Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Martin D-18V Guitar


I have tried the rest and finally bought the acoustic guitar I wished I had never sold, a Martin D-18V. This model perfectly captures the look and sound of an old Martin dreadnought, and I cannot believe I sold the last one that I was lucky enough to own.

A lot of folks like the simpler appointments and throwback look of older guitar models, so the wise heads at Martin introduced the vintage series of guitars which have these classic looks and features and are ready to play right out of the box.

This D-18V has plenty of vintage styling cues, including the rosette, headstock shape, pick guard, hardware (little bean tuners!), fretboard markers and neck profile. The vintage-ness carries over to its construction, with scalloped braces (light strings, please) and top bracing that is more forward than the regular D-18.

This Martin has a solid sitka spruce top, and solid mahogany sides and back. Note that the vintage series gets a nicely aged finish that is very thin. I am not fond of the newer Martins with really light colored tops, so the vintage tint brings the whole look together for me. The fretboard and bridge are made of ebony – good look finding that on a regular D-18.

The neck is fabulous, with great workmanship on the frets and fingerboard. The neck has a comfortable V shape to it, and the width at the nut is 1 & 11/16 inches.

This specific guitar is a 2008 model that was made during Martin’s 175th anniversary. It has a few light dings, probably because the finish is so thin, but I would not have it any other way. I think thick finishes really hurt the tone of acoustic guitars.

And the tone is what draws me back to the D-18V. I love the look and feel of the D-28, but I prefer the tone of mahogany, not rosewood. Also, the scalloped (and more forward) bracing gives the D-18V a fuller sound, making this the perfect guitar for me -- especially when I consider the classic vintage look of this thing.

These guitars are not terribly cheap, of course. The list price is $3349, with a street price of $2499, but you get what you pay for, and what you are paying for here is one of the best mass-production dreadnoughts around. By the way, I recently went on the Martin factory tour and got to see first-hand the care that goes into building these guitars, and it made me proud to own one.

It is good to have this guitar back in my stable, and hopefully I have wised up a bit, and will keep onto this Martin and not be distracted the newest, greatest thing that pulls into town. Hope springs eternal.

Oh yeah, and now I need to find a J-45. You got a line on one, Corey?



  1. my friend has a 1969, j-50 .... 1969... bought from a guy at a pond shop in vancouver this year ... sounds awesome ....

  2. that j-50 i believe is for sale too ... i am looking for a buy for my 2008 d18v. peter.joe.bernard@lennoxisland.com