Martin may not be the first company that comes to mind when you think of classical guitar builders. Nevertheless, most Martin guitars made prior to 1928 were made for gut strings, even though they don't closely resemble the Spanish tradition of Classical guitars. In 1936, Martin launched the G-series as an attempt to offer a classical option. But while their wide fingerboard, slothead, and 12-fret neck might look convincing, most G-series guitars were X-braced, so they didn't exactly scratch the classical itch.
In 1962, Martin launched the C-series as its first earnest attempt to build guitars that could keep up with classical players more familiar with Spanish-made instruments. With its stripped-down Style-16 appointments and Mahogany back and sides, the 00-16C was the most affordable C-Series model. It features classical-appropriate fan bracing, a wide bridge with rounded ends, 12-frets clear of the body, and a 25-1/4" scale. While the Martin brand has largely relied on the X-bracing innovation since the 1840s, the 00-16C captures the response and dynamics of handmade instruments built in the Spanish tradition.
This 1962 Martin 00-16C shows the expected wear and tear of a treasured vintage guitar, but it has plenty to offer for the next 60 years. There is a small repair at the waist on the treble side, and the back seam looks to have separated for about 6" from the end block (all properly repaired and stable). The original Brazilian Rosewood bridge looks to have been reglued some time in the past, but it is stable and not lifting up at this time. Top distortion is a non-issue, thanks to the softer pull of nylon strings. It has been refretted with the period-appropriate fret wire, and the original Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard is gorgeous. It sports the original tuners, and they still hold tune like they should. The original finish is checked, scratched, and worn here and there, but overall it's in nice cosmetic shape.
This 1962 00-16C is a great player with a wide classical feel (2" at the nut). There is still plenty of saddle left to lower the action down the road, but the current setup facilitates a wide range of playing styles. Its tone is mellow and warm—it's a sweet sounding guitar rich in subtlety and mahogany character. This '62 00-16C captures its one unique vibe, so it'd be a great songwriter, studio tool, or everyday couch player. It includes a period chipboard case.