1966 Martin D-18 Sitka Spruce and Mahogany ID-5921
1966 Martin D-18 Sitka Spruce and Mahogany
It is said that at times during the 50's and 60's, Martin had a 3 year backlog in instrument orders! Nothing else sounded like a Martin and nothing else would do. It was the prestigious guitar to own. This backlog would lead Martin to build their new factory in Nazereth in 1964 where they continue to build today. This 1966 Martin D-18 was built just a few years later and happens to be one of the most tonally balanced D-18s we have come across. The now legendary D-18 design was introduced officially in 1934 and along with the D-28, set the standard by which all guitars would be judged... even to this day.
The D-18 is famous for it's dry, woody sound. Built with Mahogany back and sides and a spruce top. It was famously easy to record and many years after it's introduction would become the quintessential guitar for flatpickers such as Doc Watson and even Clarence White. Even though Clarence made a D-28 famous, he is known for recording with the D-18, as it offered a more direct and balanced tone long before the days of EQ and "fixing it in the mix." Point a good D-18 into a microphone at the right spot and your done!
This particular D-18 has a Sitka Spruce top, which replaced the Adirondack tops of the pre-war guitars. Adirondack was nearly non-existent after the war, since it was used for just about everything due to its strength and rigidity. Sitka Spruce, however, was very plentiful and as it turns out, a very nice tonewood in it's own right!
Sitka Spruce isn't as stiff as Adirondack and has a lower stiffness-to-weight ratio. A positive side-effect of this more flexible soundboard is that it doesn't take near as much strength to produce tone. A player with a lighter attack or even fingerstyle players will find Sitka Spruce much more suited to their playing style. The set of Sitka Spruce on this '66 shows nice grain figuring and has aged beautifully. The trebles are rich with a balanced tone across the spectrum and none of the low-end woofiness that can sometimes plague dreadnought guitars. The fretboard and bridge are Brazilian Rosewood, no doubt contributing to the balanced high-end on this guitar.
This guitar shows numerous dings and scratches, as the detail photographs will demonstrate. The tuners, nut, saddle, and bridge pins were replaced by Dan Lashbrook, though the originals will be included with the guitar. He has also replaced the saddle with a cut-through type. He has also replaced the bridgeplate with what Martin would have used at the time, hardrock, American Maple. All work was done with the understanding that no modification was to be made which could deviate from this vintage instrument's collectability. All modifications are reversible should you choose to do so.
The guitar shows evidence of being refretted and appears to have had a neck reset at some point. The guitar has been refinished and the new finish is aging nicely with finish checking throughout. There is a crack on the side of the guitar near the binding that we cannot see from the inside, pictured. The current frets show significant wear in the first position, nothing a fret dress wouldn't take care of. The original hardshell case is included.
- Shipping Weight: 57
- Serial: 210249
- Top Wood: Sitka Spruce
- Back Wood: Mahogany
- Nut Width: 1 11/16"
- Scale: 25.4"
- Year: 1966
- Inlays: Dots
- Rosette: 18 Style
- Neck Wood: Mahogany
- Fretboard: Brazilian Rosewood
- Nut Material: Bone
- Saddle Material: Bone
- Bridge: Brazilian Rosewood
- Bridge Pins: Ebony
- Tuners: Nickel Waverly with Ebony Buttons
- Purfling: B/W/B/W
- Body Binding: Black
- Pickguard: Tortoise Style
- Headstock Shape: Solid Square
- Headstock Overlay: Rosewood
- Headstock Inlay: Martin Decal
- Frets To Body: 14
- Pickup(s): none
- Case: Original Hardshell Case