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FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / Old D-18 question

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Nov 6th, 2015 05:48 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've got a line on a two-owner mid-70s Martin D-18 in excellent+ condition. No cracks.

It's had a neck reset, new saddle and nut, bridge relocation, fret dress and setup. Comes in a new Martin case. Needs nothing.

What can I expect in the way of "care and feeding"? I'm intrigued by the guitar, but don't want a lot of headaches.

I take good care of my guitars, and am well-versed in humidification, fwiw.

TheProfessor
Contributing Member
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MI

Nov 6th, 2015 05:59 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'm sure others will chime in better than I, but other than finding the kind of strings it responds best to (I'm always amazed at the difference the result of X brand of strings on different guitars) it sounds like you're set.

Years ago, I fell in love with a 71 D-18 at Elderly. While I hemmed and hawed about making the plunge into "big ticket" acoustics and tried to find a consensus on the i-Net regarding conflicting opinion about 70s Martins, someone snatched it up.

I hope they're enjoying it. That was a darn nice guitar.

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Nov 6th, 2015 06:15 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Good point, TP, regarding strings. I like Elixer lights, but if anyone has a better string suggestion for an old D-18 I'd like to hear it.


And I have a story exactly like yours regarding an HD-28V hanging on the wall at Dusty Strings in Seattle. Still kicking myself....

amphead4

Cincinnati, USA

Nov 6th, 2015 06:35 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Is mid-'70s before Martin truss rods were adjustable? That would be my only (very slight) concern. If it's from the pre-adjustable era, at some point you might need compression refretting to fix a relief problem. It's done all the time though so no big deal so if you like the guitar, don't let this hold you back at all.

TheProfessor
Contributing Member
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MI

Nov 6th, 2015 06:52 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Having moved through pretty much all the buzz brands, I've really come to like D'Addario EJ16 Phosphor Bronze Light Acoustic strings.

You have to change them say every three months (compared to say every six for Elixirs, which were my go-to acoustic string in the past), but I think the perceived better sound is worth it.

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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***

The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Nov 6th, 2015 07:18 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I think Martin finally went to adjustable truss rods in 1985.

I think.

But this one just had a neck reset, so it should be good for awhile, I hope.

Tom B.

Norman OK

Nov 6th, 2015 11:49 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Attached link agrees with you. I have an '81 D-28 with the hollow tube.

Martin Truss Rods

reverend mikey
Contributing Member
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west Omaha, east NE

Life gets in the way of my G.A.S.
Nov 6th, 2015 07:30 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Try the Martin Retro Series Monel strings - either lights or medium; name your poison. I personally prefer the mediums, and don't notice that much difference with the lights (have tried both on several guitars). They also make a Tony Rice Bluegrass set with a slightly different set of gauges...Tony was the one who asked them to make these strings again...the guy has good ears...

These strings have a clarity, richness and warmth that I'm in love with, and they last and last (not coated). About $10 a set.

I'm using them on a D-35, 3 Larrivees and a couple Ovations, and they really sound quite good on all these guitars.

WARNING: Give them a day or two (several hours of playing) to settle in. After that, they're consistent in tone for a looooong time.

(This message was last edited by reverend mikey at 09:31 PM, Nov 6th, 2015)

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Nov 7th, 2015 08:53 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Well, the deal fell through. No D-18 for me, too bad.


Thanks for the string suggestions, though. The Taylor 514C I purchased recently (see thread) has new Elixers on it, but I don't think those are the right strings for it, need something less bright. Maybe those Martin Retros will do the trick.

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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***

The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Nov 18th, 2015 05:52 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

mikey, I bought a set of Monels yesterday, will put them on my Taylor someday soon.

Will let you know what I think. It's been a long time since I bought Martin strings.

archiestone
Contributing Member
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El Californio

Nov 19th, 2015 11:05 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

If you decide to go the vintage Martin route in the future, one piece of advice: Go to Martin's site and (hopefully) find an authorized Martin repair/service facility near you. Arrange with the seller to take the guitar there for a checkup before you buy it. Well worth the money saved if they find issues. Also gives you negotiation room if work is required.
Those old guitars are great but they cost enough now to warrant a small investment in a pre-sales pro opinion, (not unlike a used car!)

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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***

The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Nov 19th, 2015 04:53 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Right, archiestone, I told the seller of a different D-18 (a '68) that I didn't know that I wanted to take on his guitar. At that point you are not just the owner/player, you become the conservator.

It's like adopting an old dog from the Humane Society- you gotta plan for health issues.

FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / Old D-18 question




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