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daacrusher2001
05-25-2008, 08:05 AM
Hi,

I recently went to the Martin Guitar Factory for a tour (you should do this if you haven't ever been there)...

While there, I played a Martin D-18GE, which I thought had amazing sound qualities. I had never played or seen one before. Unfortunately, it's really expensive.

I've been considering purchasing a D-28 for some time now, but I'm now wondering if a D-18 would be a better choice.

I was just wondering what the difference is between the two models. Are the body styles somehow different? I can't really tell...

I'm not trying to compare the GE with the base D-28, as I know some of the big differences there. Just wondering from a model perspective how different the 18 style is from the 28?

Any thoughts/comments?

K-man
05-25-2008, 08:17 AM
D-18 Mahogony back and sides
D-28 Rosewood back and sides

To my ears the rosewood has a more harmonically dense sound. The mahogony sounds clearer, more piano like.

The D-28 also has fancier appointments (binding etc.).

The golden era guitars are supposed to be fantastic, although I have never played one. If you are looking for a more affordable model I would look at the vintage series (D-18V or D-28V) over the standard models.

cottoneyedjoe
05-25-2008, 08:47 AM
I have owned a D-18, and currently own an HD-28v. My Father owns a D-18GE.

There are many differences between the standard, V, and GE series.

However, the main differences between the D-18 and the D-28 are the difference between rosewood back and mahogany back (and sides).
The standards have standard bracing, where the v series has scalloped, forward shifted bracing. The difference in sound is that there is a little more bass and openess to the v series.

I used my D-18 mostly for flatpicking. It has a sharp attack with less harmonic overtones than a 28 would have. The HD-28v I use for bandwork for its harmonic overtones which fill out nicely. You can use a 18 for band work it cuts through the mix a little more.

Don't be sold on the fact that some people will tell you a 28 is better than an 18. This is bullhockey. They are in the same league, just different appointments. I know many, many players that favor 18s over 28s any day of the week. My Father is one of them. Some people like the bite of mahogany. Some people like the flavor of rosewood.

For instance, Tony Rice plays rosewood exclusively. Whereas Doc Watson favors mahogany most of the time.

The one thing I like is that a Martin sounds like a Martin. For me it was the sound of the early Crosby, Stills, and Nash records that sold me on that sound. I can't play anything else now. Sorry. I just can't.

slopeshoulder
05-25-2008, 08:47 AM
what he said.

Joe Boy
05-25-2008, 09:03 AM
Well writen Joe. I've had both and wish I still had the 18.
The 28 for me is pretty much perfect, but miss that old mahogany beauty.
If I had the $$ I'd find a Collings and be one happy camper.

usc96
05-25-2008, 09:13 AM
Get the D18 now, and hold out for a D41 special when going for a rosewood guitar. That way you've got a nice mahogany covered, and won't be trading up, but rather supplementing, later. ;)

sinner
05-25-2008, 02:32 PM
I also like the mahogany back and sides of the D18. I also like the nice old round style necks on a Martin. I had a newer D18-GE and didn't like the slight V neck. I believe the D18V also have the V necks. The GE did sound amazing but the feel was off for me.

daacrusher2001
05-25-2008, 05:49 PM
To everyone...thanks for all of your insights and thoughts on these guitars.

I played a D-28 recently and was very impressed with the sound. But when I played that D-18GE, I was equally impressed with the sound, and oddly enough, I liked the feel of the V shaped neck.

I did notice on the Martin web site that the V neck is available on the vintage series. I think I need to try that V neck again, and compare it to the D-28.

They are pricey, but I figure if I'm going to play I may as well play a quality instrument. I don't currently own an acoustic, but lately have been playing some songs that sound better on an acoustic. Plus I wanted to try to do some finger picked blues...

Well...best case I get a Martin sometime soon, worst case I get to try them all out over time and then get one...;)

IIIBOOMERIII
05-25-2008, 06:34 PM
All HD-28s have scalloped bracing. And there is a drastic
differance between a D-18 and an HD-28. Maybe not so
much a differance between a D-18 and a D-28. The bottom
end on an HD is HUGE and rich. The entire instrument vibrates,
it is a beautiful thing. HDs feel absolutly alive in your hands and
you can feel them vibrate against your body. They are in a
class by themselves.

If you can not hear and feel the differance between the D-18,
the D-28, and the HD-28, I just dont know what to tell you.

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y40/iiiboomeriii/ACWFlash.jpg

chaz
05-26-2008, 06:37 AM
Go out and play them all 'till you find what suits you best. Then look for a used one. You'll save significant $$'s over new, especially during these hard times.

Rotten
05-26-2008, 07:29 AM
I play a D-18 Authentic in DADGAD. I play solo fingerstyle (with a thumbpick). Although Mahogany is not known for its harmonic complexity and low end oomph like rosewood, it has all that I could ask for. I also have a Collings with a rosewood back. Excellent sound. I think you just have to play a bunch and find one that you like.

rhythmeister
05-26-2008, 11:21 AM
Hi,

I recently went to the Martin Guitar Factory for a tour (you should do this if you haven't ever been there)...

While there, I played a Martin D-18GE, which I thought had amazing sound qualities. I had never played or seen one before. Unfortunately, it's really expensive.

I've been considering purchasing a D-28 for some time now, but I'm now wondering if a D-18 would be a better choice.

I was just wondering what the difference is between the two models. Are the body styles somehow different? I can't really tell...

I'm not trying to compare the GE with the base D-28, as I know some of the big differences there. Just wondering from a model perspective how different the 18 style is from the 28?

Any thoughts/comments?

There's something else that is very important that you need to be aware of. That D-18GE you played has an Adirondack spruce top. The regular D-18 and D-28 have Sitka tops. For me, this is absolutely critical. An Adirondack top on a good guitar to me sounds like heaven. I find Sitka, by comparison, to be dull tonally. The bad news is that guitars with Adirondack tops usually cost a fair bit more.

I think in this case, the differences between the spruce tops are every bit as important as the different back/sides wood (in my own opinion the top wood is quite a bit more important when comparing the tone than back/sides).

Cheers,
Blair

Bhodie
05-26-2008, 10:19 PM
Wow.. timing is everything. I just picked up a D18 at GC on their Memorial Day sale.. an 2001 in great shape for $950 w/case. I played it back to back with the rosewood, and decided I liked the even sound of the mahogany better than the "brighter" (at least to my ears) sound of the rosewood. Even though he would have made me a great deal on the rosewood.... (just for reference, I also liked the Eric Clapton model they had.. but he couldnt make THAT good a deal)

But then, I cut my teeth on CSN, late 60's protest stuff, etc and that sound is kind of planted in my brain.. and the D18 came the closest to "that" sound.

And to think I went in to get a 335... life is definitely funny!

go7
05-27-2008, 09:10 AM
Well.. Congrats are in order.You have a great guitar! I played many Martins and ended up getting an 000-28EC. Played about 10 of this model in 2 cities.This one was noticeably better to me.Enjoy!

daacrusher2001
05-28-2008, 06:55 PM
So, I found a store near me that had the D-18, D-28, and HD-28. All had good sound, but all different. The D-18 seemed brighter, more Taylor-like. I liked the D-28, but I have to admit, the HD was the best of the three.

I agree with IIIBOOMERIII, it's an amazing instrument. I need to play them again and see what I want to do.

It's only money, right? 8^)

Bhodie
05-28-2008, 11:59 PM
I have to mention (and you probably all are aware of this, but compared to my electrics.. this is new to me) how much difference strings make on the acoustic.. I changed the strings from whatever the old ones on the D18 were to a new set of Pearse Phosphor bronze 12-54.. and yeoww.. what a difference. The tone is still "even" but somewhat brighter.. more "airy". I have not tried them yet, but people also tell me the 80/20 's are significantly different again.. maybe more "traditional"..

So, before you plunk down the dough.. I would sure have them string the intended victim up with whatever strings you want to use... and even on two finalists at least with the same sets of strings..

Steve Gambrell
05-29-2008, 04:02 AM
There's something else that is very important that you need to be aware of. That D-18GE you played has an Adirondack spruce top. The regular D-18 and D-28 have Sitka tops. For me, this is absolutely critical. An Adirondack top on a good guitar to me sounds like heaven. I find Sitka, by comparison, to be dull tonally. The bad news is that guitars with Adirondack tops usually cost a fair bit more.

I think in this case, the differences between the spruce tops are every bit as important as the different back/sides wood (in my own opinion the top wood is quite a bit more important when comparing the tone than back/sides).

Cheers,
Blair

It also takes an Adirondack top YEARS to play in. Sitka, not so much. The decision for the body wood is strictly. Tony Rice is playing Clarence White's old D-28 some these days---But Clarence played most of his lead work on an -18, and later, a Roy Noble mahogany. And it seems that ALL the young bluegrass hotshots nowadays are either playing old D-18's, or somebody's custom mahogany dreadnaught. The mahogany cuts better on the treble strings, which is where these "young guns" like to play. But a good 50 or 60 year old rosewood box will steam 'em, about every time.

avincent52`
06-07-2008, 03:49 PM
It's like we're arguing that a sauvignon blanc is better than a pinot noir.

A D-28 and D-18 have very different tonal palattes, and it depends on your ear and your playing style.

FWIW, I think the D-18 GE (and OM-18 GE /000-18GE) is about the best thing that Martin's building at a reasonable price these days. FWIW, I think that drednoughts, especially scalloped braced dreds, tend to be kind of unbalanced tonally, and mahogany does a nice job of offsetting that.

If I were you, I'd go over to the Martin forum (www.umgf.com) and wait for a nice D-18GE to come along in the classifieds. It's got a great neck, great top, great bracing pattern, which are just as important as at the back and sides wood.

pitner
06-12-2008, 11:40 AM
My 68 D-18 is the best sounding guitar I ever played. I would put it against any rosewwod guitar, any year, any brand and still be better or at least in the ballpark. I 'm on my 6th Martin since 1967 and finally went with the 18. Voiced nicely for flat picking and lead work.

KennyM
03-05-2009, 08:36 PM
My opinions are mainly centered around recording.

The 28's are great and are huge sounding which is why I love these for playing live because they're such canons. In the studio however, i always end up rolling out that great hugeness to make them work in the track.

A D18 on the other hand and my actual favorite recording acoustic 00-18 doesn't have to have a lot rolled out of it to make it work in the track. In fact when you eq the D28 you end up with a lot of what the D18 and 00-18 sound like naturally. This makes those guitars more of value to me.

Still, for sitting in a club playing acoustic guitar a D28 or other Rosewood Dreadnought can't be beat.

majorbanjo
03-06-2009, 06:15 PM
I've owned both the D18GE and the D18 Authentic...also two 63' D18's....as well as a D28 Del McCoury which has same specs as the D28 Marquis but with a little more bling....with the exception of the 60's guitars all have scalloped bracing and adi tops....the 28 is rosewood and the 18's are Mahogany....they all sound great!!!....the D18 Authentic is in a league all it's own and feels like I'm holding a subwoofer in my lap when I play it....it just hits you in the chest..one of the 63' D18's was my favorite until I got the Authentic...it's that good....the 60's D18's cannot compete with an authentic.....what a great guitar...my second favorite new guitar is my D28 Del McCoury....followed closely by the D18GE....all are great guitars.....for the money on the used market a D18GE would probably be the best value.....I see them for sale often on the UMGF.com in the 1800 range....with a couple recently going for 1750.00......The cheapest I've seen an authentic for is 3600 and it sold in like 5 minutes....most are in the 3800-4000 range...and that would be a great price....

bluejaybill
03-13-2009, 11:30 PM
The D18 Authentic is the very best Martin of recent years (recent decades!) that I have played- really incredible, a nice as my two vintage Martins.

Worth the dough.

I play a D-18 Authentic in DADGAD. I play solo fingerstyle (with a thumbpick). Although Mahogany is not known for its harmonic complexity and low end oomph like rosewood, it has all that I could ask for. I also have a Collings with a rosewood back. Excellent sound. I think you just have to play a bunch and find one that you like.

Shemp
03-16-2009, 05:43 AM
I own a D18GE, D18A and I've ordered a D28 Madagascar Marquis. The GE is very dry and fundamental. It's also loud. The A is much more complex harmonically, while staying true to the clarity and punch you expect from a mahogany dread. It's also louder than hell.

I expect the D28MM to be even more harmonically rich, with a stronger bass and more pronounced trebles.

They're all great, just different.

Strat
03-16-2009, 06:11 AM
I find the OM and M sized Martin guitars to be a better balanced recording guitar and far better and backing female singers than a D-body. The D's are simply too low end biased for what I do while the smaller body gives a nice even tonal balance.

I play an Eric Johnson signature model, (J body) for both it's size and the coolest neck inlays Martin has ever done. My '64 D-28 gets used for male singers and flatpicking.

flyingvees
03-16-2009, 09:47 AM
For lead playing a good 18 is the way to go but if I am gonna be comping chords on Manzanita I want a 28...Most of my here's have kept an 18 for recording purposes and live shows too but use the 28 primarily.

musicofanatic5
03-16-2009, 11:41 AM
I agree with most here: the mahogany for a dry, fundamental tone, rosewood for a richer, fuller sound. Best results will be achieved by playing a bunch and choosing with your ears and hands, not eyes/specs/etc.
A coupla times a year I get to play my buddy's '37 D-18. I have never played/heard a better dreadnaught gtr. Old red spruce, honduras mahogany, and a big neck cannot be beat. I DID get to play Tony's/Clarence's D-28 for a second once. Backstage at a BG fest Tony croaked "Gotta light?" at me. I lit his smoke and was oogling the gtr. He said "Here, play it". There was a capo on the second fret, so the first thing that came to mind to play was Tony's intro to Old Train (Manzanita). He quickly said "Gimme that", and grabbed it back, seemingly annoyed at me playing his sh*t at him! Bad choice on my part I guess.

Strat
03-16-2009, 03:09 PM
no doubt.....

Rotten
03-16-2009, 03:52 PM
So how did Tony/Clarence's D-28 compare?

boogiemantoo
03-16-2009, 07:34 PM
I have a HD28 LSV and it is a beast! it won't stop ringing. I love playing it but like all modern Martins you gets out what you puts in.

musicofanatic5
03-17-2009, 12:50 PM
So how did Tony/Clarence's D-28 compare?

to...? He snatched it back pretty quick.

PeeCee
03-19-2009, 12:54 AM
I got a D18GE off eBay a couple years back--it had a hump at around the 14th fret that made it impossible to play. I'm sure that it would've sounded nice though. The seller finally took it back.

I do solo work (sing and play) with an acoustic. I've owned three D41 Specials. Two of them were great sounding guitars, but each one sounded different. I got rid of them because they were too pretty to gig in bars with. I'm loving my HD28V with Pearse strings and XLR Pure. I love its pedestrian looks, loudness, strong bass, and harmonic complexity. I actually like it a little bit better than the best sounding D41S I had.

There is quite a bit of difference between guitars with identical looks and appointments, though, so eBay may be a bit of a crapshoot.

gusthehonky
03-24-2009, 10:53 PM
I own a D28, love it, its everything I expected, in the back of my mind tiny voice whisper"should I have bought D18?" I hope this thread won't make them louder.

Shemp
03-29-2009, 06:45 AM
Here's a chart put together by Taylor on the relative charateristic of tonewoods:

http://www.taylorguitars.com/guitars/features/woods/Tone/images/Tone-Graph.jpg

Rosewood is a bit scooped sounding with ringing trebles and strong bass. Mahogany has a bit of a midrange bump and is a bit more balanced than rosewood.

In practice, mahogany is more "fundamental", rosewood is more complex and filled with "overtones".

I tend to prefer mahogany in a dreadnought and rosewood in smaller bodied guitars. The big body dread can get a bit muddy sounding because of the complexity of the rosewood. With mahogany you get a powerful midrange and the big body fills in the rest.

Conversely, in a smaller bodied guitar the rosewood complexity fills out the tone and compensates for the lack of body volume.

I own a D18GE, D18Authentic, 000-28EC and a 914CE.

On order for late April delivery is a D28 Marquis Madagascar.... The first rosewood dread I've owned in a few years.. we'll see how it stands up to the Authentic.

cottoneyedjoe
03-29-2009, 07:00 AM
My Father owns a D-18GE. I own an HD-28v.

The differences have all been mentioned here. The mahogany will give you a slightly brighter sound, also on the GE you have scalloped, forward shifted bracing, fossilized ivory nut, fossilized ivory saddle (which is a long saddle, built into the bridge). All of these add to the tone and sustain of the 18GE. The 18GE also has a 1 3/4" inch neck with wider string spacing at the bridge. If you are a flatpicker, this definitely gives you more room to "move the pick".

The 28v has a bone nut and saddle (current production, older models use a hard plastic) and forward shifted, scalloped bracing producing a bigger bass response and thicker mid tones. (Think Neil Young....) Still great for flatpicking, but with a smaller neck (1 11/16) and smaller string spacing. This makes it a great guitar for flatpicking also, but there is a bit of personal preference as to the width of the neck.

The adirondack versus sitka will definitely be a difference. A brighter tone will result from the adirondack, and a lighter colored top (cosmetic). But to my ears adirondack helps give the guitar a small amount of increase on the sustain that my 28v does not have (sitka top).

Also do not let anybody tell you that a standard is "the same" as a vintage or GE model. It ISN'T!!!! The main difference is the bracing. All vintage and golden era models have scalloped, forward shifted bracing. This produces a MAJOR difference in tone. The standard bracing is a little more subdued, while the scalloped results in a more open, bigger bass response for tone.

I hope this helps. I also hope I wasn't to redundant....

Also, please keep in mind that the tone you are hearing on a new Martin is a new Martin. After about two years of consistent playing the guitar will "open up" and will sound like a brighter, louder instrument.

I can safely say that my Dad's 18GE can be heard over pretty much any other acoustic in a jam. We don't call it a "banjo killer" for nothing. The 28v is more for the "whomp" and bass response produced while strumming.

cottoneyedjoe
03-29-2009, 07:11 AM
I agree with most here: the mahogany for a dry, fundamental tone, rosewood for a richer, fuller sound. Best results will be achieved by playing a bunch and choosing with your ears and hands, not eyes/specs/etc.
A coupla times a year I get to play my buddy's '37 D-18. I have never played/heard a better dreadnaught gtr. Old red spruce, honduras mahogany, and a big neck cannot be beat. I DID get to play Tony's/Clarence's D-28 for a second once. Backstage at a BG fest Tony croaked "Gotta light?" at me. I lit his smoke and was oogling the gtr. He said "Here, play it". There was a capo on the second fret, so the first thing that came to mind to play was Tony's intro to Old Train (Manzanita). He quickly said "Gimme that", and grabbed it back, seemingly annoyed at me playing his sh*t at him! Bad choice on my part I guess.


Clarence's D-28 that Tony currently owns has had a load of work over the years. At one point is was pratically unplayable. At another point, Tony's house in Florida flooded in a hurricane and it pratically ruined the guitar.

Tony keeps the action VERY low, due to some pain he has gained over the years through hours of playing and his health conditions. That guitar is a soundman's nightmare, because you have to have a REALLY good mic on it or your have to hear people yell "turn Tony UP...." at you all night long.

Considering the work done to that guitar, it is amazing he still plays it at all. However, it is still the BEST sounding D-28 I have ever heard in person. Clarence played that guitar, but it was MADE for Tony.

Roland (Clarence's brother) has a lot of good stories about that guitar and how they got it. He is releasing a book shortly with stories about Clarence and the guitars he owned. Check it out....

The Roy Noble acoustics that Clarence owned (to me anyways) sounded far better than the Martins Clarence played or owned. The Noble acoustics produced a brighter, fuller sound, that seemed to match Clarence's technique.

Rick360
07-03-2009, 08:30 PM
Howdy,

I love my D28 with it's rich tone; plenty of bass and treble on tap. I bought the D28 years ago after comparing it to the D18, which sounded thinner to my ears.
Recently I played a D18V with scalloped bracing. I was floored with it's beautiful tone. To my ears, the scalloped bracing really complemented the Mahogany back & sides. Best sounding acoustic I've ever played.

Rick360

rowdyyates
07-04-2009, 06:15 AM
I've been playing for over 40 years and have been blessed to play a lot of nice guitars over the years, including the Clarence/Tony Martin, several other early '40's D28's, owned a '56 D28 for a long time (sold it when I got my first Collings D2H), and a bunch of D18's from the late '30s to the new stuff. About 30 years ago, at either the first or second Dallas Guitar Show, there was a dealer who had a booth full of early Martin D's (Back then it really was a vintage guitar show). He had one D18, a 1941 I think, that just smoked everything else he had, and everything else I'd ever heard. It was $2000, and there was no way I could come up with that much money! The two things I remember about it, other than the sound, were it's incredible light weight and if you pressed on the back and sides you could actually see the mahogany move. When you played it it was like holding a subwoofer. Amazing. It wasn't just loud, it had harmonic complexity beyond the Herringbone D28's. I've often wondered where that one is today.
Bottom line - there are generalities you can expect from different woods, but the individual guitar, it's construction, and how the woods work together it what matters.

humbuster
07-04-2009, 07:42 AM
Been playing for a long time too.

If you like the feel of the V neck, go for the D18V.

To me, this is the best sounding of all Martin guitars and a great value, IMHO.

Last year I sold most of my collection. I had an HD28 that was magical, but in the end I kept the D18V and sold the HD.

kmcmichael
07-04-2009, 08:15 AM
Just my opinion

If you are playing a lot of lead with other instruments the18 is the way to go. If you are accompanying a singer or other instruments I prefer the Rosewood.

A smaller guitar like an OM-18 records really well(unless you are a good engineer, I am not)

No one has mentioned the fact that the D18GE has a larger neck. A BIG plus for an ape handed fool like me.

I have a d18Ge and an OM18V and that pretty much covers it for me although I have not recorded anything in a while. I recently sold a D28LSV which is no longer made and was a bargain for that type of guitar, it was a little brighter due to the large sound hole

A lot of older guys gravitate toward an 18 because they have lost their hearing in the register it takes to appreciate rosewood. I realized this when I got some hearing aids and all of a sudden regretted selling the LSV.

MattH
07-04-2009, 08:15 AM
But Clarence played most of his lead work on an -18, and later, a Roy Noble mahogany. .


The Noble was actually a rosewood guitar.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v641/Mattamphetamine/Random%20Guitar%20Pictures/Clarence20Noble20Montage20800.jpg

bluejaybill
07-13-2009, 10:12 PM
I've been playing for over 40 years and have been blessed to play a lot of nice guitars over the years, including the Clarence/Tony Martin, several other early '40's D28's, owned a '56 D28 for a long time (sold it when I got my first Collings D2H), and a bunch of D18's from the late '30s to the new stuff. About 30 years ago, at either the first or second Dallas Guitar Show, there was a dealer who had a booth full of early Martin D's (Back then it really was a vintage guitar show). He had one D18, a 1941 I think, that just smoked everything else he had, and everything else I'd ever heard. It was $2000, and there was no way I could come up with that much money! The two things I remember about it, other than the sound, were it's incredible light weight and if you pressed on the back and sides you could actually see the mahogany move. When you played it it was like holding a subwoofer. Amazing. It wasn't just loud, it had harmonic complexity beyond the Herringbone D28's. I've often wondered where that one is today.
Bottom line - there are generalities you can expect from different woods, but the individual guitar, it's construction, and how the woods work together it what matters.

It may have been built to wartime specs, without a metal truss rod (ebony instead).

I have played many of those era, they are much lighter than other years for this reason and have a very unique airy tone.