Martin Carthy

From Geartome

From Acoustic Guitar Magazine, July 2005, No. 151: "Few musicians are as inseparably identified with one instrument as MARTIN CARTHY and his late ’50s Martin 000-18. Bought used in 1963, the guitar was played at virtually every Martin Carthy show for the next four decades. British luthier Roger Bucknall of Fylde Guitars has been trusted with keeping it in top shape. “I’ve spent a considerable part of my life inside his old 000-18,” he says. “New bridge plate twice, new bridge once, many crack repairs, and one major side patch. I’ve had the back off twice to get to complicated repairs, completely refinished it twice, and partially refinished it at other times—each time with French polish to avoid removing old lacquer and preserve the fragile old wood. Despite the heavy strings, it hasn’t needed a neck reset, although it has high action, and the back removal allowed me to pull things back into shape.” The 000-18 has been modified with a zero fret; an OM-style pickguard has replaced the original; and brass bridge pins hold the three treble strings in place. For a long time Carthy amplified it with an interior Radio Shack lavalier mic, but he currently uses an L.R. Baggs Double Barrel system with an internal mic and an undersaddle Headway pickup, which replaces the stock Baggs Ribbon Transducer. Carthy finally retired his old friend from roadwork when C.F. Martin and Co. came up with a Martin Carthy signature model in 2003. The 000-18MC is a faithful reproduction of Carthy’s vintage guitar, including its various modifications. Carthy owns the first three prototypes, and his current touring guitar is equipped with a Fishman Acoustic Matrix pickup and internal mic combination, which he runs through a Fishman Pocket Blender. Carthy also frequently uses a Fylde Falstaff guitar for several tunes in his set, and he has owned various other Fylde instruments through the years. He uses custom string sets to accommodate his favored tuning (C G C D G A), with typical gauges (high to low) .015, .018, .027, .039, .049, and .059. Carthy uses a metal thumbpick and natural nails on his picking fingers."

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