A rare vintage Martin guitar walked into The Music Zoo and inspiration struck!
We love a story like this one. Not too long ago, the family of the original owner of an incredibly rare 1917 Martin 00-40 sold the guitar to The Music Zoo. It's not the fact that it's that old, or that it was an 00-40 that made it rare - it was the fact that the back and sides were built from koa wood, which research has shown that Martin made 5 or less of. It was an unusual wood choice to use for that time, but more details were unveiled with an included letter in the guitar case signed by C.F. Martin in 1968, stating that the guitar was a custom order built with fan bracing and set up to be a Hawaiian music guitar with the higher action to accommodate lap playing.
Hear the story of the original guitar, and what the new Custom Shop 00-40K sounds like!
Restoring the 1917 00-40K and creating its Custom Shop counterpart
The original guitar was in need of repair, with a few top cracks and a separated bridge, and who better to do the work to bring it back to life than the incredibly talented builders at Martin? We decided to leave the bracing as is, but set it up for modern playing with vintage-size frets and nylon strings which wouldn't put too much tension on the top. While they had the guitar in the shop, we also decided to build a modern version of the 00-40K with all of the matching cosmetic appointments as we could, and even upped the ante a bit with figured koa wood. If you could, you should! The Custom Shop 00-40K has modern X-bracing and is strung up with steel strings. It sounds nothing short of incredible, as you can hear in the video below!
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