Instantly charming 00-17 from Martins post-war period of production. A wonderfully playable instrument and a fine example of one of our favourite smaller bodied guitars and also the favoured model of a formative Bob Dylan who could often be seen performing with his own 1949 00-17.
The Style 17 dates back to the mid-1850s where it initially featured Rosewood back and sides and a Spruce top. Discontinued in 1898 it was reintroduced in 1906 with Mahogany back and sides before being discontinued once again before its reintroduction in 1922 with the full Mahogany construction many associate with the Style 17. Braced for steel strings from 1922 it also evolved to have the 14 fret body joint and solid headstock in 1932, earlier than the more expensive and ornately produced Styles. The Style 17 would remain in the Catalog running in parallel throughout the 50’s with the plainer still Style 15 before its last catalog appearance in 1960.
In the immediate post war period the 00-17 had a lightly braced all-mahogany body with austere decoration with no binding anywhere, a discreet 5-ply sound hole ring, and small dot fingerboard inlay, a small straight rosewood bridge, and tortoise celluloid pickguard. The tuners are still the riveted gear, flat plate octagonal Kluson style designed to use minimal material during the war. By 1947 the 00-17 retailed at $46 dollars without a case and precisely 600 shipped out that year.
This 1947 guitar dates to the early part of the year and has just returned to us from our Luthier who completed a neck reset and replaced the saddle and re-glued a slightly lifting bridge. The guitar is in good cosmetic condition for a guitar that is rapidly approving 80 years old. The finish shows no overspray or touchup. The neck has a rugged C profile that fills the palm and a nut width of 43.14mm. The action sits at 2.75mm offering good break angle over the saddle. The top has a split that has been sealed but is visible but surprisingly very little of the strumming wear often seen on these popular songwriter guitars. Surprisingly loud with remarkable headroom given its size, it's easy to see why these smaller bodied 14-fret Mahogany Martins are so popular. The tone is remarkable with a dry, focused ringing voice and a quick attack that retains excellent definition whether finger picked or strummed.
We are always on the look out for 30’s, 40’s and 50’s Mahogany Martins, they’re always popular for good reason it is getting harder and harder to find good examples. All in this one is a wonderful instrument with a characterful voice that’s hard to put down. The guitar comes complete with a lightweight chipboard case.