Martin’s 12 fret 00-18 Authentic does a wonderful job of recreating one of Martin’s greatest vintage smaller-bodied models of the ‘Golden Era’. With likely fewer than 200 original examples in the world, the 12 fret belly-bridge and pickguard equipped 00-18 is an exceptionally rare vintage model. It’s delightful to be able to offer a bang-on recreation of the model.
At the heart of the 00-18 Authentic 1931 is the guitar’s VTS Red spruce top, light scalloped bracing, tiny maple bridge plate, and hide-glue construction. Looking inside with a mirror, the guitar is virtually indistinguishable from an original early 1930’s 00, minus the dust-bunnies and tone balls. It’s really quite remarkably made. The back braces are carved low and small, and the cloth side reinforcements look the part as well.
The guitar’s ‘Authentic’ treatment extends to the accurate trimmings as well, from the wooden rosette and purflings and bindings, and finished-over bevelled-edge pickguard, to the finished-in ebony nut, C.F. Martin & Co. stamp on headstock back side, and brass-plate Waverly-style reproduction tuners. The neck carve is quite accurate to the era, with a rounded feel and moderate depth, and the headstock shape and slotting is dead-on.
30’s profile belly bridge with bone through saddle, unslotted early 1930’s ‘ice cream cone’ style pins and matching endpin, and 1.5mm ivoroid side dots. Even the neck finish along the edge of the fingerboard is scraped away past the body joint. They really didn’t miss a trick.
Needless to say, the 00-18 is an exceptionally good sounding guitar. It’s 00 size is, for many, the ultimate compromise between big and small, and the guitar offers something to players of every style. It has warmth, it has articulation, clarity, overtones, presence in the mid range, support in the lower register, and trebles that spring out. It’s responsive and sensitive, and a wonderful fingerstyle instrument. If you opt for a heavy flatpick you’ll be rewarded with a gorgeous fundamental, power, and definition in addition to everything already mentioned. Yes, we’re fans of this guitar.
Accompanied by a deluxe Harptone fitted hardshell case, and 1930’s Authentic repro price tag, this a lovely package.
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