The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

SOLD Martin D-18 Dreadnought Natural, 1943

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Seen here is a wartime (WW2!) Martin D-18 Dreadnought, built during 1943 at Nazareth PA and in great playing condition.

Accompanied by a recent appraisal from George Gruhn, this piece is in structurally very good condition with wear expected for over 80 years of use. The back of the head does not have a ‘Made in USA’ stamp, which was typically used to identify guitars built for export, particularly to Canada. The original Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard and bridge were long ago replaced with Ebony. With the bridge, the bridge plate was also replaced, and the dovetail joint has been reset. Some years ago, the original tuners – made by either Kluson or Waverly – were replaced with open-gear Gotoh models. The guitar has recently been refretted and set up at The Twelfth Fret repair shop. With all this work, it plays very well and has a full, sparkling sound with a well developed voice and plenty of projection.

Sold with a Victoria Luggage hard shell case.

Martin’s D-bodied guitars formally appeared in 1931, thought not many were built – one D-1 and four D-2’s, which became the D-18 and D-28. One each of the D-18 and D-28 were built that year, both as 12-fret models. The 12 fret configuration was dropped during 1935. For 1943, 425 D-18s and 192 D-28’s were built with some restrictions due to wartime materiel shortages.

The Martin D-18 Dreadnought pairs a Spruce top with Mahogany for the sides, back, body blocks and neck. The head plate, bridge and unbound fingerboard were Rosewood, until the mid 1960’s sourced from Brazil.

During 1943, when this Martin D-18 Dreadnought was built, the tops and scalloped top braces were Adirondack Spruce from Martin’s stock on hand. This ran out completely during 1946 and Sitka was generally used as a replacement, with some models featuring Engelmann Spruce. Most Martins are still built with Sitka.

Martin responded to the increased use of steel strings by introducing a neck stiffener in 1928 in the form of an ebony rod, and in late 1934 replaced that with a steel T-bar. Due to wartime materiel supply issues, the steel T-bar was replaced in 1942 with the original ebony stiffener. Metal shortages began to ease during 1945 and the T-bar started to re-appear. The T-bar reinforcement was used consistently from 1947 until 1967, replaced by a square steel channel and finally in 1985, a modern adjustable rod was added.


Price: $0.00 CAD
  • Model: D-18
  • Year: 1943
  • Finish Natural
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: 85371, built during 1943 in Nazareth PA
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 29/02/2024

  • Consignment Item

  • Required CITES documentation
  • Including Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 3.8lbs 1.7272kg
  • Scale Length: 25.43in 646mm
  • Nut Width: 1.714in 43.54mm
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