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Martin 016-NY, 1973

Sitka Spruce Top
Mahogany Back/Sides
Original Case

I first came across a Martin 016-NY about a year ago, in a local shop. I pulled from the wall what I thought might have been someone's knockaround parlour guitar, and sat down to play. And it was lovely - an early 70's Martin with a really sweet sound and great character. But I didn't buy that one - as cool as it was, it looked like it was going to need some work in the near future, and they were not factoring that into the asking price.

This 016-NY, however, needs NOTHING! Take a look - this is an absolutely lovely 1973 016-NY, and frankly it looks nearly unplayed. It has a Sitka Spruce top, Mahogany back and sides, Mahogany neck and a Rosewood fretboard. It is in phenomenal condition for a thirty-year-old Martin. You'll see fine checking in the finish lacquer running lengthwise along the top, but nowhere else - a testament to the relative stability of mahogany in comparison to spruce. But to me, the check lines only add to the character. There's also a scuff mark on the tail of the guitar, on the treble side, and a ding on the top nearby. You'll see these pictured clearly below. I am pretty sure this instrument has spent most of the last 30 years sitting in its case under someone's bed. And have a look at that case! That's the original chipboard not-so-hardshell, also in excellent condition. Yes, it is pink inside.

Action on this instrument is easy, although I bet you could make it even better with a set of "silk and steel" strings. And also, those would fit better with the traditional parlour sound. The guitar is currently strung with D'Addario phosphor bronze extra-lights. The instrument was recently set up by my technician in Bend, Oregon who does most of my setups when needed. He does excellent work, and did a very nice job this time, too. The top looks as flat as the day it was made (or so I assume), with no bellying or dipping in sight, to my eye (check out the side-on picture below.) The neck sights straight and true, without the big hump you sometimes see on older set-neck instruments. Again, check below for neck-sight pictures - it's like you're right here, eyeballing this guitar with me!

The fretboard is 1 7/8" at the nut, and 2 5/16" at the twelfth fret, where the neck joins the body.

This guitar is going to make you smile. If you've been looking for an older Martin with loads of character and a wonderful, mellow tone, this is going to be an excellent instrument for you - a vintage Martin that has not been smashed, bashed, written on or carved into, for a great price.


Rosewood fingerboard (blank) with side markers

A picture for those interested in the shape/condition of the top. No belly in sight...

Sighting down the treble side of the neck, from the bridge.


Sighting down the bass side of the neck, from the bridge.


Sighting down the treble side of the neck, from the nut.

Note the surface scuff on the treble side of the tail, and the small ding on the top.
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Words/Images ©2005 Imagine Guitars