Martin | 00-18H | 1937 | SN:Unknown
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- Year: 1937
- Serial #: Unknown
- Nut Width: 1 7/8” (47.6 mm)
- String Spacing: 2 1/4” (57.2 mm)
- Scale: 24 3/4”. (628.7 mm)
- Body Length: 19 1/2”
- Upper Bout: 10”
- Lower Bout: 14 1/4”
- Body Depth (Neck Heel): 3 3/8”
- Body Depth (Tail Block): 4 1/4”
- Frets to body: 12
- Back/Sides: Honduran Mahogany
- Top Wood: Red (Adirondack) Spruce
- Fingerboard: Ebony
- Neck Wood: Mahogany, 1 Piece
- Bridge: Ebony Belly
- Rosette: Violin Lines
- Fingerboard Bindings: None
- Headplate: Brazilian Rosewood
- Headstock Inlay: Builder Logo
- Top Trim: Violin Lines
- Fret Markers: Dots
- Tuners: Nicke
The 00-18H started out life as a Hawaiian style guitar with flush frets and raised nut. Designed to be played with steel strings and laid horizontally on the lap, this 14 5/16” guitar is small in size but large on tone. It has a Red Spruce top with Mahogany back and sides. The top sports an attractive sunburst pattern which is common on these models but rare on the straight 00-18s.
From 1937, this guitar retains all the sort after features- scalloped X brace, 1 3/4” nut width and a T bar truss rod in the neck. Somewhere along the line, an owner decided, as many do to convert it to a Spanish style guitar. This is not a radical conversion as it entails refretting the neck, changing out the nut and saddle and possibly altering the bridge.
These conversions don’t affect the value of the guitar as most of the changes are reversible and relatively non-invasive. However, by the time it reached the current owner’s possession, the fingerboard thinned, T frets had replaced the original bar frets. Additionally the bridge had been replaced and there was a collection of side cracks and a heel crack.
There was good news though, the top and back was all intact, with no cracks or loose braces and the bridgeplate was similarly unmolested. The best part though, as the sound- despite being 1/2 off the octave from the neck shifting, it retained a big voice, responsive with nice warm and woody depth to the tone.
With restorations, the long list of problems is not nearly as important as where and what the issues are. In this case, the major components, the top, the braces and bridgeplate were intact making the restoration viable- side cracks are easy to repair and fingerboards, frets and bridges can be replaced.
After the necessary work, this prewar gem will be singing again for many years to come.
Pictures kind courtesy of Tom. ©
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