Every once in a while a 1930s Martin D-18 comes along that competes in volume and a solid presence with the D-28s from that same period. This late 1937 Martin D-18 (68646) is one of those. Part of the solid feel comes from the fuller neck profile from under the nut to the 5th fret. Early 1930s D-18s can have a shallower starting depth and quickly transition to a much fuller shape at the 5th fret. The full thickness fingerboard also adds to the solid feel in the left hand. The voice is HUGE in all ranges, making this instrument a great choice for both rhythm and lead playing in a band. The back and sides are all free of any cracks, though there are scratches and dents from lots of playing time. The back finish has been worn smoother from rubbing against clothing, but it has not been buffed or oversprayed.
The top bracing is unmodified, though there is a hide glue repaired 2″ split in the treble leg of the X brace, extending back from the bridge plate area. The bridge plate is original and the bridge pin holes are moderately worn. There is a lot of pick and fingernail wear on the top on either side of the fingerboard extension and in the picking area between the sound hole and the bridge. There are two glued and cleated top cracks on either side of the fingerboard extension. There is a 2″ repaired top crack extending from the center of the bridge toward the tail. There is a 6″ repaired top crack extending from the high E string toward the tail. There is a 2″ repaired top crack extending from the bass side of the tailback toward the bridge. Their are two mirror image repaired 5″ hairline top cracks on either side of the centerline extending from the tailback toward the bridge. A replacement for the original shaved ebony bridge was made by Alan Perlman. The repalcement ebony bridge pin set is from Stewart-MacDonald.
Alan Perlman recently performed a neck reset and refret. An older style neck reset including sawing through the fingerboard at the 14th fret. Alan Perlman corrected this by reattaching the fingerboard extension with a carbon graphite wafer on the lower globing surface. It is now at least as strong as the original.
This guitar has a phenomenally large and solid presence all over the fingerboard and it has been extensively used in performance and recording situations. I have been thoroughly enjoying working through its potential and playing in a way that has not been possible since I sold my first 1935 D-18. This is a magical instrument. With hardshell case.