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Interesting news from Martin on the 'new' D-18


EuroAussie

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I read with interest today that Martin now issues standard D-18's with forward shifted scalloped bracing and a 1 3/4 nut, or in other words same specs as a D-18v but with a 1 3/4 nut width. However keeping the standard D-18 pricing. This is a massive move on their part after over 100 years of keeping the specs same. i.e straight bracing, 1 11/ 16 nut width.

 

D-18v and D-18P have been discontinued.

 

I thought this is interesting and I will be keen to check out this guitar as the D-18 has always been my favourite Martin.

 

Makes me wonder if down the line Gibson with its new 'head luthier' whoever that may be will consider such an approach with a J-45 or HB. Meaning basically offer TV specs on a standard model ?

 

http://www.martinguitar.com/guitars/choosing/guitars.php?p=m&m=D-18

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I am not knowledgeable about it, in that I don't know what spec is what.

 

I had always thought that the scalloped bracing was actually a "vintage" spec, as in something Martin had returned to at some point.

 

I also for some reason had it in my head that "forward shifted" bracing was also a return to a vintage spec?

 

Martin seems pretty good at listing what is what, like in that link, I just have a hard time remembering what is what when it relates to different years/eras and such. BUT...Martin has changed the spec quite a bit over the years.

 

I also prefer the hog ones-and I have a thing for the 000 and OM sizes in Martin.

 

As for vintage spec, WHICH vintage spec would be the "ideal"?

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I wonder if Gibson will offer the Original Jumbo/J 35 as a standard to compete with the D 18 like back in the day :o .

 

I just recently aded a couple guitars to my collection: a J45 and an HD29. I tried the gibson hummingbird, av, songwriter, j45 etc amd martin d18, d18v, d28, hd28, hd28v and d35.

 

I found the d-35 and the d28 very similar to the j45. I wanted something a little different from my new gibson so I went with the hd28. The j45 and d28 were very similar in sound to me.

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I would say they are copying Taylor with their 1 3/4 nut width. The neck width and profile is now based on their performance artist series which if you look from a distance they look identical to Taylor x14 series.

 

I wonder if Martin is copying Gibson specs using an 1 3/4" nut. Wouldn't surprise me at all.

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I wonder if Martin is copying Gibson specs using an 1 3/4" nut. Wouldn't surprise me at all.

 

Martin already has 1 3/4" nuts on some guitars, such as the 000-28 EC. The wider nut with the tapered neck profile is an intriguing combination. That's a guitar I wouldn't mind trying. I've always loved the D-18.

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I wonder if Martin is copying Gibson specs using an 1 3/4" nut. Wouldn't surprise me at all.

 

The 1 3/4" nut was standard on Martin dreads and other models up to 1940.

 

But yeah, stealing ideas from others is a time honored tradition in the guitar building business. In the late 1940s or early 1950s, the guys who ran Gibson, Martin, Gretsch, National, Kay, and other companies formed a club. They invited Leo Fender to join. He refused because he was afraid others would steal his ideas.

 

In Gibson's past, one of the most noted instances of borrowing from another company occured when Larry Allers, Gibson's chief engineer at the time, decided to make a new guitar that would be a copy a Martin D-style. They actually brought a Martin dread into the shop and started to design a Gibson like it. The efforts resulted first in the 1958 Epiphone Frontier and then in 1960 the Hummingbird.

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By coincidence, I have a new Martin D-21 Special inbound. Part of the reason I went with this model is the 1/3/4" nut, forward-shifted and scalloped 5/16" bracing (like the higher end D-42 , D-41, and HD-28V), and that fact that it has some Gibson-style wooden/tortoise bling.

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Good move by Martin. Their HD-28 and D 40 (something, 40, 45, 41?) I’veplayed were impressive guitars. But the couple D-18s I’ve played have been disappointing.This partly due to the fact I’m expecting them to sound like my j45. The D=18that did sound good was a POW special run with scalloped bracing. I’m sure theimprovements on the new D-18 will be well received. Having said that, it wouldtake quite a bit to dissuade me from my opinion that nobody makes a hog likeGibson.

 

chasAK

 

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This is a massive move on their part after over 100 years of keeping the specs same. i.e straight bracing, 1 11/ 16 nut width.

 

As with most guitars, I think the specs on the D-18 have changed at various times over the years. I'd say the new standard model is closer to the originals than the old one was.

 

 

IMakes me wonder if down the line Gibson with its new 'head luthier' whoever that may be will consider such an approach with a J-45 or HB. Meaning basically offer TV specs on a standard model ?

 

The old standard J-45 with the gold decal logo and small button tuners was pretty nice I thought. I don't care for the newer one with black nut, inlaid logo and giant grover tuners.

 

 

I wonder if Gibson will offer the Original Jumbo/J 35 as a standard to compete with the D 18 like back in the day :o .

 

Good call!

 

 

Very nice move by Martin. I'm impressed.

 

I had the same thought. It's refreshing to see Martin improving and consolidating their standard line. Some companies would just put a matte finish on it and move production to Mexico or Canada.

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Played one of short-18s at Vintage Fret in Ashland. Nothing special to my ear, just a 000 with extra jimmies. Like most Martin hogs, a dominating, rich high end. Not at all like a short scale Gibson. Of course, if you like that, it might be your guitar, but to me its just a wash of sound.

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the couple D-18s I’ve played have been disappointing. I’m expecting them to sound like my j45. The D=18that did sound good was a special run with scalloped bracing.

. The straight braced 18s can be pretty strident, but even the scalloped brace ones are a world apart from Gibson slopes. Gibson's design accentuates the mids, dials the edge off the highs and contains the washy effect hog can have--a carry over from their archtop aesthetic. The Martins have weaker mids, accentuated highs. Pretty single notes, washy chords. Not the first choice for any style where you want some separation. Yet busy as it is, I dont find them a warm vocal pad.
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You really found the J-45 and D-28 similar sounding ? I coldnt imagine two different sounding guitars.

 

I stopped by GC today during lunch just to make sure I was happy choosing the hd28 over the hd28v. I satisfied my curiosity but I did pay attention to the sound of my hd28 compared to the j45. They are different however I still feel the d-35 sounded very similar to the j45. They feel a little different but sound very similar too me. BTW I like them both and am happy I bought a J45 also. I gave had a lot of gas lately. i hope I am finished for awhile. I spent some serious (too me) dough on these geeetarz

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I stuck with 1 11/16" nuts largely because I really like the bridge spacing that goes with it- 2 1/8".

the usual match with 1 3/4" nut is 2 1/4" at the bridge and I find that too wide for flatpicking.

Now comes the new Martin spec 1 3/4 at thenut, 2 3/16 at the bridge and I bet that will work just fine.

I gotta find one to try out.

Good move Martin!

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