Sunday, February 21, 2016

2009 Martin OM-21 Special

I noticed this Martin OM-21 Special via a Craigslist listing by a fellow local guitar aficionado and arranged to stop by and check it out. The Martin OM-21 Special first started production in 2007 and was discontinued in 2011. It is a sweet little 000-sized guitar with many vintage features found on mostly pricier instruments so consider yourself lucky if you find a used one.

Vintage features on the OM-21 Special include a maple herringbone rosette and back center strip, a black ebony pyramid bridge, bone nut and compensated saddle, and black ebony bridge pins with grained Ivoroid dots. Also special is the Indian Rosewood binding, maple purfling, Ebony heel cap, and scalloped Sitka Spruce bracing. The black ebony fingerboard features abalone diamond fretboard markers in the old-fashioned "short pattern" unique to pre-war Style 21 models. The vintage vibe is completed by the polished gloss Sitka Spruce top with vintage toner, small teardrop tortoise pick guard, Martin-branded open-geared Gotoh Nickel butter bean tuners, and a large old-style logo decal on the Rosewood head plate.

Once this OM-21 Special was in my hands, I savored the lush smell of the solid East Indian Rosewood body and appreciated its comfortable solid Cedar low profile neck with Satin finish that is 1-3/4'' at the nut. This is a wonderful small-bodied finger-picking guitar, with responsive and crisp tones. Projection and sustain are surprisingly robust. This guitar was just too pleasing and enjoyable to leave behind. Unfortunately, heavy pick marks had worn through the finish between the pick guard and bridge. An ill-conceived cosmetic fix of what looks like clear nail polish over the affected area will look better once reversed. Meanwhile, an installed K&K Western Mini under-saddle pickup was an added bonus. Having negotiated a fair price, I look forward to enjoying this special guitar for years to come.


  1. L
    You are a lucky man. I own an OM-21 Special and it's the best guitar i have ever played...