The Martin D-18 has been one of the more popular choices as an acoustic steel-string guitar for players who look for power and projection. From its inception in the early 1930s, through 8 decades, it remains the standard for which all other dreadnought acoustic guitars are measured. The timeless dreadnought body features a Sitka Spruce with top scalloped top bracing with forward-shifted X brace, tortoise binding, delmar tortoise pickguard. The back and sides are constructed from solid mahogany, giving you that classic tonewood combination.
The necks of the more traditional D-18 have been known to be on the thicker side. The Martin D-18E has incorporated a more modern, slimmer neck profile. The slim nut width and tapered profile facilitates easier and faster single note lead playing; which will appeal greatly to those who are more accustomed to playing electric guitars with thin necks. The rosewood bridge also features wider string spacing; which enhances picking hand comfort.
The D-18E is a solidly build guitar that has a full and rich tone. Its sides are made of solid mahogany, and it has a solid spruce top. The fretboard is made from rosewood and the neck joins the body at the 14th fret.
The CF Martin D-18E also features the easy to operate Fishman F1 Aura Plus electronics system that features an “Easy Mode” with three pre-blended mic/pickup presets and “Performance Mode”, which allows you to manually shape your tone. The presets have Sound patches that were created using a vintage 1937 D-18 played through various vintage and boutique microphones. Pickup system includes with convenient side mounted volume and tone controls. The D-18E is the guitar you want if you are looking for the traditional, big Martin sound and the playability, ease and comfort of today’s designs. Chrome hardware includes vintage style open-gear nickel ‘butterbean’ tuners. A protective Martin Hardshell Case is included.
Order your Martin D-18E Acoustic Guitar from Sam Ash Direct today with the security of our 45/60 day return/price protection policy, and be sure to take advantage of our fast, free shipping.
Martin D-18E Retro Series Acoustic-Electric Guitar Features
• Solid sitka spruce top
• Solid genuine mahogany back and sides
• Dovetail neck joint
• Select hardwood neck
• Solid black ebony fingerboard
• 20 frets
• Old Style 18 green abalone fingerboard inlays
• 25.4" scale
• Solid black ebony 1930's style Belly bridge
• Compensated white tusq saddle
• Bone nut
• Nickel open gear tuners with butterbean knobs
• Fishman F1 Aura Plus electronics
• Tortoise color pickguard
• Natural finish
• Hardshell case included
For their Retro series, Martin selected a handful of prime specimens from the Martin Museum and analyzed them, looking for ways they could be improved while retaining the essence of their vintage goodness. The result is a distinctly vintage-looking D-18 with a smooth-playing high-performance neck and superb Fishman F1 Aura Plus electronics. A dreadnought that plays like butter, projects like a cannon, and records beautifully — the ultimate D-18? For many of us Martin fanciers here at AudioShop, the D-18E Retro is just that.
To the D-18's classic Sitka spruce top and mahogany back and sides, Martin added a new, sleeker-profile neck with a Modified Low Oval profile and Performing Artist taper. Martin also tapped the talent of Larry Fishman — the legendary acoustic guitar pickup designer — to capture the sonic essence of the classic instruments using vintage mics, essentially "bottling" the sound. So when you plug in your D-18E Retro, you get the unmistakable sonics of a golden-era D-18.
Vintage Tones, Unplugged
The sound of an acoustic guitar is the sum of a number of factors, each significant in their own way. The wood used for the top, back, and sides all impact the tone, as do the neck wood and fingerboard. Martin chose to faithfully mimic the tonewoods used on the original models, though they did opt for more ecologically sound choices than the vintage guitars used (substituting East Indian rosewood for Brazilian rosewood, for example).
The physics of acoustic guitars tell us that the style and positioning of the internal braces play a large part in the overall sound. To make sure these Retro series guitars sound just like their vintage brethren, Martin resorted to the same forward-shifted scalloped X-bracing used in their vintage counterparts. By scalloping the bracing, the top is allowed to vibrate more freely, providing a warmer bass response. Scalloped bracing along with forward-shifted bracing also creates more volume than standard scalloped bracing.
Rounding out the vintage vibe is the lack of a cutaway, despite these guitars all being equipped with Fishman pickup systems for awesome onstage sound. Purists will love the look, and the neck is so comfortable, you won't miss the cutaway at all — but more on the neck in a minute.
Vintage Tones, Plugged
That's a rundown of the "retro" side of the Retro series, so let's take a look at what Martin tweaked to meet the demands of today's player. The first time you pick up a Retro series guitar, you'll notice the neck. It's slimmer, more comfortable, and built for incredible playability. Martin equipped these beauties with the Modified Low Oval profile with a Performing Artist neck taper, giving you a comfy feel that is equally suited for rhythm playing or higher-fret runs. Whether you're onstage or in your living room, you'll love the way you can effortlessly cruise up and down the neck. Acoustic players will find it familiar, but electric players will be right at home on it, as well.
But the neck isn't the only thing drawing from modern inspirations. The Fishman F1 Aura system is both unobtrusive and incredible. The F1 Aura Plus gives you the option of using the under-saddle pickup, a variety of modeled acoustic sounds, or a blend of both, on top of onboard EQ, feedback suppression, and compression.
Modeled, you say? It's not what you think! These models aren't conjured in a lab; they're sonic re-creations of real vintage Martin guitars from the hallowed halls of the Martin Guitar Museum. A vintage version of each model was meticulously miked up using only the finest studio gear, and then reproduced inside the F1 Aura Plus system.
The Aura system defaults to Easy Mode, which gives you the choice of three image presets and a built-in tuner (the tuner can also be used when the guitar isn't plugged in, super handy for strumming around the house!). When you enter Performance Mode, you have access to six more images, along with the aforementioned EQ, feedback suppression, and compression. This may seem like a lot of extras for a purist, but we put these through their paces here at AudioShop, and believe us, they meet our excruciatingly high standards.
Martin-standard Dovetail Neck Joint
Like the originals, the Retro series guitars come standard with the classic dovetail neck joint. Lightweight and sturdy, the dovetail joint is the go-to construction methodology for Martin guitars, as the area of direct wood-to-wood contact is increased. The thinking is that the increased contact provides better tonal transfer between the neck and body. Martin has done it like this forever, and there's no reason to fix what's not broke.
The mechanics of the standard dovetail neck joint dictate that merely fitting the neck to the body and stringing up the guitar should provide more than enough strength to hold the neck to the body. But to make sure every Retro series Martin (or any other Martin for that matter) is built to last a lifetime, the neck joints are thoroughly glued for maximum structural integrity.
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