The Martin Carl Fischer Model 0-18T Tenor Guitar
Designed for the Carl Fischer Stores
This design, requested by Al Esposito of the Carl Fischer Stores, was
the first successful Martin guitar with 14 frets clear of the body,
leading to the design of the OM, or Orchestra Model
1930 Martin Carl Fischer Model, and 1930 Martin 0-18T
As the hugely popular banjo was
beginning to wane, players were looking for a substitute, so
manufacturers were wanting to supply a guitar with the longer 4 string
neck banjo players were accustomed to, which allowed easier access to
the high frets.
The first attempt to create a neck with 14 frets clear of the body, in
1929, resulted in an elongated body and high bridge, a design that was
not entirely successful due to the less than sonically ideal bridge
placement. A month after the Carl Fischer designation was
dropped, in May, 1930, the current variation, with a shorter and
flatter upper bout, was introduced.
1928 Martin 2-18TL, 1930 Martin Carl Fischer Model,
and 1930 Martin 0-18T
Three 14 fret Martin tenor guitars, the first with high bridge
placement, the second with the new body shape suggested by Al Esposito
of the Carl Fischer Stores, and the third a production model 0-18T with
wider upper bout.
The Martin tenor guitar first appeared with a 12 fret shaped size 5 body
In 1929 the size 0 tenor appeared in several trim levels. The
Plectrum Guitar appeared in 1930, mostly as a 000-18.
As the hugely popular banjo was beginning to wane, players
were looking for a substitute, so manufacturers were wanting to supply a
guitar with the longer 4 string neck banjo players were accustomed to,
which allowed easier access to the higher frets.
Martin's first attempt to build a guitar with 14 frets clear of the
body, to provide greater access to the upper frets, was achieved by
attaching the neck of the Martin tenor guitar at the 14th fret, and
moving the bridge upwards to compensate. This bridge
placement, however, proved less than ideal.
By late 1929, Al Esposito of the Carl Fischer stores suggested an
alternative, special ordering a tenor guitar called the Carl Fischer
Model, with a shortened upper bout with14 frets clear.
1930 Martin Carl Fischer Model with 1930 Martin O-18T
By early 1930, the Carl Fischer Model had been made available to Martins
other customers, and the Fischer Model name was dropped. The 0-18
that followed had a flatter and wider upper bout.
the straight bridge of the 0-18T was replaced by a belly bridge.
Long neck 14 fret Martin 1928 2-18TL, 1930
Martin Carl Fischer Model, 1930 0-18T with wider and less round upper
bout, and 1931 Martin 0-18T with belly bridge.
Soon after the Carl Fischer Model was developed, Perry Bechtel of the
Cable Piano Company, upon visiting the Martin factory and seeing the
Carl Fischer Model, requested a fourteen fret clear six string guitar,
and the Orchestra Model was born. The OM-28 was soon followed by
the OM-18 and the OM-18P Plectrum Guitar appeared in 1930.
In 1931 Martin added a handful of plectrum guitars in the C-1 and C-2
roundhole archtop styles. By the end of 1931, Martin had built
it's last Plectrum Guitar.
The Carl Fischer Model tenor guitar was followed by the Orchestra
Model, a six string guitar built for the Cable Music Company, which
borrowed the design concept of the altered body shape and 14 fret
The earliest OM guitar also had a slightly more rounded upper bout,
but the difference is not nearly as pronounced.
The banjo player's preference for a longer 4 string neck also led to
the introduction of the long necked four string plectrum guitar.
By 1931, the straight bridge was replaced by a "belly" bridge.
Early 14 fret clear body OM-28, OM-18P plectrum guitar, and 0-18T
The Carl Fischer Model did not contain a label, stamp, or other
specific designation for the Carl Fischer Stores, and appears to have
been made available to other Martin dealers relatively
soon after introduction, while still referred to by Martin as the Carl
Martin 1929 0-18 Special
Tenor Carl Fischer
Serial number 40501
Stamped November 27, 1929
Martin 1930 0-18 Special
Tenor Carl Fischer
serial number 41046
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