1999 Martin SWD Smartwood Dreadnought Guitar




Dang, this guitar is now old enough to drink legally if it could. I remember being a high-school guitarist and curious about Martin's Smartwood guitars at the time -- when they were still relatively fresh offerings. The wood is sustainable and it's pretty, too. This fella is basically a same-period D-16 in design but features solid cherry for the back, sides, and neck. The top is sitka spruce and the fretboard and bridge are katalox. Does it still sound like a D-18? Well -- yes, it sounds a lot like one. And -- no!

It's its own dreadnought, but to sum-up the sound I'd say these sound like a "more direct" and "woodier" D-18 voice. It's sort of like a mix of maple-mahogany or maybe birch-mahogany in the voice rather than... mahogany. They tend towards warmth and a focus on the fundamentals instead of ringing overtones. They always have good volume, a folksy/singer-songwriter vibe to the tone, and the tortoise trim looks fantastic. They're understated instruments, for sure.

This one arrived here for consignment with almost nothing needing to be done and after a "glorified setup" it's playing on-the-dot, with fast action and a quick feel. These have that modern, "low oval" neck profile that's pretty familiar to most electric guitarists these days.

One extra note: this is the earlier, SWD version of this guitar and has a satin top finish. Most of these Smartwood dreadnoughts I've seen feature a gloss top and the SWDGT designation. Personally, with the back and sides satin, I like to see a satin top as well, so to me that's a plus.

Repairs included: a very light fret level/dress, restring, and setup.

Setup notes: the neck is straight, the truss rod works as it should, and action is spot-on at 3/32" EA and 1/16"DGBE string height at the 12th fret. String gauges are standard 54w-12.

Scale length: 25 3/8"
Nut width: 1 11/16"
String spacing at nut: 1 7/16"
String spacing at bridge: 2 1/8"
Body length: 20"
Lower bout width: 15 5/8"
Waist width: 10 7/8"
Upper bout width: 11 1/2"
Side depth at endpin: 4 7/8"
Top wood: solid spruce
Back & sides wood: solid cherry
Bracing type: x-braced
Fretboard: katalox
Bridge: katalox
Neck feel: slim C-shape, ~14" board radius
Neck wood: cherry

Condition notes: this is almost as-new save that there are only the most minor scuffs/scratches here and there on the body and one little "dug-in" light scratch to the back of the neck near the heel (it's pictured). It looks near-mint save for these and the fact that its top has aged to a nice, buttery color. I know it was played enough to get the frets lightly-worn in first position before a level/dress job, but it's been cared-for. 

It comes with: its original hard case -- in good order but with some use-wear, scuffs, and scratches on the outside.



















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