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1948 Martin D-18 Vintage Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar w/ Case


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Up for sale, a 1948 Martin D-18 dreadnought acoustic guitar in exceptional condition. This Post-War Martin has received all the maintenance due an acoustic of this vintage including a carved bone nut and saddle and a professional neck reset. Tonewoods include a solid X-braced Sitka spruce top and Honduran mahogany back and sides, with a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard and bridge, and the original small maple bridge plate, delivering a traditional Martin dreadnought tonal profile.

The guitar offers Martin’s piano-like clarity and strings string-to-string balance, with a rich percussive cut and plenty of muscle and kick in the bass register. Even the most delicate strum yields an extremely broad, nuanced and lively sound, and this dreadnought is exceedingly responsive to picking dynamics. The wound strings have a notable amount of treble detail, with very little compression and a high volume ceiling when digging in hard with a flatpick. We simply can’t heap enough superlatives on this remarkable Martin, and its enhanced definition compared to most dreadnoughts ensures its quite sympathetic to fingerpicking too. This Martin D-18 is featherweight at 4lbs 1oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with 12-53 strings, easy-playing action and optimal intonation.

The mahogany neck has a prominent V-shaped profile carve with rolled fretboard edges and a substantial, inviting feel, measuring .875" deep at the 1st fret and 1.010" at the 9th. The Brazilian rosewood fretboard has been professionally refretted in the guitar's lifetime, and the new slender fretwire has well-rounded crowns, showing virtually no wear. The guitar plays cleanly up the 25.4" scale length, and an upgraded 1 11/16" wide hand-carved bone nut ensures ideal note clarity and sustain. The headstock features a Brazilian rosewood veneer on the face, with a vintage, yet replaced gold Martin decal with faint lacquer checking over the decal. The original set of open-gear tuning machines turn smoothly and hold pitch as intended with notably clean nickel plating. There is also microscopic “Made in USA” text stamped on the back of the headstock, indicative of an instrument originally sold in an international market.

The rosewood bridge is a vintage replacement, carved from the same material as the original (Brazilian rosewood), sitting flush with the top on all edges and fitted with a tall carved and compensated bone saddle. The original small maple bridge plate is retained, fitted with an additional 1/16" maple helper plate. The saddle has good height given the neck reset, ensuring optimal playability for decades to come. The original transparent brown tortoise guard sits flush with the top on all edges.

The original gloss nitro lacquer finish exhibits prominent strum wear extending above the soundhole and beyond the edge of the pickguard, and there is limited overspray on top, mostly relegated to the treble side and adjacent to the bridge. There is very tight, prominent lacquer checking on top, with sparser checking on the back and sides, and two small areas of targeted touchup on the mahogany rims on the upper bout. There are remarkably few cracks on the instrument, with a very slight cleated split to the treble side of the center seam on the back, and two additional minor repairs on the treble-side mahogany rim, all of which have been professionally and cleanly addressed. Additional cosmetic wear includes buckle rash central to the back and on the treble-side lower bout, and various dings and finish scratches consistent with honest use on the body as a whole. The finish on the neck profile has a silky smooth heel, mostly worn through the original gloss down to the smooth bare mahogany and very faintly oversprayed in its lifetime.

A modern black tolex hardshell case is included.