The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

C. F. Martin 000-45 Steel String Guitar, 1942

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Some instruments are relatively commonplace and are seen frequently. This piece – isn’t one of them, it’s one of the rarest items we have seen. It is unlikely that we will see another. Presenting a Martin 000-45, one of the last six built in 1942 when production ended, resuming in 1970.

First, a brief note on Martin model numbers. These are in two parts, a body size and a trim level.

There have been four basic body styles, 0, 00, 000 or OM (Orchestra Model), and D (Dreadnought). The single-0 size is basically a Parlor guitar, the Double O is a bit bigger and the OM is a medium size and is now used for the Eric Clapton model. The D size Dreadnought body needs little introduction, as it has been the most common acoustic guitar size since the 1940’s.

The second part of the model number is a number and indicates the materials used in construction and the level of decoration. The ’18’ models generally use Mahogany for the back and sides, have simple binding on the top and back, and use Rosewood for the fingerboard and bridge. Models above the 18 level use Rosewood for the back and sides, and usually Ebony for the fingerboard and bridge. And, binding starts to become more elaborate and at the 28 level the fingerboards are bound. As the trim number rises, the use of mother of pearl and abalone becomes more extensive.

At the 45 level, a layer of abalone follows the inside edge of the binding, on the top, back and sides. The Martin logo will be inlaid using abalone, and the position markers will be shaped shell. Current D-45 models use an abalone hexagon pattern, but in times past a ‘snowflake’ pattern was used.

For higher trim numbers, such as the 100 and 200 anniversary models, the decoration can be spectacularly elaborate. Those are limited production, custom order instruments and the purchaser has an amount of input on the decoration.

Until the mid 1960’s embargo, when a manufacturer specified ‘Rosewood’, they usually meant Brazilian Rosewood. Martin ceased using Brazilian Rosewood in 1969 and very few instruments are built with it now.

This 000-45 at hand dates to 1942. The first 000-45 appeared in 1906 as a 12-fret guitar, and changed to 14 fret construction in 1933. Six of these guitars were built during 1942 and the model was discontinued, largely due to wartime restrictions.

In terms of provenance, this guitar has had three owners and was used in a popular band during the 1950s. It has had an amount of work over the decades, some of it significant. One side appears to have been replaced, and the top has had a section replaced. This work was done very cleanly and may have been performed by Martin at their factory, though they have no record of it. Recently, in our shop, it has been refretted, had the first-position mother of pearl snowflake marker replaced, and received a full set up. It plays very well, and has a full, rich, even tone. The tonal nature of Brazilian Rosewood (denser than Indian) is evident in an slight added clarity.

The original factory case is included, as is a high-quality Calton case, which is presently used to improve protection of the instrument.

This exceedingly rare, very special guitar is priced at $45,000 US Dollars, which for our site’s display has been converted to Canadian using today’s rate. 


Enjoy the Mississippi Blues on the C. F. Martin 000-45 Steel String Guitar, 1942 – played by Alex Wang – one of our customers. Alex dropped by to visit and ended up recording his experience and sent us the video to share. He said, “Again, thank you guys letting me, a young man who it’s impossible to afford it, playing this amazing instrument! Twelfth fret rules!”  


 

Price: $57535.72 CAD
View Spec Sheet (PDF)
  • Model: 000-45
  • Year: 1942
  • Finish Clear Gloss Lacquer
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: 80751
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 06/02/2018

  • Consignment Item

  • Required CITIES documentation
  • Including original Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 4.05lbs 1.84kg
  • Scale Length: 645mm 25.4in
  • Nut Width: 43mm 1.69in
Martin Website View Spec Sheet (PDF)

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