Now available is a fantastic C.F. Martin 0-18 flat top acoustic guitar made in the final quarter of 1929. The serial number is 38968. This is a 12 fret (clear of the body) slotted head, X-braced, steel string guitar. It has a natural lacquer finish, Adirondack spruce top, Honduras mahogany back, sides, and neck, and ebony fingerboard, nut, and bridge. Included is the original black chipboard case with purple interior. The top and back are bound in rosewood. The headstock has a Brazilian rosewood overlay, and the original Waverly brass strip tuning machines with ivoroid buttons. The inside of the body is immaculate and unmolested. The small rectangular maple bridge plate is in excellent condition. The back of the mahogany neck has one small ding that cannot be felt when moving your fretting hand up and down the neck. The fingerboard shows no wear, and displays 3 pearl dots at the 5th, 7th, and 12th fret that descend in size the higher one moves up the neck.
The body and neck are crack free, something that one rarely finds on a guitar that is 90+ years old. The finish is in excellent condition, with a few minor dings, dents, and scratches, with the exception of the area where a pickguard might go , had this guitar been built with a pickguard. Martin did not install pickguards until the 1930's. More on the pickguard area later on in the description. The guitar has had a recent neck reset, and it was re-fretted with period correct bar frets. The original ebony bridge had cracked along the bridge pin holes and had also been shaved to a lower height in order to forgo the inevitable neck reset. We have replaced the bridge with an exact to spec ebony bridge.
When I received this guitar from the granddaughter of the original owner, there was an odd shaped black pickguard loosely attached to the top to hide the pickwear done when grandpa played the guitar in days past. Upon removing this chunk of plastic, I was delighted to find that while the original finish in this area was gone, the pickguard had been installed before there was damage to the top wood. Whomever glued the pickguard to the top had sliced some very shallow diagonal lines at a 35 degree angle to the grain of the spruce. I conjecture that this was done so that the pickguard would grip the top better when attached. The area was cleaned to remove any residual adhesive, and it was then French polished with shellac. Enough shellac was added to level the finish in this area. Since shellac can be removed without having an effect on the original lacquer finish, this touchup to the finish is reversible if the next owner desires to do so. Also, a Martin style single 0 self adhering tortoise shell plastic pickguard will be included with the sakle of this guitar should the next owner choose to cover the area. As is, the added shellac matches the tint of the original finish, protects the top, and aesthetically improves the appearance of the instrument. Other than this repair to the finish, the rest of the finish is in excellent condition with no other overspray or touchup. Credit for the fine repair work goes to Mark Tossman, a top notch repairman and restorer of fine instruments from the Seattle, Wa. area.
Finally, and most importantly, this guitar is a pleasure to play, and has a sound that will astound you. It has an action that any finger style guitarist would appreciate, and plenty of height left in the saddle to lower the strings further if desired. The guitar has the volume of a larger body guitar with a rich bass that is well balanced with the midrange and high end. The guitar sounds great when flat picked or strummed. To summarize, small body Martins that sound this great, and are as well preserved as this one arte difficult to find. Who will be the next lucky owner?