Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 29 - Jun. 2010
Like the recent D-28 1955 CFM IV, the D-18 1955 CFM IV commemorates the 55th birthday and ongoing contribution of Christian Frederick “Chris” Martin IV to the company that bears his name.
But this is not just the mahogany version of the D-28 1955 CFM IV.
Since its introduction in 1935, the D-18 has been one of the major stalwarts of the Martin line, and for many years outsold the more costly D-28. In 1955, the year of Chris Martin's birth, Martin sold 1,103 D-18s versus 806 D-28s.
Prized for its bright treble, crisp midrange and clear bass, the D-18 is a favorite of many bluegrass, folk and country musicians. Its strong, loud voice is meant to be heard and hold its own over banjoes, mandolins, steel guitars – and, yes, raucous rock n’ roll. It's also an excellent recording guitar, offering exceptional balance and distinct articulation.
Elvis Presley played a 1942 D-18 during his early career (it can be heard on all of his Sun recordings, including the classic “That's Alright Mama”). Hank Williams also played a D-18 that he rotated with his D-28 (Hank’s 1947 D-18 is now owned by the Martin company and is on permanent display in the Martin Museum). Oh, and you remember that great rockin' guitar intro on Eddie Cochran's “Summertime Blues?” That's a D-18, too.
In creating the D-18 1955 CFM IV, we carefully replicated D-18 specs in place during 1955. This includes a Sitka spruce top with non-scalloped X-braces, a small maple bridgeplate, an elegant old style 18 rosette, tortoise body binding and pickguard, cedar ribbons, cloth reinforcement strips, ebony bridge (with long bone saddle) and fingerboard, a bone saddle, a rounded headstock (from template wear) with old style C. F. Martin & Co. scroll decal and other authentic 1955-specific details.
So choosing the D-18 as the other half of the CFM IV 1955 celebration set was a natural.
But we've also added some very special features including back and sides of rare – and very beautiful – Quilted Mahogany (dark stain), adjustable 14-fret neck (with two-way truss rod), enclosed “Kluson style” tuning machines, figured Madagascar rosewood back strip and head plate veneer (similar in look to the original Brazilian rosewood headplate), and a small paper label signed by C. F. Martin IV in numbered sequence. The guitar is finished in premium high-gloss polished lacquer.
Only 55 of these superb instruments will be offered, delivered in our highest grade Cabernet plush, 5-ply, hard shell case. And if you already own the D-28 1955 CFM IV, the D-18 1955 CFM IV will make a perfect matched set.
The D-18 1955 CFM IV – another extraordinary Martin collectable – 55 years in the making.