From the May 2018 issue of Acoustic Guitar | BY GREG OLWELL


While creating a finish that looks older and (a lot) more lived-in is still relatively new in the guitar world, antiquing a brand-new instrument has been the norm in the violin world for centuries. In spite of my love for a guitar that’s come by its playwear honestly, I couldn’t help but find myself pulled to the look and sounds of the Martin 000-15M StreetMaster again and again.

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Taking It to the Streets

Martin says that it made the StreetMaster series, which also includes an identically priced dreadnought version, for the working musician. But the Martin 000-15M SteetMaster, with its distinctive distressed look, is an all-solid-wood guitar sorted out with a suite of cool features that would be easy for any guitar aficionado to fall for.

As part of Martin’s 15 series, the StreetMaster has a satin-finished all-mahogany body and mahogany neck, A-frame X-bracing, Martin’s simplified dovetail neck joint, and no binding. The StreetMaster is very similar to Martin’s popular 000-15M, with a few notable differences, such as a katalox fingerboard and bridge, and no pickguard on the ready-to-rumble finish.

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Maybe because it looks like it’s already lived a little, I didn’t feel the need to baby the StreetMaster during our time together. Even with several other guitars nearby, I found myself reaching for it when playing through the music in this issue, learning new songs, or just strumming a few chords while watching TV. The modified low-oval shape and Martin’s standard taper made the neck very comfortable, and the triple-0 size body felt good tucked under my right arm for fingerpicking or flatpicking.


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As you might expect from an all-mahogany guitar, the StreetMaster has miles of clarity and focused fundamentals, and a strong midrange with a dry throatiness on the lower mids. The highs are sweet and not too bright and the bass is not too boomy, which all adds up to a guitar that seems like a great companion for singers and fans of a full, balanced tone that’s not too potent in any direction.

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The easy playability and rich tones of the Martin 000-15M StreetMaster kept calling me to play it and the faux-distressed finish kept me from feeling too precious about it. In other words, it’s a fun guitar that you won’t want to put down.

streetmaster_soundhole

Martin 000-15M StreetMaster

Body 000-size, 14-fret all-mahogany body; non-scalloped A-frame X-braced top; katalox belly-style bridge with compensated drop-in bone saddle; satin distressed mahogany burst finish

Neck 25.4″-scale mahogany neck with dovetail neck joint; 20-fret katalox fingerboard with abalone diamonds-and-squares short pattern position inlays; 1-11/16″-wide bone nut; Golden Age Relic nickel tuners with cream knobs; satin finish

Other Martin SP Acoustic 92/8 Phosphor Bronze Light (.012–.054); soft gig bag; available left-handed

Price $1,799 (MSRP);
$1,399 (street)

Made in USA

martinguitar.com


This article originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine.

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