During the 1920s, the C.F. Martin company was in a state of change. In 1922, Martin started bracing guitars for steel strings, and for many years, larger body sizes had begun to replace the original sizes of the 19th century.
While the 12-fret 0 may be considered a small guitar by modern standards, this 0-28 was a proper-size guitar in 1927. It has a well-rounded voice with impressive balance, bass content, and output for a small-body guitar. A lot of that has to do with the old-world craftsmanship that was C.F. Martin at the time, but credit is also due to the Adirondack Spruce top and the hand-scalloped X-bracing under the hood.
One of 124 made in 1927, this 0-28 features Herringbone top trim and Brazilian Rosewood back and sides. During the '20s, Martin was transitioning from the early-20th century shellac finishes towards the nitrocellulose lacquer that would become standard for the following 80+ years. This 0-28 features the transition-period thin satin finish that makes some '20s guitar special. Some Martin historians argue that this finish helps give the guitar its airy "open" resonant sound.
Like many guitars from this era, this 0-28 has needed substantial repair over the years, but it finds us 100% stable with a fantastic setup and nuanced tone. Like other '20s examples, the pull of steel strings was not kind, resulting in three repaired top cracks that run from the bridge to the end block. Also, the bridge and bridge plate have been replaced. The new bridge plate is Maple and it's a careful match to the original shape and design. From there, the x-braces were re-glued, and combined, all of the repair work optimizes the sound for the 21st century and eliminates any issues with bellying of the top.
At some point along the way, the neck was reset, and there appears to be a small repair on the bass side from the side pulling away during the neck reset. There is also a filled strap button hole on the neck heel. The nut may be original, but there is a non-original shim underneath it. Despite the bar frets, this '27 0-28 plays nice and easy. Thanks to the repair work, it has lower action that is inviting to a variety of playing styles.
As for sound, listening to this 0-28 is an experience like no other. Its voice is huge for its size, and it produces lush complexity. Every note rings out with beautiful harmonic, shimmering sound. The guitar feels alive—a very light touch is all you need to set it off—but when you dig in, it explodes. Throughout really follows you, too. Notes bloom as you play them. Every sound this guitar produces is inspiring and makes you never want to put it down. It includes a modern hardshell case.