12/15/2014

1974 Martin D-18 Dreadnought Guitar




Well, what can I say? -- it's a D-18... and it sounds and feels like one. This came in for a fret level/dress, some minor bridge adjustments, and a setup. It also got a new pickguard at the same time (its original black one was curled up). It seems like this was the first fret level/dress done on the instrument as the frets were very pitted. With it all buttoned up and humming, however... it's got that dread sound to a T. Or a D.


The guitar is in great shape save for a pickguard hairline top crack near the high E string. It's located right above bracing and so there's really not much to do or needing to be done about it.


Just a note for users of this type of tuner: you have to tighten up the top hex nuts once in a while. Along with loose tuner buttons this is the #1 reason instruments with these tuners might be unstable in holding pitch.


Being a typical D-18, it has those descendingly-smaller pearl dots on the board, a medium-sized soft-v neck shape and that snappy long scale. Fortunately, because the action is nice on this and it's strung with regular 12s (instead of bluegrass-buddy mediums), the feel is quick and easy.


I added string ramps, lowered the front of the bridge a smidge, and compensated the saddle correctly.


The replacement beveled-edge pickguard turned out to be undersized! A bummer, but this needs to get home fairly soon.


The mahogany back and sides are stained pretty dark on this fella. Oh, 70s Martins.




The neck set is, amazingly, spot on.


Black binding isn't as cool as tortoise but it is practical and anti-flashy.

Despite what folks might say about 70s Martins I've never had trouble with them, really. They're a little "sturdier" than some of the older ones but they also handle "regular working jobs" better than earlier ones for that and they're just coming into their "adult" voices these days.

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