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The Martin 000C12 Classical Guitar

Martin 000C12

The Martin 000C12-16E Nylon String Guitar is an exceptional instrument designed to elevate the playing experience for both beginner and intermediate classical guitarists. With its thoughtful construction and high-quality components, this guitar provides the perfect platform to develop and enhance your classical guitar skills.

In this article, I’m going to discuss my experience with Martin 000C12. The various parts of this guitar, when combined, create a fine guitar with amazing technical capabilities. Let’s get started with an overview of the body.

If you are a newbie and trying to buy your first classical guitar, we suggest you take a look at our list of classical guitars for beginners. This might help you find your favorite one!

Martin 000C12
Image by Martin
Made InUSA
Model 000C12
Body Spruce
TopSpruce
Neck Select Hardwood
Scale 26.44″
Nut Width 1 7/8”
Weight4.05 lbs (1.8 kg)
Fretboard Ebony
Frets20
BracingA-Frame X-Brace System
ElectronicsFishman Matrix VT Enhance NT1
BridgeEbony
InlaysN/A
Truss RodSquare Steel Tube
CaseSoft Gig Bag
Design000 Auditorium-style Classical Guitar

Body

When I first picked up the 000C12-16E, I immediately noticed how comfortable it felt in my hands. The auditorium-style body shape strikes a balance between comfort and projection, allowing me to play for longer periods without fatigue. The spruce gloss top delivers a bright and articulate tone that is perfect for bringing out the intricate melodies of classical music.

The dark mahogany color of the back and sides gives the guitar a touch of sophistication that I find incredibly appealing. And let’s not forget about the subtle decorative elements! The multi-stripe inlay material on the back and the East Indian rosewood heel cap add a unique and classy touch to the overall design.

What I find particularly striking is the minimalist aesthetic. The absence of back purfling/strip, endpiece, side detail, and side inlay allows the natural beauty of the woods to take center stage. It’s like a work of art where simplicity truly shines.

Size and Finish

The Martin 000C12 Nylon String Guitar is my go-to instrument because it offers a compact and comfortable body size with its 000-12 Fret Cutaway design. I love how the glossy finish on the top enhances its visual appeal, giving it a sleek and polished look. The Simple Dovetail Neck Joint provides a solid and dependable connection between the neck and body, ensuring the guitar’s durability.

Martin 000C12

The satin finish on the back and sides of the guitar adds a smooth and comfortable feel to the instrument. As I hold it in my hands, I appreciate the clear top color, elegant binding, and sophisticated rosette, which exude a timeless and refined aesthetic.

Special Ebony Bridge

The Martin 000C12 classical guitar features a bridge that is both functionally effective and aesthetically pleasing. Typically, Martin guitars are known for their quality craftsmanship, and the 000C12 model is no exception. 

The classical-style bridge, with its drop-in saddle design, allows for precise string placement and optimal tonal transfer, resulting in a rich and resonant sound. The bridge and saddle are crafted from ebony and white Tusq, respectively, enhancing the guitar’s overall tonal characteristics. 

Are you having challenges stringing your guitar? Check out our guide to stringing your classical guitar like a pro

The multi-stripe inlay on the top and the bold herringbone rosette catch my eye, adding a touch of visual allure and elevating the guitar’s appearance. Every detail of the Martin 000C12 Nylon String Guitar showcases the craftsmanship and attention to detail that Martin is renowned for.

Bracing Pattern and Scale Length

It incorporates a unique A-Frame X-Brace System for bracing, contributing to its exceptional tone and resonance. With a scale length of 26.44″ and a non-scalloped brace shape, this guitar offers a balanced and consistent sound.

The fingerboard width at the nut measures 1 7/8”, providing ample space for finger placement and facilitating comfortable playing.

Martin 000C12 Headstock
Image by Martin

The guitar incorporates a classical-style bridge with a drop-in saddle design. The bridge spacing measures 2 5/16”, providing adequate room for precise string placement. The bridge of the guitar is made of ebony, known for its durability and tonal properties.

It features a white Tusq saddle, ensuring optimal string vibration transfer and intonation. The saddle of the Martin 000C12 Nylon String Guitar has a radius of 18″, ensuring proper string alignment and consistent action across the fretboard.

Electronics

The Fishman Matrix VT Enhance NT1 electronics is a popular choice for acoustic guitar amplification. It is a pickup and preamp system designed to provide high-quality sound reproduction when connecting your guitar to amplifiers or sound systems.

Martin 000C12

The Matrix VT Enhance NT1 electronics utilize a combination of an under-saddle pickup and a soundboard transducer to capture the natural sound of your guitar. The under-saddle pickup is placed under the guitar’s bridge saddle and detects the vibrations of the strings, while the soundboard transducer captures the resonance and tonal qualities of the guitar’s top.

These two pickup elements work together to provide a balanced and full-bodied sound when amplified. The Fishman Matrix VT Enhance NT1 system also includes an onboard preamp that allows you to control your sound with volume and tone controls conveniently located on the guitar’s body.

Neck

The select hardwood neck not only ensures stability and durability but also gives me the confidence that this guitar will last for a long time. It’s the perfect foundation for my playing.

The ebony fingerboard is a dream to play on. The simple dovetail neck joint has a smooth surface that allows my fingers to glide effortlessly, and the tonal clarity is simply outstanding. I can hear the nuances in my playing.

Take a look to learn more about classical fingerpicking guitar techniques.

Martin 000C12
Image by Martin

The satin finish on the neck adds to the overall comfort. It feels great in my hands, and the dark mahogany color gives the guitar a touch of elegance that I find visually appealing.

Having 20 frets and the neck joint at the 12th fret is a game-changer. It makes it so much easier to reach those higher notes and explore a wider range of musical possibilities. Plus, I love the clean and understated aesthetic with the absence of fingerboard inlay and binding. It lets the beauty of the wood speak for itself. 

The white side dots are a practical and helpful addition. They serve as useful markers, guiding me along the fingerboard and assisting with finger placement and orientation.

Martin 000C12

The neck of the Martin 000C12 Nylon String Guitar is crafted from select hardwood, ensuring stability, durability, and a comfortable playing experience. The neck has a satin finish, offering a smooth and natural feel while playing. The dark mahogany color of the neck complements the overall aesthetic of the guitar.

Fingerboard Material and Width:

The guitar features an ebony fingerboard known for its smoothness and tonal clarity. The fingerboard width at the 12th fret measures 2 5/16”, providing ample space for precise finger placement and comfortable playing.

The Martin 000C12 Nylon String Guitar has a total of 20 frets, allowing for a wide tonal range and versatility. The neck joins the body at the 12th fret, providing easy access to higher frets. The guitar incorporates white side dots on the neck, serving as visual markers to aid in finger placement and orientation while playing.

Pros & Cons of the Martin 000C12

Pros

  1. Exceptional Tone and Projection: The spruce gloss top and mahogany back and sides produce a balanced and resonant sound, ideal for classical guitarists.
  1. Versatile Amplification: The Fishman Matrix VT Enhance NT1 electronics enable seamless amplification, expanding the guitar’s usability for performances and recordings across various genres.
  1. Quality Craftsmanship: The guitar is crafted with meticulous attention to detail, incorporating select hardwood for the neck, ebony for the fingerboard, and spruce/mahogany for the top and sides, ensuring durability and a superior playing experience.

Cons

  1. Limited Decorative Features: The guitar’s minimalist design may not appeal to those seeking intricate decorative elements such as inlays or bindings.

Check out the Best Classical Guitars here.

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Sharif Leen
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