Re-topped, re-necked 1988 Martin D-18

Blue Willy

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Registered: April 2013
Location: Rural Northern California
Posts: 116
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I wasn't quite sure whether to post this under Martin guitars or "Handmade Unique"'s the story. This guitar was salvaged from an "irreparable" smashed D-18. My luthier friend, John Battit, never considers a guitar not salvageable. The only original parts are the back and sides. There are 13 repaired and cleated cracks in the treble side of the back. The guitar was re-topped with a D-28 style rosette. The neck is new as well. The guitar has an ebony fingerboard and bridge. The guitar is the loudest Martin I have ever had the pleasure of playing. One of my friends has a '39 D-18 and my guitar sounds very similar though quite a bit louder. If one looks at the photo one can see what appears to be a rainbow shape just forward of the bridge. This effect is because of a wave in the top grain at this point. John says that this bend in the top grain stiffens the top in the area of the bridge causing the entire top to be driven by the bridge which accounts for the very loud volume of the instrument. The lipstick tube mag pickup sounded very nice though it was necessary to string the guitar with electric strings to get even string response. I have since replaced this pickup with a vintage DeArmond Model 200 pickup which has a volume control and individually adjustable polepieces. My personal opinion of the De Armond is that it is the finest sounding magnetic pickup for flat top guitars that I have ever come across. I'll post another pic of this guitar with the DeArmond in place when I get around to taking one.
· Date: Mon April 22, 2013 · Views: 3818 ·
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