In 1998, Martin began an intriguing collaboration with classical guitar luthier Thomas Humphrey. At the time, Humphrey's guitars were highly revered by many top classic guitarists, and players were willing to wait as long as five years to get one of Humphrey's creations. Through the collaboration, Martin would use its full-scale production line to build more-accessible versions of Humphrey's creations.
The Martin C-TSH borrows many features from Humphrey's critically-acclaimed Millennium guitar. Because of that, it doesn't look much like your average Martin guitar. Most striking is its gracefully arched Engelmann Spruce top and elevated fingerboard, which combine to create a negative neck angle. This interesting design causes the neck to point at the top of the guitar (instead of running parallel with it), so the strings pull on the bridge more similar to how a harp's strings pull its soundboard. Under the hood, the top is supported by Humphrey's intricate lattice-bracing design. All of this combines to keep the top nicely responsive, even with the reduced tension of nylon strings. East Indian Rosewood back and sides add shimmer and complexity, and its 650 mm scale length combined with 2-3/32" nut provide a traditional classical feel. In total, only 263 C-TSHs were ever produced.
This 1998 Martin C-TSH is in excellent condition. While it shows some minor playwear and general wear and tear (see photos), it is free of any severe cosmetic blemishes. Its saddle has been replaced with a functional, slightly undersized saddle that allows for good action and proper intonation, and it has non-original three-on-plate tuners that keep it perfectly in tune.
It's hard to pinpoint how the litany of unique design features affect the sound, but one thing's for sure: this is a fantastic-sounding classical guitar. It's unlike any other Martin, but you can tell that it was built with every bit of the structural integrity you'd expect from Martin Guitar. Original hardshell case included.