1930 MARTIN 0-17

1930 Martin 0-17, in good condition.

A beautiful and rare all-mahogany model, this little guitar probably contributed to Martin’s survival during the financial crisis that submerged the entire United States following the Black Friday of 1929: offered for a modest $30, the Nazareth manufacturer managed to sell between 300 and 1,000 copies a year throughout this rough decade, ensuring a solid source of income while crisis hit the country from all sides. The success of this model is undoubtedly due to its low price, guaranteed by the absolute simplicity of style 17. Here, fancy exotic woods, pearl inlays, even binding are nowhere to be found and the guitar is reduced to the bear essentials: top, back and sides made with minimal thickness mahogany, rosewood bridge and fingerboard, the only element of decoration consisting of a modest purfling around the mouth. The varnish is also applied in sparse layers, to say the least. The guitar’s scalloped bracing and internal construction are utterly delicate, but have been designed for steel strings – note these should be kept to a very light gauge, the transition between gut and steel strings being relatively recent and the bridge and the bridge plate pre-dating those thought for higher string gauges. All these elements contribute to making the guitar extremely light with a very big sound, much more so than you would expect from such a small format.

During its 93 years of existence, this guitar has undeniably been through a lot: we can note old repairs on the bottom and side. Fortunately, the guitar has not suffered any cracks in the top, and its original elements are present, including its varnish, its straight bridge and its tuners. We find Martin’s stamp on the joint cover and branded on the back of the headstock. Complete professional setup and refret with bar frets matching the original done in our workshop, this delicate guitar is fully ready to be played – particularly pleasing in fingerpicking thanks to its large width at the nut and comfortable string spacing.

Sold in a modern 0-shaped hardshell case.

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