Martin Flat Top Body Sizes

Martin Flat Top Body Sizes

“Size” is theĀ body size designation that Martin uses, as stamped inside the guitar on the neck block starting in October 1930. All measurements are in inches. “Frets” represents theĀ frets clear of the body. “Introduced” was the year of introduction. All sizes are in inches.

Size   Frets   Width     Depth    Body Len   Tot Len   Year Introduced
----   -----   -----     -----    -------    ------    --------------
1/4    12      6 3/16    2 7/8    12                   (early version)
1/4    12      8 15/16   3 9/16   12 1/16              (later version)
1/2    12      10 1/8    3 3/8    15 1/16
7      12      13 11/16  4 3/8    17 1/2
5      12      11 1/4    3 7/8    16
4      12      11 1/2    3 3/4    16
3 1/2  12      10 11/16  3 7/8    16 7/8
3      12      11 1/4    3 13/16  17 3/8
2 1/2  12      11 5/8    3 7/8    17 7/8
2      12      12        4        18 1/4
1      12      12 3/4    4 3/16   18 7/8
O      12      13 1/2    4 3/16   19 1/8               1852
O      14      13 1/2    4 1/4    18 3/8     38 3/8    1932
OO     12      14 1/8    4 1/16   19 5/8               1877
OO     14      14 5/16   4 1/8    18 7/8     38 5/8    1934
OOO    12      15        4 1/16   20 7/16              1902
OOO    14      15        4 1/8    19 3/8     39 3/8    1934
OM     14      15        4 1/8    19 3/8               1929
D      12      15 5/8    4 3/4    20 15/16             1931
D      14      15 5/8    4 7/8    20         40 1/4    1934

UKES
----
Standard       6 3/8     2 5/16   9 7/16     21
Concert        7 3/4     2 3/4    11         23 1/2
Tenor          8 15/16   2 15/16  12 1/16    26 1/4
Baritone       10        3 3/8    14         30 11/16

    Certainly the most desirable of the Martin body size is the 000, 0M, and D sizes. Many consider the 000 (and OM, which is essentially a 000) to be the ultimate guitar size, where others feel the “D” size is the best. It’s personal preference. There are some interesting facts though about the 000 and OM sizes. (In Martin’s 1934 catalogue, any flattop guitar that had a 14-fret neck was named an “Orchestra Model”, while the older 12-fret design was named a “Standard Model”.)The OM Body Size.

Martin Orchestra Model OM

    Martin’s OM, or “Orchestra Model”, available from 1929 to 1933, has a rare combination of features. The joining of a long-scale (25.4″) neck with a small body makes it an extremely responsive and playable guitar. In many ways the OM models were the first truly modern flattop guitars. They were the first Martins to have necks with 14 frets clear of the body. The OM has a wide neck (1 3/4″ as opposed to the dreadnought’s 1 11/16″) which appeals to fingerstyle players. The string spacing is slightly greater at the bridge than on other models too, although not as wide as a classical guitars. The neck shape of old OMs is a bit unique too, although this is variable since each neck was handmade. OMs have a wide but thin backshaped V-shape which is very comfortable. Finally, the OM’s smaller body size makes the guitar easy to hold, especially in the seated position. Compared this to the D dreadnought which is larger both in body depth and width (dreadnought players seem to use straps and stand up so the guitar’s size is less of a factor).The OM model came about due to Perry Bechtel, who was a virtuoso plectrum banjo player. Perry came to see the Martin family in the early summer of 1929. He wanted Martin to make him a guitar which he could easily adapt his banjo style (remember by the late 1920s guitar was the hot instrument, replacing the banjo). He requested 15 frets clear of the body and a 27″ scale in Martin’s largest standard body size (which at that time was the 000, with 12 frets clear of the neck). The 27″ scale would retain the fret spacing of the plectrum banjo, and 15 frets clear of the body would closely resemble the length of a banjo neck.

    Martin began with a 000-size guitar, which had 12 frets clear of the body. They rejected the 27″ scale idea, as this would have been impractical since the high string tension on a guitar would have made the instrument hard to play. Instead they used a 25.4″ scale length. To accommodate Bechtel’s request for 15 frets clear of the body, they squared the body’s shoulders to add 1 5/16″ to the clear part of the fingerboard. This allowed 14 frets clear of the body. Since they felt aesthetically the bridge should remain halfway between the center of the soundhole and the endblock, there really was no way to make the guitar have 15 frets clear. The bottom bout was reshaped slightly to match the new shape of the upper bout (note when the 000 went to 14 frets in 1934 it retained this initial OM body shape).

    To make the OM more suitable for banjo players, the neck was made narrower and less V-shaped than previous Martins. The fingerboard was narrowed from the then-standard 1 7/8″ to 1 3/4″ at the nut. In addition to make the OM more banjo-like and to give it a distinctive look, banjo style tuning pegs were used. To do these, the headstock had to be made solid, instead of slotted. Previously Martin headstocks had all been slotted with tuners attached to the side mounted on a single plate for three tuners. No single-unit guitar tuners were available, so banjo pegs were a natural.

    In late 1929, Martin built a prototype batch of six OM guitars. The very first of these had pyramid bridges and no pickguard. Martin soon realized that with the vigorous strumming required in a band setting, a pickguard would be required. Hence all OMs after the prototype batch had a small teardrop-shaped pickguard. The new OMs were not highly sucessful. They sold, but not as well as Martin had hoped. In 1933 the OM designation was dropped and was now called the “000” model. But infact the 1933 “000” models were the same as the 1933 “OM” models, retaining the OM body style and 14 fret neck. Then in 1934 the standard 000 models were modified to the shorter 24.9″ scale (for unknown reasons, as the 12 fret 000 body had a 25.6″ scale length its inception in 1902 to its demise in 1931). Yet the OM’s longer scale was a major factor in the OM’s tone. The strings on an OM must be tuned to a higher tension to get concert pitch. This extra tension translates into more drive on the top, hence providing more volume and tone. The OM’s scalloped braces and a small maple bridgeplate give the OM a great sound. Although these features were common to other Martin models of the time, the OM’s top brace under the fingerboard was missing. This design is unique to OMs making the top very lightly braced. This does lead to some problems with cracks in the upper bout along the side of the fingerboard, but it also contributes to the great sound of the OM models.

    From http://home.provide.net/~cfh/martin.html