SN 132448: Friends, here is an exceptional playing and powerful sounding D-18 that falls into a group of guitars in 1953 known as the “mystery tops”. We know that in 1946 Martin switched from Red spruce tops to Sitka but we find examples of other woods being used for short periods, notably in 1953. The “mystery top” aficionados speculate that tops from this brief era were made either from Engelmann, Alpine or Adirondack spruce. A recent book by Greig Hutton may have solved the “mystery” once and for all as Martin’s ledgers do indeed show batches of “eastern” spruce purchased at high prices during 1953.
This is a splendid instrument in every way. This top strongly resembles a very fine grained Adirondack spruce and it most certainly is not Sitka. The condition is exceptional – clean but played on the outside, clean as a whistle and all original in the sound chamber. There are no cracks and the finish is 100% original still quite bright and shiny. The back has some buckle scratches but not the rash. The bridge, an exact repro by Mark Tossman, has been replaced as have saddle and frets. The neck angle is dead solid perfect and it plays very smoothly up and down the neck.
The neck is 1-11/16th” at the nut with a rather chunky profile and soft V. String spacing at the bridge is 2-1/8”. Tuners are the original closed-back Kluson’s with the lube hole that are still working very well. The top trim is typical b/w with faux-tortoise shell binding top and bottom. The rosette is also the b/w study in elegant simplicity. The pickguard is a dense tortoise with some reddish hues to the see-through part. The top shows one area of shallow case bite, a few pick scratches and the fine checking of a vintage instrument that has been well cared for.
The sonic presence of this guitar is rich. The clarity and overtones make this perfect for bluegrass leads, hammers and pulls, bass runs or just strumming and singing. It’s as satisfying as any exceptional D-18 I’ve played without the monetary outlay for a prewar or wartime rig. It ships in a good quality newer hardshell case.
Band & Sides: Mahogany
Bridge & Fretboard: Rosewood
Appointments: Large dots 5, 7, 9, 15; double dots 12
Nut width: 1-11/16”
String spacing: 2-1/8”
Body width: 15-5/8”
Scale length: 25.4”
Payment is by personal check or money order. Payment in full, including shipping and insurance, is required before shipment. Personal checks must clear your bank. Please specify preferred shipping method when you order the instrument and we will calculate the exact price for you.
We represent the instruments as accurately as we can. All instruments are shipped on 48-hour approval. If there is damage as a result of the shipping, please contact us immediately and we will deal with the insurance company. If the instrument is damaged in transit from you to me, then you are responsible for dealing with the damage and insurance. For refunds, all instruments must be returned in the same condition as we shipped them in.
All instruments are shipped on 48-hour approval. If there is damage as a result of the shipping, please contact us immediately and we will deal with the insurance company. If the instrument is damaged in transit from you to me, then you are responsible for dealing with the damage and insurance. For refunds, all instruments must be returned in the same condition as we shipped them in.