2/23/2018

1971 Martin D-18 Dreadnought Guitar




I feel like I've worked on an inordinate amount of 1971 D-18s in the last few years, and this one is among the better grouping of the ones I've played. It has that dry, woody, forward-punch sound to it even while wearing the "dainty" 54w-12 set I've strung it with. The bigger, rosewood bridge plate found on this era of Martin does not seem to be inhibiting the sound on this'n.

1970s Martins are often said to have tonal or playability issues and many do -- some can sound "stuffed-up" due to over-eager heavy bracing, lots have the bridge glued in the wrong place, and sometimes you find that despite non-adjustable steel rods in the necks, the necks have warped a bit over time. Fortunately, this guitar has only that last one and only a tiny bit of it -- said "warp" is under 1/32" overall and so I was able to set this up on-the-dot with 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret.

A customer brought this in for a setup and told me to "do anything else that needs doing." That meant lightly shaving the bridge and string-ramping behind the saddle slot (the bridge had a top coat of finish schlopped on it anyway), a bridge-pin hole fill/redrill job, and properly cleating a top crack to the treble side of the pickguard that'd been "repaired" before but had opened-up. It's almost but not quite due for a fret level/dress, too, but it's good to go for the moment.


How about that figure in the spruce top? Lovely stuff...


While I generally object to the weight of Grovers, these ones are in good order and not worn-out as I tend to find them from this age.







The mahogany back on this guitar fairly glows in the sunlight.



The owner installed the strap button many years ago and also the reinforcement for it, too.



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