C. F. Martin 00-21 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1930), made in Nazareth, PA, serial # 42859, Natural lacquer old Refinished, Brazlilan rosewood back and sides, spruce top; mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, tweed hard shell case.
This is another example of a well worn but properly restored Martin. There were two long cracks and one short one in the back of the body. These are all glued and cleated. The dated and worn neck is replaced with a new Martin period correct neck that is done by THE Bruce Petros who was a Martin authorised repairman at the time.The neck is specified with an ebony core and no truss rod as per original specs.Together with Cremer Guitar Works in Illinois a spectacular nitro refinish is done on the guitar with a non-original pickguard. The guitar retains its original bridge and tuning machines. The custom 'Torch or Feur' design was added during that time.
Rich and loud guitar that plays well and super comfortable to hold at length.
|Solid Brazilian Rosewood
The 12-fret, steel string Martins of the late 1920s and early 1930s are some of our favorite guitars. For just a few years before altering nearly all their designs to the 14-fret neck "Orchestra Model" pattern in the early '30s, Martin crafted (in relatively small numbers) 12-fret Brazilian rosewood flat-tops braced for steel strings instead of the gut used previously. The other features remained pretty much as they had been since the last century, with a slotted headstock and wide fingerboard on the neck which joins the body at the 12th fret. These guitars were the final evolution of the original 19th century Martin patterns before the "modern" 14-fret design became standard a few years later. The 00-21 was one of the few guitars that was not altered to the "Orchestra Model" template in the 1930's and was still built in this form for decades hence, albeit with some modernized features.
This early 1930 00-21 is a nice example from this early steel-string period, with some old repair but surprisingly little wear. The Style 21 designation signifies a midline instrument, the 00-21 being the second smallest rosewood guitar in the company's line, over the 0-21. Models beneath this were built with mahogany back and sides instead of the even-at-the-time costly rosewood. It still maintains the same standards of workmanship as the highest-grade instruments, which is a Martin trademark.
The tight grained spruce top is braced in a delicate scalloped "X" pattern which would be beefed up later in the decade as Martin gained experience with steel strings. This guitar would have been a very early recipient of Martin's new "belly' bridge, introduced in late 1929. The older style straight pyramid bridge had proved to be easily dislodged by steel string tension; the new bridge offered more gluing area with a flange off the back edge that helped re-inforce the top at that critical spot.
The bookmatched Brazilian rosewood on the back has an interesting lighter pattern in the center on either side of the backstrip that would be considered a premium grain today. At the time Martin considered this "flawed" compared to absolutely straight grained wood, so they used pieces like this on a Style 21 instead of a higher priced guitar. The famous "herringbone" trim ornaments the sound hole ring and backstrip instead of around the top edge as with a Style 28; the outer binding is rosewood and the ornamental position markers in the ebony fingerboard are tiny slotted diamonds.
This 00-21 was built fairly early in 1929 -- the serial number is less than a thousand beyond the last registered for 1929. The stock market crash was a recent event, and the Great Depression just starting to loom at this time. This is one of 85 00-21s shipped that year. It would have been priced at $60.00, which seems like a bargain even in period money. Although produced in a larger quantity than some of the higher grade models, this is still a rare guitar today. All prewar Brazilian rosewood Martins were made in small numbers by later standards, and if the original price seems laughable now they were considered relatively expensive guitars in their time.
This guitar has had a slightly oversized belly bridge and a larger-than-original maple bridgeplate fitted but remains in better preserved and more original condition than many 1930-era survivors. Even when braced for steel strings, the Martins from this period are much more lightly constructed than later models and many have suffered structural damage from the heavier strings common in the 1930s and 40s. Even in this slightly altered state this is a wonderful-playing and sounding instrument, a continuing testament to its builder's skill and reputation and at least as fine a 12-fret 00-sized model as anyone has ever made -- then or since.