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Martin 00 Custom
 
A 12-fret 00 with custom specs.
September 13, 2021
 

Small-body 12-fret guitars have experienced a renaissance in recent years, with players discovering their tonal virtues, and many manufacturers adding them to their offerings. One of the most-emulated blueprints for this instrument is the Martin 00, which was originally built in a 12-fret configuration from about 1898 to 1934, when the switch to 14-fret necks was made. Martin has offered numerous reissues of the design as part of its standard line over the decades, but the company’s custom shop can also provide options that aren’t currently in the catalog. In fact, if ordering a guitar from scratch feels too daunting, many Martin dealers will order custom instruments for their inventory, and occasionally, Martin offers exclusive runs of instruments with specs that deviate from standard models. I recently came across a Martin custom-shop 00 that was one of a run of 12 at Tall Toad Music in Petaluma, California.

Although this custom-shop guitar generally conforms to 12-fret 00 specs, it also illustrates that a few thoughtful substitutions can create a unique look and modified tonality. Vintage Martin 00s and accurate reproductions are built with mahogany, rosewood, or koa back and sides, but this instrument was built with cocobolo, whose tonal qualities are often compared to Brazilian rosewood. The guitar has an Adirondack spruce top with scalloped ¼-inch Golden Era–style bracing that is also made with Adirondack. All the woods are of the top-shelf quality that is expected of a high-end custom shop Martin. The guitar’s combination of appointments doesn’t match any traditional Martin style, but it delivers a great look. I was especially taken by the rare and colorful style-30 purfling, and the style-45 abalone rosette offered a touch of extravagance, while the quilted maple body binding is both functional and beautiful. 

Martin’s more than 120 years of experience building this type of guitar was evident as I played the custom 00. The guitar had a lush voice with great tonal complexity and rich overtones. It excelled when playing fingerstyle, which was facilitated by the instrument’s vintage-style wide neck. Overall, the guitar fused a true vintage sound and feel with an appearance that offers a fresh take on several classic Martin elements.  Martinguitar.com

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    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
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