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This is one of the very last Scallop Braced D-18s made in 1944 and it is nothing short of Magical. This is the kind of vintage Martin Dread that pro, hobbyist and collector all dream about. It has its share of wear but has been well maintained including a recent neck reset, refret and setup so it's ready for another 79 years of making music. What a guitar indeed!! Going by the SN # only some 80 more Martin guitars were built after this with the same specs.
Let's talk about some of the modifications that we detect were done to this guitar. It's likely that it's visual appearance has already got some of you intrigued and also tipped off some of the work done. It's obvious to us here that this guitar was extremely loved by the previous owner, and the likely reason for the added embellishments. Of course the bird and flowers inlay seen on the fingerboard, and bridge was not something offered by Martin and was done sometime later on in the life of the guitar. The craftsmanship and detail is exquisite, and done by a talented luthier. The fingerboard does not appear to have been removed/ or replaced at anytime, instead what we believe is that is was sanded or lightly planed which is giving it that "fresh" appears with less wear than the rest of the guitar, we believe this to be the same about the bridge as well. The frets appear to have been recently replaced, and the lack of visual playwear on the the fingerboard and frets would have us to speculate the work done on those were likely performed at the same time. Non original (but authentic vintage) waffle back tuners are currently installed, these tuners were common place on Martin guitars in the 50's. They appear to have been on this guitar for many decades, and were an upgrade done some 7 decades or so ago. Another noted modification would be the abalone rosette adorning the sound hole, which appears to have been done some ago, but again, the hands who did the work were quite skilled. As stated before, it's obvious that this guitar was very loved and no expense was spared when it came to getting the work done.
This guitar was in need of a neck reset to be 100% playable again, and that work was done right here at our shop in southern California. We are a brick and mortar repair shop, as well we are Martin repair certified, and have been for about the last 15 years years. We can assure you the neck reset was done properly and professionally. This guitar has no detectable issues that we can find, she's ready to find a new home and be played and enjoyed for many, many, years with nothing but an occasional setup.
Upon our inspection of the internal bracing we noticed a label placed on the underneath of the soundboard only visible with a mirror and flashlight (see last photo) The label reads "The Blue Guitar" then an address of 3233 Midway Dr. in San Diego, then a phone number ending in 1484, underneath that script I believe it says "Edward L. Douglas, Owner 11-21-6X". After some internet sleuthing we found that unfortunately The Blue Guitar has permanently closed their operation.... such a shame to see and hear about another mom and pop type guitar shop shut down and close their doors!! We were able to reach out and make contact with last owner/ operator of that shop and he was nice enough to share with us that name on the label was original owner of The Blue Guitar whom he purchased the shop from. We inquired if any of the inlay, fingerboard, bridge, etc work was performed there and if he could add any background information for us to share, and we haven't heard back yet. We hope all is fine, and he just got busy, should we hear any new information we will add it to this listing about this stunning Martin D-18!!
Many of us guitar players grew up listening to pre-war Martins, so they hold a special place in the hearts of players. With icons like Hank Williams, Tony Rice, Bob Dylan, and more playing them, it is no surprise that they are highly sought after. These guitars represent a peak of Martin's guitar making. The attention to detail and ornamentation on these guitars is unmatched. there is just something special about pre-war Martin guitars. It's hard to put into words, but but by all accounts there is something magical about picking up a 1930's- early 40's Martin and strumming a chord... whether it's the bracing, the materials, or something else entirely, these guitars have "it." This is a guitar that was played and played, and played but not abused. She has the power and depth of a finely built dreadnought combined with the sweetness, sparkle, and singing character of the best pre war era mahogany Martins in a magical mix, an exceptionally versatile flat-top guitar suited to practically any musical situation, she's wonderful to play with the expected and absolutely splendid sound captured in spades!! Non original hard case included.
Thanks for checking out this listing... If you have any questions or inquires please don't hesitate to ask. We hope you have a great day! Feel free to message us anytime with any questions.... requests for more photos... a video....etc. **International buyers, and also CONUS buyers should message us for more accurate shipping rates to their country or location in the USA, we are happy to accommodate all fellow guitar/music lovers around the 🌎 globe**