Entries in 00-21 (2)


The public debut of the "chubby little bear"

I've been living with my new guitar for about three weeks (the same amount of time it took it took to build it), and I've nicknamed it the "chubby little bear." Last night was my first opportunity to play it with other folks (thanks JD!), and it kept up just fine. Even though it's a "small" guitar, I think it was probably louder than the Sigma and Taylor dreadnoughts in the circle. It definitely had plenty of bass "whomp," but it's not muddy and each string has nice definition. The shorter scale makes it easy to play, although I'm still getting used to the 12-fret body.

A few people have asked me if it's my "favorite" guitar now. It certainly compares well to my others (a Martin and Collings), but has it's own unique voice. It sounds different, but just as good, as expensive small-shop (and factory) instruments. Guitars are like children (so I've heard)-- they each are different and you love them all equally. I don't have favorites, but I do feel really connected to this instrument.

The bottom line is that if you use quality materials, plan the design with care, and are attentive to the construction details, it doesn't take a pro to build a really fantastic sounding guitar. I'm looking forward getting to know #1 more in the months and years to come and to building #2 eventually!



Now that I’m home, I figured it was time to describe my new guitar in more details (i.e., give some specs). Warning, this info is probably only of interest to guitar weenies like me. At some point I'll do some detailed pictures.

The best model name for this guitar (using Martin nomenclature) is a "00-21DB" (“double-oh-21-DB”). It’s based on Martin’s 12-fret (i.e., the neck connects to the body at the 12th fret), “00” size (14 1/8” across the lower bout), has rosewood back/sides with dark (i.e., not white) bindings like a stye “21” instrument, and has a deeper body than a standard 00.

The 00-21 is one of the first “modern” Martin designs, having been introduced in 1898. It was in continuous production for nearly 100 years, officially ending in 1996, but there have been some subsequent reissues (e.g., the 00-21GE “Golden Era”). Early models had an ebony bridge and fretboard, but in 1947 those were switched to rosewood. Like all standard rosewood Martins, the 00-21 switched from Brazilian to Indian rosewood in 1969, and in 1990 it got a solid (rather than slotted) headstock. [note: some of this info comes from Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars (2nd ed.) by George Gruhn and Walter Carter.]

Differences between mine and some of the features found on various incarnations of Martin’s 00-21:

  • I’ve done mine with a slightly shorter, Gibson-esque 24.75” scale (compared to the standard 24.9”)
  • The neck joint is bolt-on (rather than a dovetailed joint on a Martin)
  • Most 00-21's have “belly” bridge (i.e., the standard one you’d see on most guitars); mine has a modified pyramid bridge
  • Mine has a single herringbone rosette; Martins would have had a multiple-ring rosette (sometimes with herringbone)
  • Rosewood bindings rather than black or tortoise on a Martin
  • An ebony headstock overlay (rosewood on a Martin)
  • Mine doesn’t have a back strip (i.e., a colored piece of inlay running along the back)
  • Mine is “deep-body” (nearly the same depth as a dreadnought 4 1/2” at the end/butt, 4” at the neck), which makes it 1/4-3/4” deeper than the standard 00 (compare to 4 1/4 to 3 1/4”), and actually is slightly larger in width than a typically 00 (at 14 3/8” rather than 14 1/8”)
  • Mine has 18 frets (vs. 20) on the Martin, which means my soundhole is a slightly higher
  • The standard nut width is 1 7/8” on most 00-21's; mine is a smidgen less at 1 13/16”