While we can agree that the best sounding Martins - or at the least the loudest and boldest - were made in the late 30's and early 40's, none of those guitars has the sweet, delicate sound of an early 20th century Martin. This 00 has a quality of tone that is purely sublime, combining the best aspects of steel and gut into one magical instrument. Looking for that elusive parlor guitar? This 00 embodies the essence of parlor, and any modern luthier would be hard-pressed to build a guitar of this size that can rival it in clarity, sweetness and volume.
Believe it or not, the Style 30 was once as popular as 42-style Martins. But the whims of culture and the fickle nature of consumers seem to have relegated the 30 to the annals of guitar history. First introduced in 1899, the Style 30 featured an abalone rosette with fine colored marquetry purflings and silver plated tuning machines and a gorgeous ebony pyramid bridge that puts any modern remake to shame. And just think, for an extra $5, you could have bought the style 34 and had pearl tuning buttons and an ivory bridge! And people think today's consumer has too many choices.
This 1903 00-30 is in exceptional condition for its age. The finish has been reworked at some point - a possible refinish or at least overspray - but it was expertly done. There are several repaired side cracks and a couple of back cracks, and the neck looks to have been reset as well. Again, very well done. The top, however, is crack-free and shows no signs of bellying. The insides are clean with a small bridge plate patch to keep the ball ends anchored on the plate. Like all Martins from this period, it was intended for gut strings; but this guitar can handle light steel strings with no problem (it's strung with Monel .011 presently). It has the original saddle and bridge pins as well as bar frets. Plays like a dream.