Maple Street Guitars - Acoustic, Classical & Electric Guitars
Maple Street Guitars - Acoustic, Classical & Electric Guitars
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Maple Street Guitars - Acoustic, Classical & Electric Guitars
Maple Street Guitars - Acoustic, Classical & Electric Guitars

Used Acoustic Guitars


Martin, C.F.: 0-18K

(Item ID: 0-18K    Serial#: 50069)

Martin, C.F. 0-18K 1932 0-18K (SN. 50069)

General Description:

Martin began producing private-label Koa guitars in 1916 for Southern California Music. Evidently the success of this venture, along with the apparent rising tide of the Hawaiian music craze that would soon sweep the country, prompted Martin to begin producing their own Koa guitars, beginning the following year. All told, they produced approximately 4000 Koa guitars in the years between 1917 and 1935. Production peaked in 1927, with a total of 650 0-18Ks and O-28Ks being made that year. This figure is a strong indicator of the popularity of the Koa 0 body, given that the entire production of 0 and 00 bodies in Styles 18, 21, and 28 totaled only 1500 that same year!

In response to the tremendous popularity of Hawaiian music and the “slack key” slide guitar associated with the genre, Martin offered a “Hawaiian” variation of many models and styles other than the Style 18K—this option is denoted with an “H” (e.g., 0-18KH). The Hawaiian models underwent a few minor design changes before the final version came into being, featuring: a flat fingerboard, optional flush frets, an elevated nut, and a straight saddle slot. While the Hawaiian models were intended for slide/tonebar use exclusively, it proved a fortunate coincidence that Martin elected to preserve a rounded neck profile on these instruments. As is true of all cultural phenomena, the Hawaiian craze eventually cooled, as did the demand for slack key acoustic guitars (electric steels and resonators are another story!). In the wake of this, many enterprising folks chose to convert Hawaiian Martins into more conventional guitars by installing frets and often adding a radius to the fingerboard—nowadays these conversions are more common than the guitars in their original state. Perhaps one of the most famous examples of such a conversion is Norman Blake’s iconic 00-40H (a guitar that has actually visited our store a couple times).

This particular 0-18K was not a Hawaiian model, and thus it has a factory-original fingerboard radius and its original bar frets, which still have a good amount of mass. Number 50069 proudly sports some very attractive Koa that exhibits a good deal of figure and curl with pleasing caramel hues—this is not true of all 0-18Ks, as many have rather plain Koa (of course, this has little to do with their actual performance!). Similar to all-mahogany guitars, the all-Koa construction of this guitar imparts a distinctive airy presence that is clear and crisp; yet, there is a sweeter and more complex harmonic content to be found in the Koa, along with perhaps some added warmth. In concert with the small, but highly efficient 12-fret 0 body, these qualities combine to produce a lively, flushed out, and focused voice that truly draws the player in. Like all 12-fret Martins of this era, this guitar does have a 1 7/8” nut width, which could present challenges for some but could be a boon for those with larger hands or for fingerstyle players who prefer wider necks—moreover, we always encourage folks to try custom nuts with reduced string spacing before passing judgment on such matters (you might be surprised!). Needless to say, this 0-18K is a beautiful example of a once highly popular Martin. It exudes the very best aesthetic and sonic aspects that one could seek in a great vintage guitar.


Cosmetic Condition:

This 0-18K remained in the family of its original owner. It was original purchased by the father of the present owner as a gift for his brother, who was evidently a fine player. Yet, upon developing severe carpal tunnel syndrome, the brother became so discouraged with his inability to play that he returned the guitar. As no one else in the family played, the guitar sat unused for many years until arriving at our store. Upon initial inspection, we were not surprised to see that the guitar needed a neck reset, which is quite common. More obvious, however, was the fact that the bridge was in bad shape—not only was it currently separated, but it had clearly separated in the past and had been poorly repaired with screws through the wings and some evident glue squeeze out. Over the course of time the wings of the bridge had severely warped, making the bridge unsalvageable. Subsequently, we enlisted the aid of Jeff Henry, who reset the neck and made a replica bridge. Apart from these now-addressed structural issues, this guitar is in impressive condition for its nearly 90 years of existence—remarkably, it is free of any cracks, including pickguard cracks! As one might expect of a pre-war instrument that was actively used, this 0-18K did pick up some battle scars in its time. Most significantly there are some larger scrapes through the finish where wood is exposed. Yet, the total assemblage of dents, bumps, and scuffs doesn’t really detract much from the beauty of this guitar (which was clearly never abused). On the contrary, at the risk of using a term that is often employed to excuse abuse, this honest wear constitutes true “character.” VERY GOOD+ CONDITION

Specifications:

• 12-fret 0 body
• Solid Hawaiian Koa top
• Solid Hawaiian Koa back and sides
• Mahogany neck with slotted headstock
• Brazilian rosewood headstock veneer
• Brazilian rosewood binding and heelcap
• Radiused ebony fingerboard with Style-18 dot inlays
• 20 bar frets
• Replica ebony belly bridge with angled through saddle (original included)
• Three ring rosette
• Ebony bridge pins
• Ebony nut
• Bone saddle
• 1 7/8” nut width
• 2 ¼” string spacing at the bridge
• 24.9" scale length
• Brass 3-on-a-plate Waverly tuners with Ivoroid buttons
• Original faux tortoiseshell pickguard
• Non original chipboard case (c. 1970s) (used)

Our Price: $4000.00

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