Up for sale, a 1943 Martin 0-18 vintage acoustic guitar, complete with a hardshell case. Freshly serviced by Portland Fretworks, this Wartime instrument is from one of Martin's most celebrated eras of production, featuring an Adirondack red spruce top, mahogany back and rims, and a mahogany neck capped with a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard.
Service includes a neck reset, full refret, restoration of the original small maple bridge plate, a newly fabricated Indian rosewood bridge, carved bone nut and saddle, a full refret, StewMac Golden Age Restoration tuning machines, crack repairs as needed, and finish work primarily on the back and rims.
This Martin is an extremely soulful and elegant vintage example, and the overarching sound is punchy and powerful in all registers. Sound simply leaps from the instrument with a light touch, and a purposeful strum yields tons of projection and a guttural growl in the bass register. Warm, bell-like and sweet when fingerpicked, the guitar has a woody and percussive midrange oomph when flatpicked, delivering a dry sparkling cut on the plain strings. Featherweight at 3lbs, this Martin is strung with fresh 12-53 strings, featuring low action and accurate intonation.
The mahogany neck has a prominent V-shaped profile carve, measuring .855" deep at the 1st fret and .995" at the 9th. The Brazilian rosewood fingerboard is a particularly dynamic cut of this tonewood, refretted with correct slender vintage-style fretwire and exhibiting light wear on the crowns of frets 1-3, with wear extending more faintly beneath the plain strings until fret 5. There is light wear into the rosewood in the 1st position as well, and the guitar plays cleanly up the 24.9" scale with a straight neck. The modern bone nut measures 1 11/16" in width, and the headstock face has a Brazilian rosewood veneer with the original Martin logo. The headstock has been fitted with StewMac Golden Age Restoration aged tuners that very closely match the footprint and open-gear aesthetic of the originals, right down to the flathead mounting and gear screws.
The modern Indian rosewood bridge sits flush with the top on all edges, with very little deflection of the top behind the bridge. The neck has been professionally reset, meeting the body at the ideal angle, and the new carved and compensated bone through saddle has good height. There is minor touched-up finish loss from a previous bridge footprint forward of the current (correct and optimally intonatable) bridge placement. The original tortoise pickguard has been retained, reseated on the top and very flat.
The original lacquer finish has been oversprayed, and the overspray is more minimal on the top, while the back and sides have been sanded to remove previous (non-original) varnish, subsequently finished in satin lacquer. Under a blacklight, the original finish on the body fluoresces more prominently from UV exposure, and significant original finish has been retained. All cracks have been repaired and stabilized as needed, and there is one long crack along the bass-side rim from roughly the strap button to the waist. A couple additional and slight splits are present on the lower bout edges of the top, along with the requisite "B string crack" between the pickguard edge and bridge, and a few short back cracks at the waist and bass-side lower bout edge. The neck profile is very smooth and easy-playing, retaining its original lacquer, with a few shallow dings central to the V profile carve.
A modern 00-sized hardshell case is included.