The C F Martin Company introduced the world to the Orchestra Model in 1929 and made it for five years, to 1933. In 1934, right after the OM was discontinued the Martin Company resumed making their famous “000” or Auditorium model that shared the same body dimensions as the OM. Now that 14-fret guitars with long scale necks had been embraced with great enthusiasm by the general public (Martin had sold 487 Brazilian rosewood OM-28 models in those first 5 years) they apparently intended to abandon long scale and revert to the short scale in reviving the “000” designation. What happened necks (pun intended) is rather strange: Around half of the “000s” made in 1934 came out of the factory with the same long scale (25.4" nut to saddle) neck and the corresponding lower placement of the bridge as the OM model had displayed.
One might speculate that it may have taken until around July 1934 for somebody in the plant to notice and say “Oh, wait – shouldn’t the 000 model have a short scale?” We have no idea who made this decision to revert to short scale and to discontinue the OM model, but whoever it was should have a plaque of some sort on one of the interior walls of the beloved factory. It was not until 1985 (fifty two years later) when Martin brought back the Limited Edition (LE) of only 40 new OM-28 models that the world could again revel in the mindless intoxication that comes from having an Orchestra Model (or a 1934 000 with the OM scale, nut width and bridge placement) in one’s arms.
The sound of one of these “finest period, golden era (but without the capitals) progenitors of range, power and projection” is memorable and thrilling. The model OM (with which this is congruent) is said to be “the fingerpicker’s finest fabrication. It exudes tonal testosterone from every pore. Its V-shaped neck is hand-filling but not overly massive; its 1 ¾” nut width is the plectral prerogative, the sophisticated spacing.
Leroy Aiello, has just finished restoring this guitar and it is now on display in our showroom. He says: “The original fingerboard had been sanded paper thin, and I removed it (it did not survive the removal) and made a period correct replication, in ebony, with bar frets, etched diamond and square fingerboard inlays and properly inlaid side dots.” Leroy miraculously removed the overspray -- probably varnish -- that it had suffered on the top, sides and neck of the guitar (there still remains some overspray on the back). The original "C F Martin & Co., Est 1833" remains tight and bright on the Brazilian rosewood headplate. Leroy continues: “There is a previously installed maple bridge plate over the original bridge plate. When that repair occurred, the bridge was replaced. I carved the bone saddle and bone nut, and removed the strap pin in the neck heel and filled the hole. The original bridge is in the case pocket.”
A strap pin had at one time been drilled into the neck heel but Leroy Aiello has deftly removed that thing. There was, when it came in, wear of typical form including our favorite litany of sins: dings, chips, nicks, scrapes, scuffs and scratches, plus hand-wear on back of the neck, but with the overspray largely removed that wear is minimized. There are small cracks in the ivoroid binding and some old binding separations that have in the past been reglued. There is wear around the headstock, and small cracks running through the apparently original tortoise shell-color celluloid teardrop pickguard. Happily, its open-gear unsigned tuners appear to be original, however the nickel plating is worn off of the tuner buttons from frequent playing with a high pH. factor. This guitar required and received a “bar fret refret” which ain't easy - but having had it done allow it to play at approximately the same speed as the headless horseman rides in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
Now that the job is completed it is both a sight to behold and a picker with a kicker. It is an acoustical force to be reckoned with, whatever that means – we’re not sure but we think it has to do with a singing slide-rule player who once appeared on Lawrence Welk. What you have here is an opportunity to obtain a Martin 1934 000-28 herringbone with which to beat the band (if it gets them to play better).