Instruments & Gear: New Gear

Martin 00-18 Authentic 1931

Sponsored By

Vintage-style 12-fret re-creation with dynamic and complex tone.

by Teja Gerken
April 25, 2016

Martin has produced numerous lines of vintage reissues over the years, but the company’s Authentic series offers the most accurate interpretations of its classic models. The latest guitar in the Authentic series is a re-creation of a 1931 00-18. Like other Authentics, the 00-18 Authentic 1931 is built in a dedicated area of the Martin factory using the highest grade materials, hide glue construction, and many details that are no longer found on other new Martins.

One of the most striking things about the 00-18 Authentic 1931 is it’s weight: it is light as a feather and definitely the lightest new Martin I’ve played. The instrument is beautifully constructed, with superb fit and craftsmanship all around, and woods with rich coloration and even grain. The guitar’s Adirondack spruce top and braces received Martin’s Vintage Tone System treatment, a procedure similar to torrefaction. Madagascar rosewood is used for the guitar’s binding, headplate, and other details, and like all Authentics, the instrument has the Martin’s Vintage Gloss finish, which is thinner than that of most standard Martins.

With its wide neck and string spacing, the guitar has a true vintage feel, and its fretwork and general setup result in excellent playability. The guitar has an incredibly dynamic voice that offers coherent and complex tone from the softest attack to aggressive strumming. Fat trebles and a great lower midrange make for a wonderfully balanced sound that is right at home with traditional styles, but is also suited to modern repertoire and playing techniques.

SPECS: 12-fret 00-size body. Solid Adirondack spruce top with scalloped Adirondack spruce X-bracing. Solid mahogany back and sides. Mahogany neck with dovetail joint. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 24.9-inch scale. 1⅞-inch nut width. 2-inch string spacing at saddle. Open-gear tuning machines. Made in the USA. $7,499 (list).

Category: Instruments & Gear

Comments and Discussion

Posted by TejaGerken on
Hi Luca,

I thought that the neck on the 00-18 Authentic felt great, but yes, 1 7/8-inches is on the wider side of the spectrum for a steel-string. I do prefer 1 3/4-inches for all-around playing, and that's what pretty much all of my own guitars have, but there are times when I wish that I did have a steel-string with a wider neck, as it can really help with certain fingerings. A lot of this will depend on the size of your hands, and to an extend on the type of music you play, so it's hard to make a general recommendation.


Teja Gerken
Co-Founder/Producer, Peghead Nation
Posted by Luca Gualandris on
Hi Teja,
what do you think of that wide 1 7/8 neck?
Isn't it too large?
Thank you!
Posted by Trenton Scott on
Great review and nice finger-picking. What a tremendous little guitar-- a true time machine.
Posted by TejaGerken on
Hi Sam,

That's a section of Stefan Grossman's "Bermuda Triangle Exit." Great tune, and fun to play!

Teja Gerken
Co-Founder/Producer, Peghead Nation
Posted by Sam Powrie on
what's the tune you are playing please?,
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