Today we celebrate Halloween with Martin’s Style 18
Scary good guitars at shocking good prices!
As the golden October afternoons are spirited away and replaced by the spooky, spine-chilling nights of a dark and blustery November, we are reminded of how the cheerful voice of a Style 18 Martin guitar is as bright, clear, and pretty as a sunny Sunday in Spring Time. It is the perfect musical tonic for the soul this time of year, as the days grow dark, the nights grow long, and the winter blues approach.
The fact you are reading this means you may be considering getting yourself a new guitar. And the fact you came to Maury’s Music means you are looking at Martins. And that says you are of above average intelligence, with excellent taste, and on the right path to happiness, because more people own a Martin or wish they could own a Martin than any other brand of acoustic guitar.
But we also know how easy it can be to get lost among that vast and woody forest of Martin models - all those shapes, and sizes, and styles, oh my! Never fear; Maury is here to guide you safely through with some words of sage advice. “Why not make it easy on yourself and get a classic 18?”
Beautiful solid Genuine Mahogany back and sides, a solid spruce top, and solid black ebony fretboard and bridge that add up to one of the most popular tonewood combinations of all-time. And then there are the timeless, tasteful appointments and the vintage-style scalloped bracing that optimize sonic resonance and responsiveness. From the angelic little 0-18 to the powerhouse D-18, Style 18 offers truly professional-level Martins at the most affordable prices in their class.
And right along with the best and most coveted Martins ever made, each Style 18 guitar is constructed with a traditional, hand-fitted dovetail neck joint and solid mahogany neck blocks, for ideal energy transference between the neck and body, producing the violin-like purity to the notes that define that legendary Martin tone.
And all those exquisite tonewoods are finished with a thin yet protective layer of nitrocellulose lacquer that will age right along with the guitar, allowing the top, back and sides to breathe and season though countless years of strumming and picking, and sounding better and better, happily ever after.
And each Style 18 Martin comes with a sturdy hard shell case.
Tiers for Fears
This Halloween there is no reason to be afraid of not finding a professional-level mahogany Martin Dreadnought to fit your budget or your persnickety tastes! A unique D-18 can be found in the lofty Authentic Series, the aptly named Modern Deluxe Series, and the Standard Series of professional level guitars that set the standard to which all other brands of guitar must compare. And each version has its own shape to the long-scale Dreadnought neck, and each is built with its own specific scalloped, forward-shifted bracing pattern.
When it comes to non-Dreadnought Martins, a traditional short-scale 000-18, 00-18, and 0-18 are also available in the Standard Series, which offers something for just about every lover of Genuine Mahogany guitars.
All Standard Style 18 Martins combine tradition and innovation by bringing together the coveted tone of vintage-style scalloped braces, with Martin’s contemporary High Performance neck, which is designed for hand comfort, ease of playing, and exceptional versatility for different musical styles.
One of the most enduring and popular musical instruments ever created by anyone anywhere is the Martin D-18, and for good reason. First, there is its Dreadnought body size, which is the most copied acoustic guitar design in history. It makes for a big and exceptionally impressive voice with a wide dynamic range. And the forward-shifted, scalloped bracing of the D-18 provides a deep, full-bodied bottom end that is so satisfying! It’s like having your own bass player built right in.
And then there is the solid Genuine Mahogany used for the back and sides, topped with a solid spruce soundboard, one of the most popular tonewood combinations ever devised. The quintessential mahogany dreadnought, a Martin D-18 creates a perfect combination of pure, singing notes backed by a woody tonal coloring that adds presence and substance from deep in the big, round, Dreadnought bass, up through the punchy, projecting mid-range notes, and those pristine trebles, for an overall voice that never sounds muddy or boomy - just powerful and pretty, clear and open, with high-end brilliance and woody warmth in the bottom end.
No matter the era or genre, a D-18 has been there, playing the soundtrack of American music, from the Country picking of Doc Watson and Kris Kristofferson, to the mellow acoustic ballads of Jerry Garcia and Gordon Lightfoot, to the immortal Rock n Roll of Elvis Presley and Kurt Cobain. The Martin D-18 is as much a classic today as it's ever been all these many decades.
The other Style 18 model that has been around just as long as the D-18 is the Auditorium size 000-18. It started as the most popular 12-fret 000 of the early twentieth century. When it was converted to the modern 14-fret design in 1934, it quickly became the most-popular non-dreadnought Martin.
The 000-18 sort of got lost in the catalog for a while there, with all those many new models that came out since the 1990s. But its popularity exploded a few years back, when Martin gave it a short-scale version of their new High Performance neck and converted it to pre-war Martin features like scalloped bracing that frees up the top to be as projecting and expressive as possible.
Just like the 000-18 played by Woody Guthrie, today’s 000-18 has wonderful string to string balance, without the bulk or bass-heavy bottom end of a dreadnought. It has ample volume for strumming and picking, and the short-scale neck leaves a lot of play in the strings, for easy bending during lead guitar solos, while the 1/4" top braces make it ideal for nuanced fingerstyle playing, as it responds to the lightest touch with the loveliest music.
Following the enormous popularity of the updated 000-18, Martin re-introduced the Grand Concert size 00-18. With the same pre-war Style 18 aesthetics and lightweight scalloped bracing, the slightly smaller body size is ideal for smaller guitarists, or those who want a companion guitar for their Dreadnought that is easier to play on a sofa, and much easier to tote around.
Even though Martin stopped making it for a time, when large guitars were all the rage, used 00-18s remained popular with Blues players and other traveling troubadours because it could fit on a luggage rack or a train or strapped to someone’s back. And now a whole new generation of players can have a brand new 00-18 all their own.
By the way, we would never recommend strapping a wonderful Martin 00-18 to your back unprotected from the elements and accidents. But we will say that the weight of a Grand Concert size guitar made with solid Genuine Mahogany weighs so little you will hardly notice it when you are carrying it in a protective gig bag, like the ones we sell right here at Maury’s Music.
Most recently, Martin re-introduced the Concert size 0-18, to meet the demand of a new generation of singer-songwriters who looking for smaller instruments, closer in size to a ukulele, but which was a full-fledged acoustic guitar that won’t sacrifice tone for portability and ease of playing. And when it comes to “travel guitars,” forget about it! There simply isn’t another guitar in its class when it comes to a truly professional level musical instrument at an affordable price that offers true, traditional Martin tone, in such a petite size.
The Martins made in Style 18 are the real deal, while having the benefit of being the most affordable members of Martin’s Standard Series. It’s a no -brainer, really, given Style 18’s track record for excellent instruments with a long tradition of quality and tasteful appointments, no matter which body size you prefer.
And that’s not all! Maury’s Music currently has in stock Martin Custom Shop models made in 18 styling, and built with OM and 0000 sizes, as well as OM, 000, and 00 sizes that have beautiful sunburst tops. Check out our Martin Style 18 Custom Shop guitars here!
D-18 Modern Deluxe – Otherworldly Tone
There are so many space-age upgrades the D-18 Modern Deluxe one might be tempted to suspect a mad scientist was involved in its creation. Between the deluxe appointments and the latest in cutting edge technology, its crazy good, in a back to the future sort of way.
Actually, it was the senior instrument designers at C. F. Martin & Co. that dissected and investigated every aspect of the Standard Series D-18, to see what might benefit from a renovation or even a re-invention. The results have to be experienced to fully appreciate.
The Modern Deluxe Series instruments are the first regularly produced Martins to have a Sitka spruce soundboard treated to Martin’s Vintage Tone System of wood torrefaction, which changes the molecular structure so it behaves in a manner similar to wood that has seasoned for many decades. The VTS treatment makes for a voice that sounds open, deep, and fully resonant right out of the box. No more waiting years for a guitar to open up!
The forward-shifted, scalloped bracing is made from Adirondack spruce that has been carved in the Golden Era style, so that it has more wood removed than Standard Series bracing for even more responsiveness. And it too has received the VTS treatment, making this the first D-18 model with torrefied bracing outside of the Authentic Series of vintage Martin reproductions.
Furthermore, the bracing has been attached using natural protein glues for a superior bond to better transfer sound-producing energy from the braces to the top. And that energy gets a boost from the use of a special bridge late that is made from a piece of VTS Adirondack spruce protected inside a sandwich of thing carbon fiber plates, and bridge pins made of Liquidmetal, an exotic type of metallic glass. Together these features insure that much more energy from the strings makes it to the sound-creating engine of the tonewood body than was ever before possible on traditional acoustic guitars.
The neck on the D-18 Modern Deluxe is also revolutionary. This one-piece Genuine Mahogany neck has Martin’s new Vintage Deluxe Profile, with a “skewed” shaping that adjusts the highest point at the back of the neck to the palm of the hand as it moves up the frets. It is closely based on a 1930 OM-45 Deluxe that many say is the most comfortable Martin neck ever carved. But unlike vintage Martins, it remains quite shallow and easy to grip all the way up to the heel, and it has their High Performance Taper like the Standard D-18. But the solid ebony fretboard has the same vintage depth of the Authentic Series Martins, and beneath is a two-way adjustable truss rod made from titanium, so it is lighter than steel, which allows the guitar to feel as light in weight in the hand as a pre-war D-18!
As for Deluxe appointments, how about rosewood bindings? Wood fiber inlays? Golden EVO frets that last longer than normal frets? Matching golden Waverly tuners? And stunning abalone pearl used for the fret markers and the inlaid script logo on the rosewood headstock face plate? Even the side dots on the fingerboard are abalone!
This is one beautiful beast, to say the least.
D-18 Authentic 1939 – Monstrous Tone Brought Back from the Grave
To resurrect this living, singing being from the 1930s, Martin took an exceptionally well preserved 1939 D-18 and subjected it to minute study that required the use of X-ray and CAT Scan machines at the Smithsonian Institute to delve into its inner most secrets to bring it back to glorious life.
The specially trained veteran craftsmen and crafts women of Martin’s custom shop build each D-18 Authentic 1939 from hand, with tucked bracing and bridge plate that are identical to the specific guitar they are recreating. They use traditional hot hide glue for all joinery. The beautiful Adirondack spruce soundboard is planed to prewar thickness, as is are ebony fretboard and bridge. The mahogany neck block, back bracing, bridge plate, are all just like a pre-war Martin. And the beautiful, woody, clean, clear tone of the Genuine Mahogany back and sides just flies out of the barn door thanks to the Vintage Tone System treatment to the Adirondack spruce top and bracing.
The 1-11/16” neck has V shape that is as exact a copy of the one on the specific 1939 D-18 as possible. It is not as beefy as many pre-war Dreadnought necks, but it has plenty of meat in the upper frets to insure that the vintage T-Bar neck reinforcement is more than enough to keep the neck straight for many decades, while allowing the wood to vibrate freely and contribute to more energy to the tone-producing body via the traditional hand-fitted dovetail neck joint and thin ebony fretboard extension glued to the top.
And the finish is as thin as a pre-war Martin, with the same level of gloss to the shine, and that thinner finish allows the guitar to radiate with tone from the lightest picking to the hardest strumming.
There are various boutique luthiers out there making mahogany dreadnoughts for a lot of money, who claim they sound just like a Martin. Well the D-18 Authentic 1939 is a Martin, and it is made with insider information only known to the world-class builders at Martin. And although it is more expensive than other D-18s sold by Martin, it is an absolute bargain for what you get in quality of wood, materials, craftsmanship, artistry, and especially tone. Down to its back from the grave bones!
D-18 Authentic 1939 Aged – Pre-War Spirt of Haunting Beauty
The amazing D-18 in the Authentic Series is also available in the exclusive Aged version, which features hand-distressed cosmetic wear so it not only feels and plays and sounds like a pre-war D-18, it looks just like one too!
The work has to be seen to be believed. It is so subtle and tastefully done, using guidelines developed by a senior Martin executive who had years of hands-on experience making “relic” models in custom shops across America, he and his trained artisans now apply techniques developed at Martin to physically distress each guitar inside and out, to render the Aged version so its visually indistinguishable from an actual pre-war Martin.
Exorcise all fears and frights of Halloween nights as you exercise your right to Genuine Mahogany tone, with a genuine Martin guitar made in classic Style 18. No matter your budget, your new D-18, 000-18, 00-18, and 0-18 is in reach and at the best prices in America, right here at Maury’s Music!