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Old 10-13-2020, 12:01 PM
LakewoodM32Fan LakewoodM32Fan is offline
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Default NGD: The Martin D-18 Modern Deluxe is a lot of guitar for the money

"Pics or it didn't happen" disclaimer: haven't had a lot of time to take pics, so I'll possibly add some later. The thing with the Martin mass-produced line is they're going to look very uniform, no unique figuring the backwood, etc. so honestly, google any D-18 MD and you'll see the one I have. It's a great looking guitar for what it is, nice tight grain on the VTS Sitka top, and beautifully consistent texture on the mahogany B&S.

So I'll start with why I went looking for, and bought, this guitar. I wanted a mahogany sounding (more mids, less scooped) guitar with dreadnought volume and projection to complement my H&D TD-R which is by all accounts a pure cannon with a torrefied Adi top and EIR back and sides. It's got tremendous bass (but not overwhelmingly so) but my 000 sinker hog got me wanting that sweet mids-focused tone on a large body.

That said, I also know dreads are uncomfortable for me to play due to my height and arm length, so I knew I'd be playing any hog dread a limited amount, so I didn't want to spend 4K+ on something that would only account for a small amount of playtime.

Now I'm not going to claim the D-18MD is the best mahogany dread at the price, I'm not even sure it's the best D-18 (no shops had a standard D-18 for me to audition in my area). What I will say is that it provided me that sweet hog sound I was looking for, with volume and projection to spare. Yes my TD-R can get louder, but it's louder than any other dread I've played in person, so that's not a strike against the D-18 MD.

But what you do get on the D-18 MD is this:

1. Great fit and finish. Granted I have a sample size of three that I tried out, but all didn't have any defects that I could spot, and all three had properly set neck angles and were set up well out of the factory (the one I ended up buying was almost spot on 3/32" action at the low E.

2. An extremely lightweight guitar. Mine weight 3.995 lbs according to the food scale. I'm owing most of that to the titanium truss rod.

3. I love the neck size and shape. Yes it's a bit of a departure for Martin, and some won't like it. I love it.

4. Consistency: all 3 I tried in 3 different shops to my recollection sounded very similar (meaning: very good) .

5. Fantastic tone. Yes I've seen the D18/D18MD videos and on some of them, the D18 regular sounds more traditional. But again, I caution against judging solely by YouTube. My specimen doesn't leave me wanting for anything, and I recently took it in with me to put it up against a Collings D1. Did I like the D1 a little better? Yes. But for the price difference, it should be better. And I'm not just talking about MSRP, we all know it's hard to get a significant discount on Collings, and any one of our forum sponsors will give you a big discount on Martin's non-Custom line. We're talking an out-the-door price difference of about 1.5 times (D1 over MD-18 MD). So if you'll be playing your hog dread a lot, the price difference is likely justifiable, but not for my use case.

6. Tremendous value. A torrefied Sitka top. torrefied Adi bracing with natural protein glue (not hot hide). Titanium truss rod to take a lot of weight off the guitar. Liquidmetal bridge pins included. Glossy peghead veneer with MOP Martin logo (vs. painted on). Gold open-backed Waverly tuners. I know I sound like a commercial, but holy crow Martin put a lot of things on this guitar.

All for a price which, again if you contact any of our Martin carrying sponsors, you will likely get for south of $3K (and not by just a dollar either).

The surprising thing? It has sounded so good, and I vibe so well with the new Martin MD neck shape that I've actually been playing it more than I thought!

For all the love we heap on boutique builders (and rightfully so) I have to say to Martin "Job Well Done" on what is essentially a regular production line guitar.
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Collings OM2H (Baked Sitka/EIR), Huss & Dalton TD-R (Baked Adi/EIR), Lakewood M32 (Sitka/EIR)
Martin D-18 MD (Baked Sitka/Mahogany), Santa Cruz OM (Adi/EIR) & OM/PW (Redwood/EIR),
Taylor Custom GA (Cedar/Cocobolo/Koa)
, K24ce 12-fret (all-Koa) & K14c (Baked Sitka/Koa)
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  #2  
Old 10-13-2020, 12:17 PM
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Peter Z Peter Z is offline
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Congrats!
That is a wonderful guitar and I agree with everything you wrote. Also the wood binding and the nice tuners can be mentioned.
Of course, the sound is most important and that’s just right. Enjoy it!
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Old 10-13-2020, 12:20 PM
Matts67 Matts67 is offline
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Those are great guitars that have a certain sweetness that I really enjoy. Congrats and best of luck with it.
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Old 10-13-2020, 12:45 PM
LakewoodM32Fan LakewoodM32Fan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Z View Post
Congrats!
That is a wonderful guitar and I agree with everything you wrote. Also the wood binding and the nice tuners can be mentioned.
Of course, the sound is most important and that’s just right. Enjoy it!
I did mention the tuners (but it's buried in the wall of text) but I neglected the wood binding. Yes that is a nice aesthetic touch!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matts67 View Post
Those are great guitars that have a certain sweetness that I really enjoy. Congrats and best of luck with it.
Sweetness is a good description. We all know hog is "sweeter" than EIR, but my 000 sinker hog is, as I put in another thread, a "mahogany-er mahogany". I would say the D-18 MD falls between what I'd expect of a normal hog and a sinker hog sound.
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Taylor Custom GA (Cedar/Cocobolo/Koa)
, K24ce 12-fret (all-Koa) & K14c (Baked Sitka/Koa)
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Old 10-13-2020, 12:56 PM
boneuphtoner boneuphtoner is offline
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I totally agree with you - the modern deluxe series as a whole are wonderful values - the Geib case, Waverly tuners, and Liquid Metal bridge pins are all together worth $700+ alone before you get into all the rest of the upgrades, including the torrified top, addy bracing, titanium truss rod, carbon fiber plate, abalone script logo. etc. If I hadn't made the mistake of playing one of the Gruhn sinkers recently, I would still have the D-28 MD.

Many congrats and enjoy!
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Old 10-13-2020, 01:14 PM
LakewoodM32Fan LakewoodM32Fan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boneuphtoner View Post
I totally agree with you - the modern deluxe series as a whole are wonderful values - the Geib case, Waverly tuners, and Liquid Metal bridge pins are all together worth $700+ alone before you get into all the rest of the upgrades, including the torrified top, addy bracing, titanium truss rod, carbon fiber plate, abalone script logo. etc. If I hadn't made the mistake of playing one of the Gruhn sinkers recently, I would still have the D-28 MD.

Many congrats and enjoy!
Oh I'm sure that sinker sounds amazing! Just a little bit above price-wise what I was willing to spend on a limited use-case for me. I should shout out to Ted at LA Guitar Sales, which is where I've bought most of my Martins (including this one) and who is a great Martin dealer. I'm fortunate enough to live somewhat in the area so I can pick mine up but I also have to pay the CA Sales Tax penalty
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Collings OM2H (Baked Sitka/EIR), Huss & Dalton TD-R (Baked Adi/EIR), Lakewood M32 (Sitka/EIR)
Martin D-18 MD (Baked Sitka/Mahogany), Santa Cruz OM (Adi/EIR) & OM/PW (Redwood/EIR),
Taylor Custom GA (Cedar/Cocobolo/Koa)
, K24ce 12-fret (all-Koa) & K14c (Baked Sitka/Koa)
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Old 10-13-2020, 01:15 PM
llew llew is offline
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Congrats on your D-18MDS! Still waiting to play the MD dreads.
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Old 10-13-2020, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LakewoodM32Fan View Post
I did mention the tuners (but it's buried in the wall of text) but I neglected the wood binding. Yes that is a nice aesthetic touch!
Oh yes, you did. Sorry, it’s been a long day.
We are lucky guys with our D-18MDs.
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Old 10-13-2020, 01:25 PM
Birchtop Birchtop is online now
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Congratulations, and Happy NGD to you!
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Old 10-13-2020, 03:25 PM
Goat Mick Goat Mick is offline
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Sounds like an awesome guitar, too bad we can't believe anything you said because there are no pics.

Seriously, congratulations on the new Martin it sounds like it is exactly what you were wanting. I'll agree that based on all the features it is a real bargain. Play the snot out of it!!
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Old 10-13-2020, 07:30 PM
LakewoodM32Fan LakewoodM32Fan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goat Mick View Post
Sounds like an awesome guitar, too bad we can't believe anything you said because there are no pics.

Seriously, congratulations on the new Martin it sounds like it is exactly what you were wanting. I'll agree that based on all the features it is a real bargain. Play the snot out of it!!
Just for you, my man. A quick and dirty pic...no photoshop, no special posing or lighting lol.

EDIT: also good catch by another poster about the carbon fiber bridge plate. Between that and the liquid metal bridge pins, I certainly don't notice a negative effect on tone or sustain (I can't say I hear a positive one as I'd need to compare to an identical MD without both of those things), that's at least 2 things that won't be wearing out as quickly as traditional wood bridge plates and wood bridge pins.

I do have a couple of other liquid metal pin sets that I feel have had a positive volume and sustain effect on my H&D TD-R and 00 Custom shop, FWIW.
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Collings OM2H (Baked Sitka/EIR), Huss & Dalton TD-R (Baked Adi/EIR), Lakewood M32 (Sitka/EIR)
Martin D-18 MD (Baked Sitka/Mahogany), Santa Cruz OM (Adi/EIR) & OM/PW (Redwood/EIR),
Taylor Custom GA (Cedar/Cocobolo/Koa)
, K24ce 12-fret (all-Koa) & K14c (Baked Sitka/Koa)

Last edited by LakewoodM32Fan; 10-13-2020 at 07:37 PM.
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  #12  
Old 10-14-2020, 08:39 AM
Goat Mick Goat Mick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LakewoodM32Fan View Post
Just for you, my man. A quick and dirty pic...no photoshop, no special posing or lighting lol.

EDIT: also good catch by another poster about the carbon fiber bridge plate. Between that and the liquid metal bridge pins, I certainly don't notice a negative effect on tone or sustain (I can't say I hear a positive one as I'd need to compare to an identical MD without both of those things), that's at least 2 things that won't be wearing out as quickly as traditional wood bridge plates and wood bridge pins.

I do have a couple of other liquid metal pin sets that I feel have had a positive volume and sustain effect on my H&D TD-R and 00 Custom shop, FWIW.
Ok we can believe you now. Looks like you found yourself a winner there bud. Enjoy!
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  #13  
Old 10-14-2020, 12:12 PM
MinTac MinTac is online now
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Beautiful guitar, congrats!
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Old 10-14-2020, 03:21 PM
cheer tunes cheer tunes is offline
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Is this the model with richlite board and bridge?
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  #15  
Old 10-14-2020, 03:25 PM
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Peter Z Peter Z is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheer tunes View Post
Is this the model with richlite board and bridge?
To my knowledge all MD models have ebony bridges and fretboards.
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