12-fret 00 fuses classic catalog guitar style with contemporary tone and feel.
by Teja Gerken
March 28, 2016
One of the surprises at Martin’s NAMM-show exhibit earlier this year was the company’s completely revamped 17 series. With a retro appearance that borrows as much from Martin’s own history as it does from the classic prewar catalog guitars of such brands as Stella and Harmony, these new instruments have spruce tops rather than the mahogany tops that have long been a distinctive part of Martin’s 17 series. The guitars are available in 12-fret and 14-fret 00 as well as 14-fret 000 sizes, and we had a chance to check out the 12-fret 00-17S Whiskey Sunset.
The 00-17S Whiskey Sunset definitely has a unique vibe. Martin aficionados will note its solid headstock, which is unusual for a 12-fret Martin of any era, and the instrument’s satin sunburst finish also departs from Martin tradition (a black finish with a white pickguard is also available). However, the 00-17S Whiskey Sunset’s general design and construction specs stay close to classic Martin designs. Built with a Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides, the guitar includes Martin’s simplified dovetail neck joint as well as the short 24.9-inch scale typical of a 00.
The 00-17S Whiskey Sunburst’s appearance may resemble classic budget guitars, but it has a complex tone with beautiful clarity, great dynamics, and, like many great 00s, excellent tonal balance, with singing trebles, strong mids, and basses that are musical without being overwhelming. The guitar’s neck has Martin’s modified low oval shape, which gives the guitar a more contemporary feel.
SPECS: 12-fret 00-size body. Solid Sitka spruce top with scalloped X-bracing. Solid mahogany back and sides. Select hardwood neck with dovetail joint. Rosewood fingerboard and bridge. 24.9-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. 2⁵/₃₂-inch string spacing at saddle. Open-gear tuning machines. Made in the USA. $2,299 (list). martinguitar.com
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