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Martin 000-16 StreetMaster
 
An affordable rosewood-and-spruce 000 with stripped-down appointments and a distressed finish.
September 14, 2022
 

Ever since the 14-fret 000 design was introduced in the mid-1930s, Martin has built countless variations. With its balanced tonality and comfortable dimensions, the mid-size instrument has been used by guitarists of just about every style, and it has proven to be an excellent platform for many of Martin’s acoustic-electric models. Just when you wonder whether Martin might have run out of new things to do with this classic design, along comes the 000-16 StreetMaster, which combines familiar features in a fresh package. I had a chance to take the guitar for a spin in the Peghead Nation video studio.

Martin originally introduced its StreetMaster line as part of the mahogany 15 series in 2017. Featuring a distressed finish and stripped-down appointments, StreetMaster models reside on the more affordable end of Martin’s line, but are built with solid woods and have the tone and feel that the company’s guitars are famous for. The 000-16 StreetMaster is the first 16-series guitar in the line, elevating the design with Indian rosewood back and sides and an Adirondack spruce top. These are, of course, the same materials found in Martins that cost considerably more than the 000-16 StreetMaster’s street price of just under $2,000. This is an impressive feat, especially considering that the top features Martin’s Vintage Tone System treatment. While it has the simplified appointments seen on other StreetMasters and 15-series models (there’s no body binding or purfling, the rosette is a basic two-ring design, and other appointments are kept to a minimum), the guitar has the high-level of craftsmanship that we expect from a Martin.

For those familiar with 14-fret 000 instruments, the 000-16 StreetMaster will feel like an old friend. Its short scale, excellent setup, and High Performance Taper neck provide smooth playability, and the guitar’s open-gear Golden Age Relic tuners make tuning up a snap. As should be expected from a good 000, the guitar offers big guitar sound for its medium size. It has solid bass response and low end (rosewood back and sides tend to help in this regard) as well as balanced sounding mids and highs. Adirondack spruce tops are known for their ability to produce a large dynamic range, and on the 000-16 StreetMaster, this was definitely the case. The guitar pumps out respectable volume when pushed hard and displays a rich tonality when played softly. Looks and appointments aside, it wouldn’t be a stretch to compare it to a 000-28, and while I didn’t have one on hand to play side-by-side, I’ve played enough 000-28s to say that this StreetMaster compares favorably. 

Overall, the 000-16 StreetMaster is a great addition to Martin’s catalog. Traditionalists may question the guitar’s looks, but while appearances are a matter of taste (and Martin makes plenty of traditional-looking models), it’s hard to argue with the instrument’s performance and bang-for-the-buck value. 

SPECS: 14-fret 000 body. Adirondack spruce top with Vintage Tone System treatment. Scalloped X-bracing. Solid Indian rosewood back and sides. Mahogany neck. Rosewood fretboard and bridge. 24.9-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. 2⁵/₃₂-inch string spacing at the saddle. Nickel Golden Age Relic tuning machines. Made in USA $1,999. 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
 
 
© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com