The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

❌SOLD❌ Martin 518 Terz Guitar Natural, 1955


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The Martin 518 Terz appeared in the Martin catalog from 1898 until 1989 and despite its long production run had one notable players, the great Marty Robbins.   Sting has also used the Terz.

The Terz is a small bodied instrument that’s tuned up a minor third, meaning the tuning is G-C-F-A#-D-G low to high. The shorter 21.375 inch scale makes this possible without excessive tension. The Martin 518 Terz design was influenced by Viennese Terz styles built by the Stauffer company C F Martin apprenticed with. There were also Italian Terz models with smaller bodies.

In 2008, Martin released a Marty Robbins 5-18 Terz guitar.

Here we’re looking at a Martin 518 Terz guitar – a Style 5 with 18-level materials and appointments, built in Nazareth PA during September of 1955. The top and bracing are solid Sitka Spruce, the back, sides, body blocks and neck and Mahogany and while the bridge, fingerboard and head plate are Rosewood. At this time and for another 14 years, Martin sourced that Rosewood from Brazil (as did many other companies). The pickguard is a faux tortoise, glued to the top, and the tuners are the original Waverly 12:1 ratio models.

This Martin 518 Terz is in good working order. It has expected play and finish wear, and there are a few old cracks that were long ago glued but not cleated. On the back there is some residue on the finish. Fret wear is light and the neck joint is solid.   The top has also developed the typical pickguard crack – until 1985, it was very common for Martin (and Gibson and others)  to glue the pickguard directly to the top.    Over time,  the top and pickguard expand and contract at differing rates, often leading to a crack.  This crack is in a heavily braced area, so it has no structural effect.   Now,  builders apply the pickguard after finishing is complete, and this prevents the crack.    The sound is great – the Terz has a distinctive sound that really cuts through.

An older fibre (cardboard) case is included.


Price: $2,950.00 CAD
  • Model: 5-18 Terz
  • Year: 1955
  • Finish Natural
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: 145476, build September 1955 in Nazareth PA
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 14/06/2021

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Consignment Item

  • Including Soft case
  • Instrument Weight: 2.42lbs 1.1kg
  • Scale Length: 21.375in 543mm
  • Nut Width: 1..631in 41.43mm
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