Triple Zero

June 2004

This guitar is in the style of a Martin 000.

Martin has been making guitars since 1833, and guitars used to be a lot smaller. The original sizes were from 5 to 1, with 1 being the largest. As popular music changed and musicians wanted bigger, louder guitars, they started having to go to the aughts since they were already out of numbers, and made a 0, 00, and 000. This one is based on a 12-fret 000 model, with “12-fret” referring to where the neck meets the body (a more modern 000 neck would meet the body at the 14th fret and the headstock wouldn’t be slotted.)

This was made from a Stew Mac kit, and was my first real attempt at putting together an acoustic guitar. The Stew Mac kits are somewhat serviced, meaning that some key things are already done (the neck is shaped, the sides are bent, the rosette channel is cut, etc.) but it was still quite a challenge to build on the kitchen table of my first apartment, before I had a shop. There were pieces of purfling showing up when I moved out.

Although I made this like 20 years ago and didn’t really know what I was doing, it’s still my primary acoustic.


The top is Sitka spruce and the back and sides are Honduran mahogany. The neck is also mahogany, with an ebony fingerboard and rosewood peghead overlay. It has ivoroid binding with black/white/black purfling, and routing the stepped channels for that with a Dremel aged me several years. There is also mother of pearl and abalone inlay all over this thing, which looks ridiculous to me by my current tastes, but I guess I was trying to put my mark on it at the time and didn’t have the knowledge or skill to do much else. I barely had tools…I had to go to my parents’ house to use my dad’s drill press to make the spool clamps that I used to glue on the soundboard and back. I also put a pickup in it for some reason. Most acoustic pickup systems have on-board preamps, but I’ve always hated dealing with batteries and certainly wasn’t going to cut holes in the side of it for a control panel, so this has a passive K&K soundboard pickup under the bridge plate that goes straight to the jack, which is incorporated into the strap peg.


I took a shot at tuning the top of this, but I think you have to do 10,000 of hours of that before it actually starts to make sense, and I had none. That said, just following the instructions got me pretty far, and for my purposes, I’ve never really wanted anything more from an acoustic guitar.