard, and a good setup. I made both a "winter" and "summer" saddle for the guitar, too, while I was at the setup.

Compared to what it generically apes ('30s Martin 00-28s), this guitar has a heavier build that can take more tension, a more aggressive set of mids (almost along the lines of a creamier and stouter-sounding '40s Gibson LG-2 voice), and a bigger-feeling neck. The "originals" had 1 7/8" nut width just like this, but the back profile of the old necks was a soft, slim V-shape whereas this has a chunkier C-shape and that makes a huge difference if you're a thumb-over player and whatnot.

Specs are: 24 13/16" scale, 1 7/8" nut width, 1 5/8" string spacing at the nut and 2 9/32" spacing at the bridge, 14 1/8" lower bout width and 10" upper bout. Action height is 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE at the 12th fret and I've strung it with 54w, 40w, 30w, 22w, 16, 12 strings. The neck is straight.

While the bridge and saddle are low, there's plenty of back-angle on the saddle and that's allowing the top to get the drive it needs. This guitar is loud and punchy with a robust sound that carries.

It's hard to argue with Indian rosewood that's as pretty as that, too.