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What is With These Martin D-18 Prices?


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I know it is a while back, but once everyone wanted at the least a D-28 and anyone playing a D-18 would be looked on as the poor cousin, and perhaps the hat would be passed around to help him buy dinner....exaggerating a bit, but...


Everywhere I look lately, there is an early D-18 for sale at $15,000. The couple I have tried over the years were ok, but really 'not much'. I would have said it was worth say, $2,500 max.


So this website below, ie., has on the 2nd row down: a 32 National $4,500, a 34 L-00 $4,995, and then a 36 D-18 $12,500.


3rd row down: 37 National $3995, 40 D-18 $15,000, 45 SJ $7,500, etc etc.


What has happened. Does someone recently famous play D-18s?



Anyway glad I like Gibsons at half the price! Must be the skinflint blood in me.




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I guess 'recently famous' I meant the you know, Justins and stuff.



Here is the incredible Al Petteway playing for Dream Guitars website - firstly a wonderful 38 Martin 000-18:

Look at the video sections:





and then a D-18:




Wonderful guitar playing from Al and he could make my old Kyowa Hummingbird copy sound like angels singing, but the D-18?






I forgot the prices - the 000-18 is going for a cool $10,000 while the D-18 is going for $40,000....




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Hey BK...I love my D18, a '66 that made the cut through years of A-B playoffs. You're bummin' me out. Poorer cuzzin' indeed.


Firewood is running low, however, just ahead of the big snow.








Sorry JZ.



I was looking at the new Martins at a dealer here, and you will be pleased to know that the 'standard' D-18 is the very same price as the 'standard' D-28 and only add $100 for the 'standard' D-35. Move away from the standard and you are in for it!


Until recently, the D-18 appeared pretty scarce in this neck of the woods, maybe the pricing policy above! Everyone taking the 28 or 35 for the same money as the 'poor cuzzin firewood model'.


I tried a 'standard' D-18 at this shop, plus a D-18V. I reckon it would be a very brave person to tell the difference between a new D-18 ('standard') and a standard Hummingbird - well I couldn't.



But anyway, these are a far cry from the ones in my original post for $40,000....




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I think the quick answer to your question is that a lot of people love the prewar D-18 sound and are willing to pay big bucks to get it. It is nothing new. Supply and demand...


For those of us who also happen to like Gibsons, we can still buy the oldies for a relative bargain. Again, supply and demand.



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You know, now that I think of it.....D-28 Martins before 1969 had Brazilian rosewood, and are priced locally at about $6K on CL. I've noticed that D-18 owners are somewhat trying to ride the coat tails of the pre-'69 D-28 vintage prices, even though the D-18 of 1969 was nothing special. I guess guitars sell for what the market will bear. Sigh, everyone's looking for an angle....

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A pre-war D18 is going to have scalloped braces, a recipe for more ring and sustain. The post-war stds, with straight braces, have a more, hum, direct tone [did I say harsh? No, not me!]. If you are used to straight brace Martins, the scalloped ones might re-adjsut your hearing! ANd explain the premium for the old ones and high-end copies.


Lotta good men piloted D18s at one point or another: Doc Watson (first CD), Clarence White (the famous instrumental CD), Norman Blake (Church Street Blues), Dave Grier, Brownie McGee, to name a few. Here's old

on his '34.
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This is a strange discussion for a Gibson forum.


I have a few value charts for instruments that we have -- these are just the history of the "retail" values from the vintage guitar price guides -- all original instruments in top shape. These values are based on estimates from lots of dealers, with the high and low discarded and then expressed as a range. The number I use is the center of the range.


We have quite a few D-18s -- we do indeed like them. Here is the D-18 chart. Notice the most recent years are more dense -- this was to try to look at the impact of the recent recession. The US peak was 2010.


Here is the comparison of the D-28 and D-18 from 1935 -- sort of holy grails to some.




This next chart is to show how a couple of early banners -- 42 J-45 and SJ -- fare against the earlier '36 J-35 and their contemporary '42 D-18. Because the '42 D-18 does not have forward shifted bracing, it goes for quite a lot less than the '35 D-18.



Here is a chart for the mid 30 Gibson main competitors to the Martins -- it is clear which one wins there.




Finally, the war of the RW -- here are values for several early models of D-28 and a '36 AJ.



One point -- these things are really rare. There were ever only 83 '35 D-28s, and far fewer (probably less than 20) '36 AJs. How many all original exc condition examples of these even exist today?


Let's pick,



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Some stats from vintagemartin.com


In 1931, roughly .002% of Martins were Dreadnaughts, with only 8 built out of a total of 4272 guitars.


In 1933, roughly .009% of Martins were Dreadnaughts, with only 22 built out of a total of 2494 guitars.


In 1935, roughly 7% of Martins were Dreadnaughts, with 218 built out of a total of 3268 guitars.


In 1937, roughly 16% of Martins were Dreadnaughts, with 576 built out of a total of 3689 guitars.


In 1939, roughly 28% of Martins were Dreadnaughts, with 612 built out of a total of 2195 guitars.


In 1941, roughly 24% of Martins were Dreadnaughts, with 782 built out of a total of 3279 guitars.


In 1943, roughly 17% of Martins were Dreadnaughts, with 617 built out of a total of 3617 guitars.


In 1945, roughly 20% of Martins were Dreadnaughts, with 658 built out of a total of 3474 guitars.

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