The 1951 Martin 000-18

Ok, no drooling on my web page….

Here is my father’s, 1951 Martin 00018 acoustic guitar.

You can hear a clip of this guitar recorded digitally here:

Serial #: 135071

It is now in my possession after my father passed away.

History of this guitar

It was purchased brand-new, by my father in 1951 in order to learn how to play the guitar. After a few lessons, it pretty much sat in the closet for many years, until….

This guitar was discovered by my brother in our Father’s closet around1958. In the original chipboard case, we played this guitar on many vacations to Wyoming and local beaches in LA. It has the ‘Original finish’ which has the expected deep yellowing that the finish exhibits on vintage guitars. It has a raw, bare-wood spot on the lower-front bout, from rubbing it on the sand as we played it.

Original Kluson tuners, nut and saddle, original bridge pins, original endpin and pickguard. It’s a good one, with a wide open voice, and a noticeable amount of that woody dryness you’ll find in a good early 50’s Martin. It’s loud and resonant, and is definitely a flatpicker’s instrument.

Recently we had the guitar serviced at Skip’s Music, Sacramento CA, by a certified luthier. He polished the guitar, cleaned the frets and fingerboard, installed new strings and repaired a somewhat bowed-upward bridge assembly, from years of string tension on old wood. The luthier recommended that no finish be applied to this raw-wood sanded area, as the sound of the guitar would be compromized.

A recent appraisal placed this guitar in the range of $5,000.00 but we will never sell this guitar. It will be handed down to my daughters for safekeeping when I have passed on.

Recording this guitar reveals a powerful tone, crisp highs and mellow lows, with an action that is low enough to permit hours of effortless playing. The upper frets are a little hard to reach, but I don’t venture past fret # 16 very much these days!

A truly exceptional instrument, and one we will treasure for many years to come!

Please leave a comment below, and we can start the conversation about what you liked and did not like about this review! Thank you! Nicholas

For a great guitar instruction program:


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12 Responses

  1. Please leave me a comment!

    Thank you!


  2. Great story about a lifetime guitar! It’s rare to find even a 50’s model in relatively unmolested shape- great guitar!

  3. This is an awesome old Martin. I have a 1968 Martin D-35, which I have owned since 1974. I am the second owner. This was the final year for Brazilian Rosewood to be used in production. Martin switched to Indian Rosewood just a couple of months after my guitar was built. I am a songwriter and I use it in recording. I had the action worked over by a luthier in Folsom, California named Nick Nicholsom. He is the proprietor of Nicholsom Music, a leading Martin dealer on the West Coast. It plays very easily and has tremendous volume and very warm tone.

    NIce blog NIcholas.


  4. Thats really cool. Does it have water stains on the back? Cause thats what happened with my acoustic, and now im debating how to fix it/refinish it without bringing it to somebody. I’d do it all myself but i dont think id be able to duplicate the edging. You should put some recordings up of you playing the instrument.

  5. Hi Alex, Thank you for reading my blog. To answer your question, no you do not want to do anything to open up or change the finish if this is an old guitar. Any refinishing to old guitars diminishes their value considerably. The luthier who worked on this 56 year old Martin did not recommend even sealing the raw portion of the wood where beach sand had removed the original coatings. The water stains will not affect the sound, but sanding the guitar sure will! At your suggestion, I will record a few clips of this guitar. If I cannot place them here, I will place them on another site so you can access them. Respectfully Nicholas

  6. Alex, I have recorded two clips of the 1951 Martin 000-18 acoustic guitar here:

    Check them out and let me know if you liked them or not?

    Respectfully, Nicholas

  7. Your blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!

  8. I used to have one of these – except mine was a 1951 OOO18E, which had a built in pick up. I can’t believe I sold it way back in 1978…it makes me want to cry, but hey I was around 20 years old and wanted a classic dreadnought. So I bought an HD28 (which I still have, and will NEVER sell)…!

  9. P.S. Mine was also in MINT condition…! Hindsight is 20:15.

  10. this is an freakin amazing flippin guitar man, dude, sweet

  11. I have a 1951 the numbers inside the guitar are 00-18 All the other numbers have three or more zero’s. Like yours. Right below that number it has another number 120531 Would it be the same as yours? I have had it for about 45 yrs. I found it in a car garage while playing as a young girl. My father asked his friend if he could buy it
    for me. His friend gave it to me. I took it to get fixed
    back in the 60 and the shop offered to buy it for 500.00 dollars. As it turns out I still have it. Since my Mother would not let me use her guitars. I had to have one of my own. I could not have made a better choice. It has a beautiful sound. No other
    guitar sounds like it.

    • Hi mgmarez,

      If you go to , there are listings by Model and year for the range of serial numbers produced for that specific year. Whatever you do, hang on to this valuable instrument. My Dad left it in a closet where my brother discovered it when he was a young lad. My 00018 is listed as manufactured in 1951. Enjoy that Martin, they truly get better with age.

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