Elvis' Martin 000-18
Scotty with ES295 and Elvis with Martin 000-18
at the Mint Club, Gladewater, TX (approx. Nov/Dec 1954)
Sometime before their first performance
on the Louisiana Hayride show in
1954 Elvis bought a used Martin 000-18 from Sid Lapworth at O.K.
Houck Piano Co. in Memphis.
According to Sid he paid $79.50 for it, mostly on time with $5 down and
$10 per month. According to an article reputedly written in
the April 1955 issue of Country and Western Jamboree, Elvis received $8 in trade
for his first guitar that was
used to record his first tracks at Sun but Sid has no recollection of
that trade (the story about the $8 first appeared in an article
in the Memphis Press-Scimitar on Feb 5, 1955). It was used for performing
and recording until sometime after November of 1954 at which time he traded it for a
Scotty, Elvis, Bill and Frank Page at the Louisiana Hayride Oct. 16,
Photo © Louisiana
Hayride Archives courtesy of J.
All of the strings, picks and accessories sold at
Houck's came from the David Wexler Company in Chicago, as did the stick
on letters (Autograms). When Sid sold guitars he gave the buyer either a set of
strings, some picks or their name in letters. Often people would apply
the letters to the case instead of the guitar itself. Elvis applied
his diagonally across the body of this guitar. Sid
said this guitar was resold to a Memphis vacuum cleaner salesman again for $79.50
days after Elvis traded it in. The person chose to keep the
lettering spelling "ELVIS" applied, according to Sid's recollection.
Barbara Burnette, Elvis, R. M. Robinson and Mayor Frank Tobey with 000-18
Nov. 8, 1954
photo courtesy Ger Rijff
1936 Martin 000-18
(similar to Elvis'*)
Photo© courtesy American
The Martin 000-18 has a 39 13/16" total length, a
19 3/8" body length, 15 3/16"
body width and a 4 1/8" body depth. It features a solid
Mahogany neck, 20 fret Rosewood fingerboard with a 24.9" scale
length, solid Spruce top, Mahogany back and sides, Rosewood bridge, Black
endpiece and binding.
Simulated facsimile of letters on the 000-18
specifications courtesy C.F.
page added 2002
*note: at this time lacking the serial #
we do not know the model year of this Martin guitar only that it was
purchased used in 1954.