Introduced in 1934, the Martin 000-18 combines a playable 24.9" short scale with a comfortable mid-size body to deliver warm, balanced tone steeped in subtlety and richness. The 14-fret 000 body is essentially a medium-size—it produces a bigger sound than a parlor, but it is considerably more comfortable on your lap than a dreadnought. The construction of a 000-18 is straightforward: a Spruce top with Mahogany back and sides.
While the 000-18's specs haven't varied much since the early days, there were a few noticeable changes along the way. In the early '40s, the slimmer 1-11/16" nut width took over, and in 1946, Martin changed from Adirondack Spruce to Sitka Spruce. But perhaps the most impactful change for the sound and the feel were the evolving bracing designs inside the guitar.
The original 000-18 had scalloped X-braces that were closer to the soundhole (forward-shifted). In 1939, the X-bracing shifted closer to the bridge (rear shifted), and by the mid-'40s, Martin was no longer scalloping the braces. In 1944, Martin began experimenting with tapered braces, and they used tapered braces for the rest of the '40s. Tapered braces are tallest at the center of the “X” and thin out evenly toward the guitar's sides, which generally helps keep the tone very balanced across the register. Since the 000-18 is known for a balanced sound, the tapered-brace era produced some great-sounding 000-18s.
This 000-18 (serial # 101483) is one of 577 made in 1947. It is an excellent example of a tapered-brace 000-18. Its tone is balanced and crisp with rich Mahogany overtones. It produces an impressive amount of bass, and it has wide dynamic response. Its tone sounds refined and nuanced with age. There's a particular magic to an old Martin guitar, and this '47 000-18 certainly has it!
This 1947 000-18 has certainly been played over the years—the top shows some serious pick wear, talk about mojo! Somebody loved it, and despite the wear, they took care of it. For its age, this 000-18 finds us in impressive structural condition with great action and a highly-playable setup. Over the years, the neck has been reset, and the Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard has been refretted. The bridge has been removed, lowered, and reglued, and it has a new bone saddle. There is a repaired pickguard crack right by the soundhole, and a small repaired top crack on the bass side of the lower bout (see photos). The original tuners hold tune nicely, but the D peg is fairly bent. This 1947 000-18 includes a modern TKL case.