1947 Martin D-18

Here is a vintage 1947 Martin D-18 flat top acoustic guitar. This particular example, serial number 99720, is in extremely excellent near mint all original condition. Finding a 65-year-old anything in near pristine shape is unbelievably rare, so you can imagine our delight in being able to offer one of the cleanest vintage Martins, from any era, we’ve ever seen. Though this D-18 just missed the pre-war scalloped bracing feature, is still sounds absolutely i-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-e, and possibly better than most. It is structurally perfect, it plays surprisingly well, and as mentioned in the previous sentence, has a really magically musical tone. Though clearly this guitar is perplexingly preserved, it would be a shame if it didn’t end up with a new owner who admires its sound as much as its beauty, because it truly epitomizes the power and practicality of the Martin D-18. If my experienced words haven’t convince you, then take a brief moment to listen to the hauntingly well-balanced tone in the video to the right of this text field.

This ’47 Martin D-18 features: the original natural lacquer finish, a bound body construction, a two-piece close-grain Sitka spruce top, Honduras mahogany back, sides, and neck with a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard, a Brazilian rosewood headstock overlay/veneer and bridge, original Tortoise pickguard, individual Waverly tuning machines, and a non-original hard shell case.

This Martin D-18 is structurally perfect: no breaks, no cracks, no repairs, no nothing. Not even an infamous pickguard drying crack. Not a single issue.

This is one of the rare Martin specimens to still retain the original bridge saddle in perfect original condition. The factory installed saddle is quite tall, and results in somewhat high action, but it is quite manageable as the original bridge is perfectly attached, there is no bellying of the top, and the neck angle is also completely intact. In other words, if someone were to shave or reduce the saddle, the action would consequently be lowered enough to make the guitar perfectly comfortable to play. The frets are near perfect with slight wear on the first and second frets only. All tuning machines function smoothly, though there is surface oxidation on the plate only.

The guitar sounds amazing. It is beautifully balanced, all strings are perfectly pronounced, and has incredibly structured harmonics. Extremely clear, yet in no way brittle or thin, it represents the absolute best tone Martins have to offer. The warmth and richness of the lower strings prevents frequency distortion and dissonance through sustain. Additionally, the video above was recorded immediately after re-stringing the guitar with Pyramid .011-.050 bronze strings, and it didn’t loose pitch more than a half of a cent. While a D-28 is sometimes offers more warmth to a fault, a D-18 is utterly pure, and it takes a structurally solid vintage example to hear what that entails.

As can be seen in 90 very high resolution photos included in this auction description, this guitar is in incredibly fine cosmetic condition. While bringing attention to whatever slight defects there are might ill-proportionately paint the wrong verbal picture, it is important to disclose even all of the little stuff that keep this example from being absolutely new. Firstly, the original pickguard is lifting slightly in several areas around the perimeter. This is very common, if not expected, yet the guard could easily be affixed back to the top fairly easily. Secondly, there are a couple of scratches on the back, not many, and all of which are visible in the photos. Thirdly, there is some light oxidation on the headstock near the Martin decal. The same environment and climate that caused the original tuners to develop surface oxidation most likely resulted in the aforementioned issue. We have not attempted to remove such with any sort of compound or cleaner, as we assume the new owner would appreciate the opportunity to address it appropriately if need be. Otherwise there is nothing to mention, that is the fine print.

The guitar still has the original bridge pins, which are all in near perfect shape, but the chipboard case has disintegrated long ago. A brand new hard case is included to ensure safety in transit and in storage.

As I frequently discuss in our vintage Martin guitar auctions, the incredibly beautiful tone and superior sound quality, for which Martins have always been appreciated, are the practical reasons for owning such an incredibly crafted instrument. Guaranteed to steadily increase in value, blue chip Martin investments are one of the most obvious purchases guitar enthusiasts, collectors, and players alike should consider.