Thursday, May 6, 2010
The Martin 0-16NY
Driven by a handful of people that gathered in some Greenwich Village Clubs or on Washington Square carrying old acoustic guitars, banjos and bass fiddles, they interrupted Rock music briefly with strains of Kumbaya and Tom Dooley.
Guitar manufacturers jumped at the chance to produce instruments that would appeal to these folksie folk song types.
C.F. Martin was no exception. This same year two Martins were introduced; The O-16NY and the 00-21.
By 1961 the popular Martins were series D guitars. Perhaps Joan Baez' and Joni Collins' preference for small bodied Martin 12 fret instruments that caught the eye of Martin designers that served as a basis for the 0-16NY.
This guitar was different from other Martins of the day.
It was designed for finger picking and it was designed to have the appearance of a pre-war 1898 Martin, which incidently were built in New York.
There was nothing fancy about this guitar. This is noted by the designation "16". The body had a satin finish with no pickguard. The top was solid sitka spruce.
There was one large ring enclosed in two small rings around the soundhold. The perimeter of the top was bound with tortoise shell binding material. There was no binding on the back or binding material separating the book matched back. The mahogany neck was wider than a size D Martin. The nut was 1 7/8th and nearly as wide as a classic guitar. The scale was 24.9". The headstock was slotted and the overlay was Brazilian rosewood. The tuners were open with plastic buttons. The neck had no volute.
The top of the body was braced very lightly with an X bracing and only one tone bar.
These guitars were advertised as being able to handle steel or nylon strings. Most owners string them with very light guage steel string. But after returning my 0-16NY to the factory twice I was told by a Martin representative, this guitar was actually designed to use silk and steel strings. Remember, these guitars did not have a truss rod.
The 0-16NY was manufactured up through the early 1990's. I have a Martin cataloge that shows the last 0-16NY and by that time the slot head was gone.
Below is a 1992 Martin 0-16NY.
Look closely at the wonderful straight grain in the wood. It is a beautiful instrument.