1974 Martin 00-18 Flattop Guitar

I also didn't snag a video of this old beater, but I wish I had. This '74 00-18 has a killer tone after getting spruced-up. Martin still built their 0 through 000-size guitars roughly the same from the '50s through the '70s, so unlike the dreadnoughts (which often suffered from the late '60s through the '70s due to increasingly-robust bracing), the smaller, short-scale guitars tend to sound great throughout those decades without any modification.

The best ones, of course, are those that've been played a lot and this guitar was certainly well-loved and a bit abused now and then. It has many top cracks and a number of back cracks, all of which are now cleated but all of which also had only so-so old repairs done to them. A few of the braces were loose when this came in and the bridge appears original but cut-down a bit on the top deck.

I worked on this for a customer and it needed a bunch -- a neck reset, fret level/dress, repairs to said cracks and brace issues, a new pickguard install (the original was curled-up), recut of the saddle slot and a new bone saddle, a mild amount of cleaning, and a setup.

The end result is a guitar that's stable, plays on-the-dot, and easily-adjustable via a nice, deep, drop-in saddle slot. I had some hiccups along the way, though, as the neck joint was a bit mucked-up by earlier repair work. I had to remove the fretboard extension to gain direct access to the joint for neck removal on this one because there were some shims wedged in the joint that didn't want to come out with just some heat and a dash of steam. It's a non-issue, though, as it's not obvious to the casual observer and the joint is now tidy and secure.

The Grover Rotomatic tuners are somewhat heavy for a guitar of this size, but they are factory-original.

The frets still have good height despite the level/dress job and should be good to go for many years.

I had to widen and deepen the saddle slot as Martin installed the bridge about 1/16" off-true. It's no issue, though, as the bigger saddle also gave me more room to fine-tune the compensation.

The ruddy mahogany back and sides set-off the aged-looking spruce top nicely.