The M-Series Martins are based on the modification done for David Bromberg in the mid 1960's through Marc Silber, Jon Lundberg, and legendary repairman Mario Martello to an arch-top Martin F-9 rebuilt as a flattop guitar. Matt Umanov built a second M-Series guitar for Bromberg soon after. In the 1970's, these guitars toured the college circuit with Bromberg and developed enough of a reputation that Martin created a new size guitar in 1977, and named these new models M-36 and M-38. Also known as a 0000 size for a while, these guitars became very popular among many of the best known finger style guitarists in the US such as Stefan Grossman, Jorma Kaukonen, Woody Mann, Steve Earl, etc. who all have had signature M style guitars made for them by Martin.
The M-Series guitars have the volume of the D-Series, and the balance of the 000 size guitars in my opinion. This particular M-38 Custom Shop certainly fits that description.
In addition, this M-38 has a premium grade 8 Englemann Spruce top, Brazilian Rosewood back and sides, ebony fingerboard and bridge, and all the inlays are of blue paua shell. The nut, saddle, bridge pins, and end pin are of fossilized mammoth or walrus ivory. A complete Martin build sheet for this custom shop guitar is included with the photos.
The guitar has a full V neck, and measures 1 11/16" at the nut with a 25.4" scale length. It has a great feel and a comfortable low action for finger style guitar. The saddle has plenty of height, the neck is straight, and there is no wear to the original frets. With the exception of 3 cold cracks to the finish in the top, the guitar looks like it was never played. Included is the original arch-top Geib/Martin premium hard case.