3/17/2018

1972 Martin D-18 Dreadnought Guitar




Yet another consignment box, this proud old '72 D-18 turned-out just fine after minor work. It definitely has that crisp-but-sweet, bluegrassy growl and punch. At this point, I feel like I must've worked on almost a dozen '71-'73 D-18s and they're all pretty satisfying when they've been dialed-in. They're not going to be as throaty and punchy as a '50s Martin, but they're getting to the point where the playtime into them has opened them up nicely.

Work on this one included a fret level/dress, cleaning-up an old bridge shave/reshape job gone slightly-astray, bridge pinhole fill/redrill job to get the ball-ends nice and snug at the bridgeplate, a new bone saddle, and a good setup with 54w-12 strings. It plays on-the-dot with 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret. The neck gains just a hair (1/64") of relief tuned to pitch -- which is pretty bog-standard on Martins with non-adjustable truss rods.

The guitar itself has weathered time pretty well -- it shows weather-check and finish cracking (mostly on the top), but only has one repaired hairline crack (small) next to the pickguard and a cleated and filled center-seam reglue job below the bridge on the top. Both are non-obvious. The finish is all-original except for a tiny bit of top-coat that someone applied to blend-in pickwear marks below the soundhole. Aside from the saddle and a strap button at the back of the heel, the guitar is all-original, too.


This guitar specs-out as normal with a solid spruce top, larger '70s-style thin rosewood bridge plate, solid mahogany back, sides, and neck, and rosewood fretboard and bridge. The scale is ~25 5/16" and it has a 1 11/16" nut width. The back of the neck has a mild-to-medium, soft-C profile and the board has a ~14" radius.



The frets still have plenty of life to go on them after the level/dress job.





The saddle slot is drop-in and has a little over 1/16" adjustment room downward for winter/summer saddle swapping.




There's some scritchy-scratch and scuffing on the back from who-knows-what -- belt-buckles or stands? It's in the usual place on the lower bout.










A presumably-original hard, arched-top case comes with it.

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