Acoustical Guitar Review: Martin D-18

Martin D-18 Acoustic Guitar - Review

Review, specifications and similar instruments available for this quality acoustic guitar.

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  • Guitar Specifications
  • Martin D-18
  • Similar Guitars
Model: Martin D-18 Acoustic Guitar

Construction: Mahogany Blocks/Dovetail Neck Joint
Body Size: D-14 Fret
Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
Rossette: Style 28
Top Bracing: Standard X
Top Braces: Solid Sitka Spruce 5/16"
Back Material: Solid Genuine Mahogany
Back Purfling: Style 18
Side Material: Solid Genuine Mahogany
Endpiece: Black Boltaron
Endpiece Inlay: none
Binding: Black Boltaron
Top Inlay Style: Multiple Black/White Boltaron
Side Inlay: none
Back Inlay: none
Neck Material: Select Hardwood
Neck Shape: Low Profile
Nut Material: Bone
Headstock: Solid/Square Taper
Headplate: Solid East Indian Rosewood /Raised Gold Foil
Heelcap: Solid Indian Rosewood
Fingerboard Material: Solid East Indian Rosewood
Body Finish: Gloss Polished
Neck Finish: Satin
Scale Length: 25.4"
# of Frets Clear: 14
# of Frets Total: 20
Pickguard: Tortise Shell
Left Handed Option at No Cost

List Price: $1,999.00 (incl. Case)
Warranty: Limited Lifetime

Yamaha FG730S Martin D-18 Acoustic Guitar Guitar

The Martin D-18 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar is a traditional-style dreadnought that features a rosewood fingerboard and bridge with black binding and pickguard plus chrome-enclosed tuning machines.

Solid mahogany back and sides combine with a large dreadnought guitar size to produce a loud, clear treble and a warm, moderate bass. Limited lifetime warranty. The D-18 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar includes a deluxe Martin hardshell case ($190 value).

Martin D-18 Acoustic Guitar $1,999.99

Martin D-18 Acoustic Guitar Features:
    Solid Sitka spruce top
    Solid Mahogany back and sides
    Solid Rosewood fretboard and bridge
    25.4" scale length
    Elaborate mother-of-pearl fretboard inlays
    Limited lifetime warranty
Martin D-35 Dreadnought Guitar
Martin D-35 Dreadnought Guitar:The Martin D-35 Dreadnought Guitar gives you unsurpassed tone. Massive, solid Sitka spruce top produces a strong bass tone, ideal for rhythm playing. To accentuate the treble, Martin uses lighter 1/4" top braces.
Martin D-16RGT Dreadnought Guitar
Martin D-16RGT Dreadnought Guitar: The traditional Martin D-16RGT Dreadnought Guitar features a top of solid spruce and back and sides of solid East Indian rosewood. Easy-playing neck and fretboard is a joy.
Martin D-16 Acoustic Guitar Clearance
Martin D-16 Acoustic Guitar Clearance : Crafted with a Spanish cedar neck and solid sapele back and sides, it's a visual knockout with chrome tuners, 5-ply top binding, and compensated Tusq saddle. Includes Martin hardshell case.
Martin D-18GE Golden Era 1934 Acoustic Guitar
Martin D-18GE Golden Era 1934 Acoustic Guitar: Classic dreadnought body with slightly stiffer solid Adirondack spruce (red spruce) top, permit scalloped 5/16" Golden Era bracing shifted closer to the soundhole for free vibration and huge volume.
Martin D-28 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
Martin D-28 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar:With its rich, resonant warmth and punchy volume, the D-28 is particularly well-suited to music styles requiring loud, powerful rhythm accompaniment.
  • Front
  • Side
  • Back
  • Bridge
  • Fretboard
  • Head
Martin D-18 Front
Martin D-18 Side
Martin D-18 Back
Martin D-18 Bridge
Martin D-18 Fretboard
Martin D-18 Fretboard

Features: 8.0

The Martin D-18 is a very basic, no frills acoustic guitar. Even the position dots are very simple and clean. The fingerboard is rosewood and is not disguised as ebony by stain. The fingerboard is also unadorned, with exposed fret ends and no edge purfling.

With the Genuine Mahogany back and sides it gives this guitar a well balanced sound. The solid spruce top has a nice grain pattern with quite finely space lines. There should be at least 16 grain lines/inch and most of the Martin D-18's I've seen meet this criteria.

Gotoh Chrome tuning machines work very smoothly and the guitar is very easy to tune and stays tuned very well. This is a testimony to the Martin Guitar setup process.

I've really grown to love the low-profile neck of the Martin acoustic guitars. The neck is fast and really lends itself to great lead guitar picking.

Sound Production: 7.0

The Martin D-18 sound is very even, with loud trebles and well-balanced lows. This guitar does not compare to the old pre-war Martins, but that is not possible by any new guitar. This will prove to be a very solid guitar for flat-picking or fingerstyle guitar methods, although a bit thin for fingerstyle.

When strumming the guitar, the sustain fades quite rapidly, but this is quite typical for a new guitar - espically a guitar with Mahogany back and side. Also, the harnomics were very good on the Martin D-18 I tested.

Action: 8.0

This Guitar plays good right out of the box. I would however prefer to put light gauge strings on this guitar. Because I like low action, I would probably lower the strings at both the nut and saddle a bit.

The detail of workmanship really shows in how this guitar is setup. Often overlooked, it is one of the most important operations that should be addressed with a fine guitar, and Martin gets it right. Every time.

Durability: 9.0

The Martin D-18 is very solid and well made. This guitar does not feel frail in the least bit. The top is solid and will withstand the tension from medium gauge strings very well.

Please, do NOT put heavy gauge strings on this guitar.

This guitar was put together in a humidity controlled atmosphere and you should keep it in that same type of atmosphere to minimize cracking or wood movement. A good humidifier for your room or home and guitar case is essential to minimize repair bills.

Be sure to visit our page on Guitar Humidity Control for detail information of keeping your guitar in tip-top shape during the dry winter months.

Customer Service: 10.0

Be sure to register your Martin D18. If you treat your guitar right you will be able to keep it in great playing condition for a long time. The biggest enemy of a hollow body acoustical guitar is the lack or the excess of humidity in the air. If you develop problems, a Martin repair center will take care of you.

Overall Score: 8.4

The Martin D-18 is one of the best known and most appreciated large bodied guitars of all time. Martin still bases the new models on the original Martin D18 produced in the 1930's, also known as the pre-war guitars.

There are some major differences from today's guitars as compared to those produced some 70 years ago. The major difference is the use of scalloped bracing used for the vintage models, while the new guitars are produced using more conventional bracing. There are a few exceptions to this as Martin has offered scalloped bracing in many of their Historic Era and higher end guitars such as the D-41's, HD-35's and more.

Solid Mahogany sides and back with a solid spruce top give this guitar high marks to age gracefully and should only much better as time goes on. The Martin D-18 is a guitar I would highly recommend for the advanced student, seasoned intermediate or professional guitar player.

Interested In Making A Martin D-18?

Are you interested in making your own D-18? Visit our Plan Shop, purchase our detailed plans and make your very own!

Martin Dreadnought  Guitar Plan

I love this guitar so much that I've introduced an Martin-Style Dreadnought Ultimate Guitar Plan based on the Martin D-18 It will be the Dreadnought sized body, 14 fret neck, 25.4" scale, similar brace configuration to the Martin.

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