Martin D-18 Acoustic Guitar - Review
Review, specifications and similar instruments available for this quality acoustic guitar.
- Guitar Specifications
- Similar Guitars
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
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).
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Are you interested in making your own D-18? Visit our Plan Shop, purchase our detailed plans and make your very own!
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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