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Old 04-14-2021, 03:39 PM
surfcowboy surfcowboy is offline
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Default Martin 00-17 14 fret replica?

I really love the sound and look of the Martin 00-17 14-fret model made in the 30s with the wide necks and depression era styling. Besides going the vintage route does anyone know of a replica of this model or something heavily influenced by it?

I got the idea after watching this music villa custom shop model from 2015:


I reached out to Pre-War Guitars co to see if they ever considered remaking making this model but they said with the price point of the originals they don't currently have any plans to make an all mahogany model.

My budget is $2-4k and I like 1 3/4" nut and wider string spacing (2 1/4 to 2 3/8"). A couple of the other models I've been looking at are the Waterloo WL-14 Mh, LA Guitar Sales 00-15m CS, Custom Shop Martin like the music villa.

If you know of anything else I should consider I'd love to hear about it.
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Old 04-14-2021, 03:55 PM
pagedr pagedr is offline
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The Martin 00-17 Authentic is an excellent reproduction of the originals, though the nut width is a bit wider at 1 7/8". As the owner of a vintage 00-17, I can say that I haven't found anything that comes close to sounding like the real deal. The Waterloos are very different, and the 00-15's, while nice, still don't touch the vintage 17s, due in large part to the major difference in bracing (A vs X).

Pre-war 00-17s can usually be found for around $4k or below depending on condition and the year. The ones with 1 3/4" nut width are tough to find and usually go for a little bit more, but IMO would be well worth it to wait for one of those to pop up if that's what you really want. Just don't think anything else can replace the originals if you like the 00-17 tone. Also worth trying one with a 1 11/16" nut width, those are much more readily available and with some time to adjust I think are just as comfortable to play as a guitar with a 1 3/4" nut width.
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Old 04-14-2021, 05:31 PM
surfcowboy surfcowboy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pagedr View Post
The Martin 00-17 Authentic is an excellent reproduction of the originals, though the nut width is a bit wider at 1 7/8". As the owner of a vintage 00-17, I can say that I haven't found anything that comes close to sounding like the real deal. The Waterloos are very different, and the 00-15's, while nice, still don't touch the vintage 17s, due in large part to the major difference in bracing (A vs X).

Pre-war 00-17s can usually be found for around $4k or below depending on condition and the year. The ones with 1 3/4" nut width are tough to find and usually go for a little bit more, but IMO would be well worth it to wait for one of those to pop up if that's what you really want. Just don't think anything else can replace the originals if you like the 00-17 tone. Also worth trying one with a 1 11/16" nut width, those are much more readily available and with some time to adjust I think are just as comfortable to play as a guitar with a 1 3/4" nut width.
I've read several others also say that the modern 15 models don't touch the vintage 17 series... I'm sure there are many reasons for this but do you think going a custom shop route starting from the 00-18 model with a mahogany top would get closer than the 00-15m? I imagine the age/quality of mahogany and bracing also have a large impact...
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Old 04-14-2021, 05:43 PM
zoopeda zoopeda is offline
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The Martin 00-17 Authentic is one of the very best Martin models. So light, so resonant, beautiful rich responsive tone. Just the perfect all mahogany guitar, in my opinion.

On the other hand, why not buy a vintage model? Even a 50s model gets that tone you're looking for. You can find a 30s model in your budget too if you look.
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Old 04-14-2021, 05:54 PM
pagedr pagedr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surfcowboy View Post
I've read several others also say that the modern 15 models don't touch the vintage 17 series... I'm sure there are many reasons for this but do you think going a custom shop route starting from the 00-18 model with a mahogany top would get closer than the 00-15m? I imagine the age/quality of mahogany and bracing also have a large impact...
Yeah, the 15 series are great guitars at an excellent price point, but I'd agree that they don't come close to the vintage 17s. The bracing is the biggest component tone wise, IMO. As mentioned the 15s have A bracing, whereas the vintage 17s were X braced...and the ones from 1944 and earlier were scalloped as well. Aging also plays a big factor like you mentioned.

Going the custom shop route with an 18 series as the base model would likely get you closer, though it's always a crap shoot if you'll like what you get. And if you want to get as close to the tone of a vintage 00-17 as possible you'd want to upgrade to things like hide glue construction, thin finish, maybe a VTS top, etc. All things the 00-17 Authentic come with. That's not even taking into consideration the Brazilian fretboard and bridge. At that point you'd be paying more than what an actual vintage 00-17 costs, which is why it sounds like Pre-War doesn't want to build them.

At the end of the day, nothing else is going to sound like a vintage 00-17, and they really are quite affordable (compared to the vintage market as a whole at least). As mentioned you should be able to find a 30s model with 1 3/4" nut width in or close to your price range, they just don't come up for sale a ton. The later 40s and 50s ones with 1 11/16" width are excellent too though and it might be worth seeing if you can live with a slightly narrower nut width.
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Old 04-14-2021, 06:04 PM
surfcowboy surfcowboy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoopeda View Post
The Martin 00-17 Authentic is one of the very best Martin models. So light, so resonant, beautiful rich responsive tone. Just the perfect all mahogany guitar, in my opinion.

On the other hand, why not buy a vintage model? Even a 50s model gets that tone you're looking for. You can find a 30s model in your budget too if you look.
I'm definitely getting more curious about the 00-17 Authentic. I didn't originally want a 12 fret but it is intriguing. I'm fairly tall guy with big hands but the 1 7/8" nut width is intimidating.

As for the vintage option... I haven't dipped my tones into that world yet but it might be the best route to get what I'm looking for.
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Old 04-14-2021, 06:09 PM
zoopeda zoopeda is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surfcowboy View Post
I'm definitely getting more curious about the 00-17 Authentic. I didn't originally want a 12 fret but it is intriguing. I'm fairly tall guy with big hands but the 1 7/8" nut width is intimidating.

As for the vintage option... I haven't dipped my tones into that world yet but it might be the best route to get what I'm looking for.
So I am not super picky about guitar necks. All I can say is the Martin 12-fret 00 design is sublime. The neck is surprisingly comfortable and was easy to get used to (for me). And the tone of that guitar is just incredible; really inspires you to learn the neck. And it's the cheapest Authentic Martin's made, so you've got that going for you. You need to at least play one. If you buy one at a good price, they're easy to resell without a loss. You generally ought to know more about what can be wrong with a guitar if you're going to buy vintage (unless you pay a premium through a knowledgeable vendor). But even then, the vintage 00-17s may be within your budget. Have fun, these are all such wonderful guitars.
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Old 04-15-2021, 01:47 AM
Jimmy Recard Jimmy Recard is offline
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Have you looked through the offerings from Sigma? They have some really nice custom guitars. My experience with them has been great.
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  #9  
Old 04-15-2021, 04:10 AM
BluesKing777 BluesKing777 is offline
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Oh dilemma of dilemmas!

I have a ‘44 Martin 0-17........tone with a capital T.......like some vintage leather car seat, fabulous til it needs work! While I prefer a 1 3/4” nut for fingerpicking, I can get away with a capo on the 2nd fret, but my preferred size guitar is.....a 00!!!

I use to own a 000-15 for 10 years from new, but sold it after getting the 44 0-17.....it needed another 75 years of being belted to approach the tone of the 44.

So, my opinion, a new 00-17 Custom Shop like above is going to need a lot of years and work to get the old wood tone, maybe leave it outside for a week then leave it in an attic through summer, then.....get it repaired a few times! Same might apply to the Waterloo all mahoganies, though I am a big Waterloo fan and may go that way.

I played my 0-17 at lunchtime today - capo on 2, glorious but I need a little more body! Then tonight I played my 2007 000-28ec then my 2015 OM18 Authentic.....great, great guitars with the right amount of real estate but.....they still sound new!

But really, for me, for fingerpicking blues, give me a 1937 Martin 00-17 with 1 3/4” nut please! (Would I sell my 44 0-17 if I bought a 37 00-17? Nope, they are too hard to find these days!)


BluesKing777.
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Old 04-15-2021, 04:52 AM
Robin, Wales Robin, Wales is offline
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Just remember that Martin was banging out 00-17 guitars at $35 a pop from 1931 to 1940. So make sure you ask the custom shop to make everything exactly as the originals - including the price!!!!!!!

BTW - that would have felt like spending $650-$700 at todays wages/prices equivalence.
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Old 04-15-2021, 05:53 AM
offkey offkey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surfcowboy View Post
I'm definitely getting more curious about the 00-17 Authentic. I didn't originally want a 12 fret but it is intriguing. I'm fairly tall guy with big hands but the 1 7/8" nut width is intimidating.

As for the vintage option... I haven't dipped my tones into that world yet but it might be the best route to get what I'm looking for.
I have average size hands and plenty of arthritis yet the 1 and 7/8" nut on my 00 17 Authentic fits me perfectly. Elderly has a used one listed now by the way.

Last edited by offkey; 04-15-2021 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 04-15-2021, 09:27 AM
CBarclay CBarclay is offline
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I've gone through several of the great little brown topped guitars you mention.

Some have been through the hands of some of the members above as well. Some go for obvious reasons, some I was kicking and screaming. Two are 'cold dead hands' worthy, so far.

00015SM - body too big but incredible tone. Simple dovetail.

0015M - neck too small in thickness, nut too narrow but incredible tone. Would consider buying again. Simple dovetail.

015S from LAG - very similar to above. Simple dovetail.

0017 Authentic - neck too big but closest to vintage tone I've played. Kicking and screaming, but it was obvious that it needed to go. Traditional dovetail. I considered whittling down the neck width, still question why I didn't.

017 (12 fret reproduction from Vintage instruments in Philly) neck too thin, kicking and screaming. Simple dovetail.

1953 0017 - currently own and LOVE IT. I'm doing ok with the 1 11/16" nut width - the neck thickness helps with that. Straight/tapered bracing allowed for being pounded and not minding too much. Cold dead hands.

1934 017 - currently own it and LOVE IT. 1 3/4" nut with and thinner neck than the 0017 with combined with bar frets and vintage neck carve is dreamy. It makes me want to find a scalloped 0017 from '40 or '37. Cold dead hands, will probably end up with my favorite child.

Guitars to consider:
Gruhn Custom 015 Pattengale Special - I haven't played one but I think it would be a great option tonally. 1 11/16" nut, traditional dovetail neck joint, adi top, etc.

The vintage tone is king. I attribute it to the old wood, bracing, and neck joints.
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Old 04-15-2021, 10:09 AM
BluesKing777 BluesKing777 is offline
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Old mahogany tone does rule!

But what if we like the real estate of a big V, 1 3/4 nut, 2 3/8 bridge space? Custom shop 00-14 in ...ha! Torrefied sinker mahogany and then run the whole guitar once through the Japanese shou shugi ban (wood charring)..... hmm, will that do it?

BluesKing777.
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Old 04-15-2021, 10:18 AM
CBarclay CBarclay is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesKing777 View Post
Old mahogany tone does rule!

But what if we like the real estate of a big V, 1 3/4 nut, 2 3/8 bridge space? Custom shop 00-14 in ...ha! Torrefied sinker mahogany and then run the whole guitar once through the Japanese shou shugi ban (wood charring)..... hmm, will that do it?

BluesKing777.
Oh my, count me in!
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Old 04-15-2021, 01:20 PM
surfcowboy surfcowboy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBarclay View Post
I've gone through several of the great little brown topped guitars you mention.

Some have been through the hands of some of the members above as well. Some go for obvious reasons, some I was kicking and screaming. Two are 'cold dead hands' worthy, so far.

00015SM - body too big but incredible tone. Simple dovetail.

0015M - neck too small in thickness, nut too narrow but incredible tone. Would consider buying again. Simple dovetail.

015S from LAG - very similar to above. Simple dovetail.

0017 Authentic - neck too big but closest to vintage tone I've played. Kicking and screaming, but it was obvious that it needed to go. Traditional dovetail. I considered whittling down the neck width, still question why I didn't.

017 (12 fret reproduction from Vintage instruments in Philly) neck too thin, kicking and screaming. Simple dovetail.

1953 0017 - currently own and LOVE IT. I'm doing ok with the 1 11/16" nut width - the neck thickness helps with that. Straight/tapered bracing allowed for being pounded and not minding too much. Cold dead hands.

1934 017 - currently own it and LOVE IT. 1 3/4" nut with and thinner neck than the 0017 with combined with bar frets and vintage neck carve is dreamy. It makes me want to find a scalloped 0017 from '40 or '37. Cold dead hands, will probably end up with my favorite child.

Guitars to consider:
Gruhn Custom 015 Pattengale Special - I haven't played one but I think it would be a great option tonally. 1 11/16" nut, traditional dovetail neck joint, adi top, etc.

The vintage tone is king. I attribute it to the old wood, bracing, and neck joints.
Thanks for the overview of your journey. I'm hoping I won't have to buy this many guitars to find the one I'm looking for but there's some fun that as well. I think I have come to a similar feeling that a 1937-ish 00-17 is the goldilocks of this bunch.

I haven't played any of the 50s 17 series but I do like the sound of the thicker necks that I've heard them described as having. Makes me wonder if they ever made any custom 1 3/4" nut versions during those years.
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