The M-36 is one of the less known guitars in the Martin line. It is literally a Jumbo Orchestra version of the D-35. What does that mean? It’s wide across the hips like the Martin J-40 Jumbo. But in some ways it feels smaller than a dreadnought because the body is thin from front to back like an OM or 000 model. And the 3 piece rosewood back borrows from the D-35.
Tonally it’s one of Martin’s best acoustic guitars. And this one has a leg up on many we’ve seen due to the fact that it’s approaching its 40th birthday.
Martin produced the M-36 from 1978-1996. They were discontinued and eventually brought back into production around 2006.
The Martin M-36 has an M-size (0000) body, Indian rosewood back and sides, Sitka spruce top, white binding, 28-style sound hole rosette, rosewood bridge, bound ebony fingerboard and tortoiseshell pickguard.
The body is gloss body finished with a vintage toner on top.
The tone projects well and is balanced, somewhat between an OM and a dreadnought. The bass is full and punchy, and there is nice headroom for flat picking.
Model: 1980 M-36
Construction: Dovetail Neck Joint
Body Size: M-14 Fret (0000-14 Fret)
Top Material: Sitka Spruce
Brace Shape: Scalloped
Brace Material: Sitka Spruce
Brace Size: 5/16”
Back Material: East Indian Rosewood
Back Purfling/Strip: Style 35
Side Material: East Indian Rosewood
Endpiece: Antique White
Endpiece Inlay: Multi-Stripe
Binding: Antique White
Top Inlay Material: Multi-Stripe
Side Inlay Material: Multi-Stripe
Back Inlay Material: Multi-Stripe
Neck Material: Select Hardwood
Neck Shape: Low Profile
Neck Taper: Standard Taper
Nut Material: Bone
Headstock Shape: Solid with Square Taper
Headplate Material: East Indian Rosewood
Headplate Logo Style: Script Old Style Overlay
Heelcap: Antique White with Multi-Stripe
Fingerboard Material: Ebony
Scale Length: 25.4”
Neck Joins Body: at 14th Fret
Number of Frets Total: 20
Fingerboard Width at Nut: 1 11/16”
Fingerboard Width at 12th Fret: 2 1/8”
Fingerboard Inlay Material: Mother of Pearl
Fingerboard Inlay Style: Style 38
Fingerboard Binding Material: Antique White
Side Dots: Black
Back and Side Finish: Gloss
Finish Top: Gloss
Top Colour: Aging Toner
Finish Neck: Satin
Neck Colour: Dark Mahogany
Bridge Material: East Indian Rosewood
Bridge Style: Modern Belly with Drop-in Saddle
Bridge String Spacing: 2 1/8”
Saddle: Compensated Bone
Saddle Radius: 16 inches
Tuning Machines: Chrome Enclosed Gear
Bridge Pin Material: White Plastic
Bridge Pin Dots: Faux Tortoise
This guitar was played semi professionally for many years, but has been somewhat dormant for a while. We recently had it looked over and determined it needed a neck reset. This was carried out by Luke Parry of Northern Beaches Guitar Repair in Sydney. He also gave this instrument a total refret using original spec wire, and levelled the fingerboard. Luke did an exceptional job, and there are certainly no structural issues now.
Luke also gave this M-36 a new bone nut and saddle plus a complete overall setup. It is now playing beautifully.
This one has Martin’s square tube truss rod from the period. It now plays comfortably right up the neck with a lovely low action.
It is in fine condition for an “almost vintage” guitar. There are a few marks expected of a 40 year old instrument, but nothing offensive. The tuners are solid and adjust with accuracy, and the intonation is good.
Most importantly, this M-36 sounds great, with a rich, complex midrange, clarity in the top end, and some lower mid punch that does not get too boomy.
All in all, a very nice example of a lesser known Martin model with lots of character and many years left on the clock.
Comes in its original Martin hard shell case in very good condition.