This is an extremely clean example of a late 1960s 00-21. Its level of preservation is far beyond simply “extremely fine” condition – if it were any cleaner it would approach “excellent plus” – and that’s rare. Yes, it displays finish crazing (craquelure) overall, a repaired “pickguard crack” under the first string, some light top dings or minor indents (including on back of neck), some small nicks, especially around the headstock, and normal light scratches, scuff and car key mark on the treble side. This guitar appears to have been buffed but in fact we believe the finish to be wholly original and, except in a small area where the pickguard crack was glued, not touched up. The end graft, which is tortoise celluloid, is very slightly elevated above the wood on each side (one can feel its edges rising up a little with one’s fingers), but just a tiny bit. There is no requirement for repair. I am, as usual, overstating the imperfections – considered on the whole this guitar appears to be in something approaching “9.0” condition. There is a modicum of bear claw figure in the Sitka spruce top. We like bear claw marks, since the asymmetrical nature of the grain aberration seems to allow the sound to “swell” – to grow larger, after it leaves the guitar. The unbound Brazilian rosewood fingerboard hosts 8 mother of pearl dotmarkers in 6 fret positions including double dots on frets 7 and 12 where the neck joins the body.
The Brazilian rosewood, round-slot, headstock is “rounded corner” which is typical of Martin guitars of its time, and bears the small “C F Martin & Co., Est. 1833” black-bordered burnished gold decal. The tuners are original with a single line border on the metal plates, open gears and ivoroid plastic buttons. The top is bordered in four-ply crème and black purfling, the soundhole in three concentric rings of crème and black, the sides in single ply tortoise plastic and the back in a thin white line. The teardrop pickguard is original, under the finish, and dark tortoise celluloid. The Brazilian rosewood bridge is rectangular with a central belly; the bridge pins are crème with a black dot and so is the end pin, but the size of the dot on the endpin is smaller. We cannot attest to the originality of the bridge pins or end pins. The playing action is perfect – it is comfortable, easy to play and the intonation is dead on.
Even with its relatively minor list of imperfections due to playing this is still one of the cleanest and nicest 34-year-old Martin 00-21 guitars we have had the pleasure of representing; it sounds good, it plays easily, and we feel that constitutes the perfect future collectible guitar. If Martin made this guitar in these materials today it would have a list price of approximately forty thousand ($40,000) dollars. This guitar is priced so reasonably, and so amazingly clean and superior sounding as to make one actually blink when reading about it. When you play it, this may make you rethink everything you thought possible in a modestly sized grand concert guitar. It might well be the late ‘60s Martin Grand Concert Brazilian rosewood guitar against which most if not all others may be judged.