1957 Martin 000-18 Flattop Guitar

A local customer brought this sweetheart old Martin in for sprucing-up. It's a '57 and has the sort-of dry, punchy, airy tone I think-of when I think of mid-'50s 18-series models. It's clearly been played a bunch over its years, but it did arrive here in fairly-good order. There were a few repaired side cracks and top cracks that needed cleating and then it needed the usual other work (neck reset, fret level/dress, new saddle, etc.) but post-work it plays a treat and is good to go with plenty of saddle height.

What's interesting to me is that the neck is a little faster and thinner (front to back,) which reminds me more of '40s models or modern reissues than the sort-of beefier '50s and '60s soft-V/C hybrid necks that I'm more used-to on Martins from the time.

Per the usual, it's solid spruce over solid mahogany and has a rosewood board and bridge. The bridge has the old "long saddle" cut which is not my preference structurally but they do look gorgeous.

This came to me with some not-so-hot modern Grover openback tuners but I happened to have a set of vintage tuners on hand. While the original tuners on this were round-ended Waverly types with metal buttons (like one would also see on vintage Harmony and Gretsch guitars), the set I put on is a mid-'50s Grover set with the scalloped knobs like one would see on many other period Martins. It's not right for the guitar but it's right for 000-18s from the same year and a darn sight better than a modern repro set, looks-wise.

Aside from those tuners, the saddle, and the brige pins and endpin, it appears to be original throughout.


Rob Gardner said…
Beautiful guitar. It would have been made at the old North Street factory with the necks carved by hand, so each was a little different. Good choice on the machines.