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Joan Baez 0-45 guitar

06 Mar 11 - 01:11 PM (#3108193)
Subject: Joan Baez 0-45 guitar
From: Little Hawk

Joan Baez bought an old Martin 0-45 parlour guitar back in 1959 and has been playing it to the present day. It's a beautiful looking little instrument, and I bet it sounds great. I think Bob Dylan can be seen playing it in one of the Newport films.

Martin Guitars decided to reissue that style of guitar in 1998 as a special edition, and they built only 59 of them to commemorate the year Joan Baez bought hers. All 59 of those guitars sold out fast.

What I'm wondering is...has anyone here had a chance to play one of those guitars? If so, can you report on what it was like as to tone, feel, playability, volume, etc?

Here's an article about this guitar:

Martin 0-45jb

06 Mar 11 - 01:45 PM (#3108231)
Subject: RE: Joan Baez 0-45 guitar
From: Little Hawk

Here's a Youtube video where she is playing that guitar. Sounds good.

Joan Baez and her 0-45 guitar

06 Mar 11 - 08:04 PM (#3108522)
Subject: RE: Joan Baez 0-45 guitar

Wish I could help ya out, LH. Never played one and truthfully don't ever remember seeing one.

07 Mar 11 - 01:58 PM (#3109057)
Subject: RE: Joan Baez 0-45 guitar

I have a couple of old O size Martins: 1951 O-15 and a 1937 O-28. I love the size, and the O-28 has that dried-out, crisp sound found only in a vintage instrument. I have pictures of Mike Longworth holding this guitar, checking it out.

Regarding Joan's O-45, I remember reading that after she sent the guitar to Martin for some repair/setup work, she discovered some time later that someone had written some negative comments on the underside of the guitar top about Joan being a communist, and what a shame this fine guitar was owned by her.

In my formative years, I listened to a lot of Joan's albums, and hoped I could one day pick the guitar like she did. I'm still working at it ...   -btmp

07 Mar 11 - 08:55 PM (#3109318)
Subject: RE: Joan Baez 0-45 guitar
From: PHJim

The article linked by Little Hawk in the original post says,"When Martin began work on the 0-45JB, Baez sent them her original 0-45, as it was in need of some repair. While working on it, they discovered that someone had written on the soundboard in pencil "Too bad you are a communist!" Joan obviously found this amusing as the 0-45JB has the same inscription; but in reverse so that it can be read with an inspection mirror."

My wife had a D-18 when we were married, but, being just over 5 feet, she found it uncomfortable to play. About 25 years ago she got a 1921 O-18 and she loves it. It's an amazingly light guitar that plays and sounds wonderful. Her guitar is mahogany, not rosewood, like the O-45, but I'm sure the O-45 is great.
My only complaint about my wife's guitar is the bar frets. They make slides a bit difficult, but she doesn't do enough slides to make it a problem. I wonder if the O-45jb has bar frets.

08 Mar 11 - 04:40 PM (#3109901)
Subject: RE: Joan Baez 0-45 guitar
From: Brian May

Yep that sounds great, and looks good too.

I'm not in the financial group that could afford one of those (even were they available), but I do have a 000-28 which is also light and really comfortable to play.

It's quite true, as observed above, the dreadnoughts can feel a bit awkward to play. I have a D-28 and its 12 Daddy, but, whilst they sound fabulous, the smaller bodied instrument is by far the most comfortable.

Isn't it great to see such a nice instrument played to accompany a singer of her talent and ability. I've followed Joan Baez since the mid 60s, we are blessed to be able to sample her talent.

Hope she's recovered from her fall - I mean what was she doing . . . in a tree? Bless her.

09 Mar 11 - 06:12 AM (#3110225)
Subject: RE: Joan Baez 0-45 guitar
From: GUEST,Captain Colin

Little Hawk- my suggestion would be that you sign up to the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum where you are more likely to find people with first-hand experience of this guitar. Despite having selected (supposedly) higher grades of the woods used it will sound and feel much as a modern 0-28 12-fret as they are essentially the same in materials and construction- the extra cost is pretty much for the ornamentation.

10 Mar 11 - 01:16 PM (#3111206)
Subject: RE: Joan Baez 0-45 guitar
From: Little Hawk

I was playing a 000-28ec (Eric Clapton signature model of the 000-28) the other day at a music store, and was very well impressed with it. It hard darn near the volume of a dreadnought, and wonderfully sweet tone. Being a 000, it's a bit bigger than Joan's 0-45 which is a really small guitar.

10 Mar 11 - 01:17 PM (#3111208)
Subject: RE: Joan Baez 0-45 guitar
From: Little Hawk

'scuse "had" darn near the volume of a dreadnought, I meant to say