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.