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Martin 000-42 Modern Deluxe
 
An updated take on a classic high-end Martin.
February 16, 2022
 

Among vintage Martins, the 000-42 is one of the more elusive standard models. Martin only built 127 of the instruments between 1918 and 1943, and the company wouldn’t reintroduce the model until 2004. This limited supply, combined with the fact that Eric Clapton played a 1939 000-42 on his now-legendary MTV Unplugged show has made the model highly coveted. Several variations of a new 000-42 have been offered in Martin’s standard lineup for a while now, and this year, the company added a new version to its relatively new Modern Deluxe line. I recently had a chance to check out the new model in the Peghead Nation video studio.

As with all of Martin’s Modern Deluxe models, the 000-42 Modern Deluxe masterfully combines traditional design with highly contemporary elements. On the traditional side, the guitar offers all of the fundamental features that define a 000-42. It has rosewood back and sides (in this case, some of the highest-grade Indian rosewood you’ll come across), a spruce top (beautiful Sitka, treated with Martin’s Vintage Tone System process), and, most distinctively, the abalone top purfling, style-45 “snowflake” fingerboard inlay, “torch” inlay in the peghead overlay, etc. However, true to its Modern Deluxe designation, the guitar also has flamed maple binding on the body and the fingerboard, abalone side-dots, Martin’s “Liquidmetal” bridge pins, Evo frets, and, in its most radical departure from tradition, a carbon-fiber bridge plate. High-end models such as this are built by some of Martin’s most experienced craftspeople, and the 000-42 Modern Deluxe doesn’t disappoint when it comes to materials, fit and finish, and overall craftsmanship. 

Remembering how much I enjoyed playing the 000-28E Modern Deluxe I demoed back in 2020, I looked forward to checking out the fancier 000-42 Modern Deluxe. And once again, I was happy to find the qualities that have made 14-fret 000’s so popular with players of different styles. The guitar’s short scale and excellent setup make it easy to play. Its 1¾-inch nut is slightly wider than those on many earlier Martin 000’s, but about the same as prewar examples; and the mid-size body is comfortable to hold. The 000-42 Modern Deluxe has a much slimmer neck profile than those of vintage 000’s, and I suspect that players used to contemporary designs would feel right at home with it. Tonally, the guitar is pure Martin, with great balance, lovely lower mids, great sustain, and excellent clarity. As I’ve noted with other Modern Deluxe models, the 000-42 Modern Deluxe is on the brighter side of the spectrum, a quality that extends its sonic range without ever becoming too trebly.

With the 000-42 Modern Deluxe, Martin has succeeded in updating a classic. The guitar has beautiful materials and delivers a more contemporary tonality than vintage-style re-creations of the model. And players who wish for more tradition don’t need to despair: Martin continues making its standard 000-42!

SPECS: 14-fret 000 body. Sitka spruce top with Vintage Tone System treatment. Scalloped, Adirondack spruce X-bracing. Solid Indian rosewood back and sides. Genuine mahogany neck. Ebony fretboard and bridge. Carbon-fiber bridge plate. 24.9-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. 2⁵/₃₂-inch string spacing at the saddle. Gold Waverly tuning machines. Made in USA. $7,199. 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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