Offered from 2005 to 2011, the Martin 000C-16RGTE was a reasonably-priced Nazareth, PA-made 000 with the balanced sound of Rosewood and a Cutaway for access down the fingerboard. Even though this model came from the factory with a Fishman Aura pickup—like the rest of the 16-Series—it was intended to be a no-frills, USA-made axe. While it may not have the high-end details and full-body gloss finishes of more expensive models, the 000C-16RGTE features all-solid-wood construction, and it delivers excellent tone.
This 000C-16RGTE Aura was made in 2006, and even though this Martin has been played heavily, it still has plenty of songs left in the tank. There is a particular vibe and mojo to a played-in Martin, and this 000 captures that perfectly. It shows some heavy pickwear around the top (see photos), and the edge of headstock shows some scuffs and wear. The Mortise and Neck joint was re-glued at some point along the way. The back center seam has also separated on one end, and it is properly glued with cleat reinforcements. There is also a crack/gouge along one side edge that hasn't opened up (see photo).
When it came to us, this 000C-16RGTE Aura was badly in need of some polish and some setup love. With a little TLC (and some elbow grease), we cleaned it up, lowered the action, and dressed all of the frets. The results have exceeded our exceptions. This is a great-playing Martin with rich, balanced tone. Although it's not a vintage guitar, it has a lot of the character and nuance of an old Martin box.
The Fishman Aura electronics still function as they should, so this Martin is ready to be amplified. Sure, better pickup technology has come along since 2006, but the Aura still gets the job done. From what we can tell, the endpin jack was replaced. With heavy use over time, these jacks get played out, but the replacement is rock solid with no issues.
All in all, this 2006 000C-16RGTE Aura has a lot to offer. This Martin has seen some miles, but there's plenty left in the tank! A great player with a cutaway, electronics, and that Rosewood sound, this guitar includes a moderately-weathered Telluride Music Co. gig bag.