Description

Martin SPD16B Serial# 720149 built 1999 (Black Beauty)

 

Special edition of 50 signed by Chris Martin IV. This has a black lacquer finish with most of the same specs as a D-18. Some separation of the binding has previously been repaired. Plays like a Martin should, this edition is pretty rare and little other information other than the original catalog entry has been found. Some scuffs and a few dings but nothing major. These were built in the Nazareth PA factory in 1999.

The Martin SPD-16B dreadnought acoustic guitar is part of the “16” series of Martin guitars which combine modern guitar specifications with the famous Martin quality and sound. The “SP” stands for some Special Edition features on a few of the D-16s which are normally found only on Martin’s highest priced models. The B obviously refers to the Piano Black gloss finish over the AAA spruce and sold mahogany back and sides. The features include a full tortoise body binding and pick guard, gold hardware, D-45 abalone pearl rosette and abalone snowflake/slotted diamond/cat’s eyes fingerboard and bridge inlays, and D-45 style back stripe inlay. This SPD-16B is one gorgeous guitar- aka the “Black Beauty”!

The SPD-16T was introduced in 1996—with the “T” standing for new technology added after the 16 Series guitars were first made in 1986; by the year 1999 when this guitar was made, the “T” was dropped. These “technology” features were the Hybrid X-bracing pattern and the mortise and tenon neck joint. Specifically, the earlier 16 series were dove tail jointed; when Martin changed the joint  to mortise and tenon and bracing they assigned the “Technology” designation. Featuring these innovations, solid woods throughout, and the cosmetics from some of the models costing over $5000, the SPD-16B is a superb American-made acoustic guitar approaching the value of the iconic D-28.

The playability and sound verify the quality promised by the name. The body dimensions are similar to those of most dreadnoughts: it has a 14/20-fret fingerboard, a 25.4” scale, and a fingerboard width of 1 11/16” at the nut and 2 1/8” at the 12th fret. The Martin mortise/tenon neck joint and scalloped spruce hybrid X-bracing of the top combine with the great strength of mahogany to allow for thinner, more responsive tonewoods, making for the rich, bright sound characteristic of the D-16. The modified low-profile neck is fast and comfortable, which is good because you won’t want to put it down for hours.

The playing condition is excellent, as you would expect of a Martin: straight neck, some fret wear but no buzz, solid bridge, tight tuners, and so on. The action is comfortably low—3/32” at the 12th fret, the sound is terrific—and it will only become better as these high quality solid woods age.

Cosmetically, it’s also in good shape, but there is evidence of repaired separation at the binding that were done by a non professional; In addition, there are the usual scratches, dings, bruises, and some pick wear below the pick guard as expected in a 21-year-old guitar.

This has the standard Martin 345 case  with keys. While it has earned a few dings around the edges protecting this guitar, the hardware is all bright and shiny and works perfectly, and the plush green interior is in fine shape. It is an ideal complement to this excellent guitar.

Note: It appraised at $1800 in 2022 by Currier Music.

 

Specifications

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Model: Martin SPD-16 B

Body style: Dreadnought

Six string

MARTIN & Co, Nazareth, Pennsylvania, US

 

Color: PIANO BLACK gloss

Top: Sitka spruce

Back & Sides: Solid Mahogany

Neck: Cedar

Tonewood: Solid Mahogany

Inlays: Mother of Pearl -Snowflakes

Rosette- abalone and mother of pearl

Binding:Body and sides- ivoroid

Tuners Martin -gold-

Numbered: Special edition of 50 signed by Chris Martin IV