"Buy with confidence!" reads the sticker from Morey's Music on the back of this 1930 Martin 000-18's headstock. And if it's tone you're after, we couldn't echo Morey's catchphrase loudly enough. This is the cleanest and most well-preserved pre-war 12-fret 000-18 that's been at TME since the days when Eric Schoenberg held court behind the counter. If you're looking at the photos and thinking, "There seems to be a decent amount of wear present for you to call it 'clean,'" ... it's worth a look around to see how many 12-fret 1930's 000-18s appear ever in any condition. When they surface, they often bear signs of previous amateur "repair" work that have severely compromised their structural integrity (and thereby, the sound). The last one that walked into TME had been converted to left-handed (back taken off, all original bracing removed). The one before that had been refinished, and the top sanded to about the thickness of a Post-it note. You get the idea. The tragedy of those mistakes is compounded by the simple fact that these (pre-war 12-fret 000-18s) are extremely rare instruments: not many at all were produced in the late 1920's, relative to 0 and 00 production, and not many were made in the early 30's before the more popular OMs evolved and production shifted heavily towards 14-fret instruments.
So ... imagine our delight when this particular 12-fret 000-18 arrived, its original structure and finish almost entirely intact. We say "almost" because there was one problem that needed fixing: an older neck reset had left a too-big fingerboard shim installed under the extension. The original frets had also been ground down, resulting in, shall we say, imperfect playability. A new fingerboard shim was installed by TJ Thompson, who also re-fretted the guitar with proper-height bar fret stock. Playability restored, and no work should be required for a very long time.
The sound was restored as well. And what a sound! This is very likely the flattop that all of us here at TME would take home today if we were given a choice (we're 12-fret fans, each of us). This guitar's sound is monstrous, with the best low end you could ask for from a small-bodied instrument. The classic Mahogany / Red spruce dryness is present in encyclopedic fashion, with the punchy, round mids, and fat trebles on the wish list of everyone who's thinking about acquiring a 1930's Martin. As a bonus, the guitar comes with its original hard case. We'll remember this guitar for a long time when it goes to its new home.
Please note: international shipping is not available for this guitar. Payment is requested by check or wire transfer.
- Model: 000-18
- Serial No. 42649
- Materials: Mahogany back & sides, Red Spruce top, Ebony fingerboard & bridge
- Finish: Original lacquer
- Neck Shape: Medium-fat, rounded
- Hardware: Older replica bridge recontoured by TJ Thompson, Refret by TJ Thompson, otherwise original
- Measurements: 1 7/8" Nut width, 25.4" Scale, 2 3/8" String spacing
- Case: Original HSC