C. F. Martin D-18 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1966)

C. F. Martin  D-18 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1966)
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Item # 9800
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C. F. Martin D-18 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1966), made in Nazareth, PA, serial # 209076, natural lacquer finish, mahogany back, sides and neck; spruce top, rosewood fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

This is a fine-sounding D-18 built in early 1966, as a time when Martin's Dreadnought flat tops were steadily increasing in popularity. This trend that would peak in the early 70's, with the singer-songwriter boom. Earlier in the 1960s the mahogany D-18 and its pricier rosewood sister the D-28 were practically the emblems of the Folk revival, thanks in large part to the Kingston Trio. As the decade went on the Martin Dreadnought became- and remained ever since- the acoustic guitar of choice for serious pickers of just about every persuasion.

This D-18 has appointments typical of 1965-6, just before Martin made a number of changes to the instrument thought to diminish its vintage character. The pickguard and binding are tortoise celluloid, soon to be changed to black plastic. The rosewood bridge has the short saddle recently introduced but rests over the traditional small maple bridgeplate, replaced a couple of years later with a much larger rosewood piece. The original tuners are "Patent Pending" Grover Rotomatics, a new fitting on this model at the time. The headstock's "rounded" corners are characteristic of this period, the result of Martin's shaping templates having become worn from extensive use.

Martin records indicate 1,126 D-18s were shipped in 1965; the next year that total nearly doubled to 2176. At $270 (plus case) in early 1966 this guitar represented a serious professional level investment, but it was the ambition of a vast number of aspiring flat-top players to own one. From its introduction in the early 1930s on, the D-18 has been a workhorse for country, gospel, folk, and other forms of American vernacular music and in the '60's this sonic palette only expanded. This D-18 sings with a powerful, bright and clear sound, and is an excellent instrument for just about any flat-top application.
Overall length is 40 3/4 in. (103.5 cm.), 15 3/4 in. (40 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 4 15/16 in. (12.5 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

Overall this 55 year old D-18 shows only very minor wear overall and remains in structurally fine shape with one notable repair. The finish remains original with some very minor touch up, the top shows some light checking but very little pickwear at all. The back and sides are also very clean showing some tiny dings and scrapes. The back of the neck is very clean with hardly any wear.

There are no cracks to the body except for a tiny split off the lower center back seam that does not even go through the backstrip. The one visible repair is a lateral split in the bass side of the headstock through the E and A tuner holes; this did not go through the entire headstock. It is likely the result of an impact on the area long ago. This has been very cleanly and solidly repaired and not overly conspicuous, and presents no structural issues.

The neck has been very neatly reset, there is plenty of saddle and this is a truly excellent playing and sounding D-18. The bridge is original as is the bridgeplate, only the saddle has been replaced. The fingerboard and original frets are very well preserved showing very little wear. Apart from the headstock mishap long ago this is a very well cared for guitar, and it remains in an original or at least period HSC, a lovely package of 1960's Martin goodness. Overall Excellent - Condition.