A classic small-body returns to Martin’s standard series.
by Teja Gerken
May 30, 2017
Between the late 1800’s and the early 1970s, Martin built thousands of 0-18s, and used 0-18s are not difficult to find. But by the mid-1970s, production had slowed to a trickle, and by about 1994, the company had discontinued the model. Now it’s back in Martin’s standard series, and while the design mostly conforms to the 14-fret version originally introduced in the 1930s (earlier examples had 12-fret necks), the new model has been updated to make it fit with Martin’s contemporary line of instruments.
As a style-18 guitar, the 0-18 has a Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides, which, on our demo guitar, were quite attractive: the mahogany had particularly nice color and grain. The guitar has style-18’s typically understated appointments, including faux-tortoise body binding, simple abalone dot fingerboard markers, and a black-and-white multistripe rosette, but when everything fits together this organically, “understated” doesn’t mean “plain”—this is one scrumptious looking guitar! Structurally, the 0-18 has a dovetail neck joint and scalloped X-bracing, but two things set it apart from older versions: it has a compensated drop-in saddle (rather than the older open-ended saddles), and the neck features Martin’s modified low oval profile and High Performance Taper.
Playing the 0-18, we were greeted with classic Martin tone. The guitar had excellent clarity, great balance, and a surprisingly full sonic character given the instrument’s small size. The short scale and contemporary feel of the neck yielded great playability, and whether played fingerstyle or with a flatpick, it offered a vintage vibe that would be at home in many musical styles. Three cheers to Martin for bringing back a classic!
SPECS: 14-fret 0-size body. Solid Sitka spruce top with scalloped X-bracing. Solid mahogany back and sides. Select hardwood neck with dovetail joint. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 24.9-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. 2⁵/₃₂-inch string spacing at the saddle. Open-gear tuning machines. Made in the USA. $3,099 (list). Martinguitar.com
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