VINTAGE 1935 Martin 018-K Acoustic Guitar with HSC
This is a very nice collectible Martin with a warm, clear, unique tone. After careful review we have determined that the following characteristics are noteworthy:
- The neck angle has settled slightly into the body of the guitar over time, likely from changes in humidity and temperature while under tension. This results in the guitar not intonating perfectly in every position, but it does play in tune reasonably well. The action from the bottom of the low E to the top of the 12th fret is 3mm exactly. No neck reset is needed at this time, though if the buyer wanted the instrument to play as it did when it left the factory, Martin will do this work for a very reasonable $350. Many of these instruments are in need of this at some point because of the light construction Martin used in the 30’s, especially with koa instruments.
- This guitar shipped from the factory as a “Hawaiian” set up, and was converted at some point to a “Spanish” set up. The original straight-across saddle slot was filled with ebony and re-slotted for a compensated angle, and this was done professionally and VERY well. The nut was then replaced for the lower strings to play with fingers instead of a slide. The bridge was likely off the guitar at some point for reasons unknown, and may or may not have been professionally done.
- There is indirect evidence that there has been some neck repair along the seams at some point, perhaps at the time of the bridge repair as the glue color is consistent. There is hairline separation at the neck joint that may need a glue injection one day.
- The low E bridge pin slot has been hollowed out over time and will no longer hold a peg unless you turn it backwards, which we have done and the string is not going anywhere. This would need built up with ebony dust by a luthier and tapped to be addressed properly.
- The tuning machines are very old, high-quality Grovers, but are not original to the instrument since the Hawaiian set up instruments had classical looking keys with white buttons.
- There is a top crack that was repaired fairly well at some point. It is unknown if there is a matching cleat on the inside of the top as we don't have a lighted mirror to reach that far
- There look to be initials or a word of some kind scratched into the top, about two centimeters long and perhaps a centimeter high. We can't make it out.
- The case is not original, it looks to be 1950’s or 1960’s.
This is a very nice instrument in relatively good overall condition; I rate it a 75/100. The koa used in this instrument nicely matched from to back, and has very clean lines inside without the saw marks sometimes seen in these. It does not appear to have been refretted and was likely rarely or lightly played. The fret markers appear original and the fingerboard does not show evidence of planing. The endpin is original. Overall this is a great example of these increasingly rare koa models. Come play it today before it's gone!