Vintage Martin 00-17 - USA 1954
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The Martin 00-17 (with the 14th fret neck join) debuted in 1934 and was manufactured up until 1960. The price of entry for these high quality, yet more affordable Martin instruments made the 00-17 a popular instrument for fingerstyle, blues and ragtime musicians, the all-mahogany 00-17 had a warm and loud tone that projected chords and individual notes with harmonically rich timbre.
The mahogany models made by Martin were their entry level instruments - still not cheap, but certainly more affordable by Martin standards. These guitars were made to the same exacting level of quality as Martin’s high-end instruments, but utilised more readily available mahogany tops, backs, neck and sides with more basic appointments. The 00-17 features no binding or fancy inlay. Small ivoroid dots in place of the standard Martin diamond fretboard markers and a subtle 5 ply sound hole ring are the only embellishments to speak of. However, any guitarist will tell you that these things are of no consequence when talking tone, playability and feel. These three attributes are where this instrument shines.
The first thing to notice about this guitar is its volume. It has a surprisingly big, full sound with rich midrange and low-end projection. The mahogany top has a tame top end - not the bright sound typical of spruce topped instruments. These mahogany bodied Martins are hugely popular in the recording studio due to their even and sweet tone.
The neck profile is a soft V over 16” radiused Brazilian rosewood fretboard. This guitar has had a refret in recent years by renowned luthier Piers Crocker who also had the foresight to keep the original frets in the case. The guitar has Waverly tuners which appear to be original.
Overall, the guitar is in very nice shape. There doesn’t appear to be any signs of repair or even a neck reset. The back of the neck is quite clean and doesn’t show much use for a guitar of its age. There are numerous small chips and dings as evidenced by the photos. The original celluloid tortoise shell pickguard has some light shrinkage, but nothing problematic.
This guitar is a unique and beautiful instrument with a lovely loud and warm tone and is ready to be enjoyed by someone who appreciates the quality of golden age Martin acoustic guitars.
Scale length: 24 ¾”
Fretboard Radius: 16”
Action at 1st fret: 0.3mm
Action at 12th fret: 3mm
Neck depth at 1st fret: 22.2mm
Neck depth at 10th fret: 26.3mm
Nut Width: 43mm
12 fret width: 54.5mm
Neck material: Mahogany with Brazilian Rosewood fretboard
Fretboard inlays: Dot Ivoroid
Body size at lower bout: 365mm
Tuners: Open back Martin Style (repro)
Pickguard: Dark Tortoiseshell
Bridge: Brazilian Rosewood