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Martin Retro Series D-18E Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar

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The Retro Series D-18E Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar features a sleek, modern High Performance Neck for enhanced playability. The Retro Series...Click To Read More About This Product

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A vintage-style dreadnought with modern electronics and a high-performance neck.

The Retro Series D-18E Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar features a sleek, modern High Performance Neck for enhanced playability. The Retro Series D-18E adds a Sitka spruce top to the mahogany back and sides. Perfect for the intermediate and advanced player.

C. F. Martin & Co. is inviting musicians to take a trip back in time with the introduction of a groundbreaking guitar technology available in the new four-piece Retro Series: D-18E, D-45E, HD-28E, and OM-28E. Paying homage stylistically and sonically to the iconic classic Martin guitars of the 1930s and '40s, this series features traditional non-cutaway Martin guitars incorporating significant advancements in plugged-in sound reproduction. The series exquisitely captures a sought-after sound, melding traditional models with state-of-the-art technology, and will appeal to musicians and guitar aficionados alike.

Martin designers dove back into the rich history residing in the Martin museum and chose world-class examples to use as "tone donors." These guitars include a 1942 D-45, a 1941 D-28, a 1937 D-18 and a 1934 000-28 (long-scale) on loan from Vintage Instruments. Each of these guitars possesses unique tonal characteristics that can be attributed to the passing of time. The premise was to convince the new guitars into electronically behaving as if they were the museum guitars.

Developing the new Retro Series electronic foundation, Fishman electronically infused the essence of the museum instruments into the newly created Martin counterparts, a new technology for both companies. To build upon this "vintage-conditioned" sound, Martin Guitar teamed up with Fishman and Grammy Award-winning producer Bill VornDick at his historic Mountainside Studios in Nashville for a multi-step process. They utilized VornDick's private collection of rare vintage and boutique microphones, many of which date back to the '30s and are iconic recording industry microphones. This collection adds unique coloring to the plugged-in sound, reminiscent of the first microphones these museum guitars would have ever encountered in the professional recording studio.

The Retro series instruments are vintage in appearance but will have enhanced playability including a modern "High Performance Neck" taper and modified low oval profile. They will all have the new Fishman F1 Aura + electronics system featuring "Easy Mode" with three pre-blended mic/pickup presets and all of the programmability and tweakability of the original F1 Aura in "Performance Mode. "

Great for studio or live, this series reproduces the pristine sound that until now could only be accomplished in a highly-controlled studio setting with talented engineers.

VornDick said it best after hearing the finished product, "The plugged-in sound of these instruments is by far, the best reproduced acoustic sound I've ever heard."

Includes case.

Dreadnought body size
Solid Sitka spruce top
Standard ''X'' scalloped, forward shifted bracing
High performance neck
Fishman F1 Aura Plus pickup system
Includes 445 Hardshell case

Experience the vibe and exceptional electric sound of this special guitar. Order today.

Model: D-18E Retro
Construction: Mahogany Blocks/Dovetail Neck Joint
Body Size: D-14 Fret
Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
Rosette: Style 18
Top Bracing Pattern: Standard ''X'' Scalloped, Forward Shifted
Top Braces: Solid Sitka Spruce 5/16''
Back Material: Solid Genuine Mahogany
Back Purfling: Old Style 18
Side Material: Solid Genuine Mahogany
Endpiece: Tortoise Color
Endpiece Inlay: none
Binding: Tortoise Color
Top Inlay Style: Multiple Black/White Boltaron
Side Inlay: none
Back Inlay: none
Neck Material: Select Hardwood
Neck Shape: Modified Low Oval Profile w/ Performing Artist Taper
Nut Material: Bone
Headstock: Solid/Square Taper
Headplate: Solid East Indian Rosewood
Heelcap: Tortoise Color
Fingerboard Material: Solid Black Ebony
Scale Length: 25.4''
Number of Frets Clear: 14
Number of Frets Total: 20
Fingerboard Width at Nut: 1-3/4''
Fingerboard Width at 12th Fret: 2-1/8''
Fingerboard Position Inlays: Old Style 18 - Green Abalone
Fingerboard Binding: none
Finish Back & Sides: Polished Gloss
Finish Top: Polished Gloss w/ Aging Toner ; Sunburst available at additional cost.
Finish Neck: Satin
Bridge Material: Solid Black Ebony
Bridge Style: 1930s Style Belly w/ Drop-In Saddle
Bridge String Spacing: 2-3/16''
Saddle: 16'' Radius/Compensated/White Tusq
Tuning Machines: Nickel Open-Geared w/ Butterbean Knobs
Recommended Strings: Martin Studio Performance Lifespan Phosphor Bronze Medium Gauge (MSP7200)
Bridge & End Pins: Black w/ White Dots
Pickguard: Delmar Tortoise Color
Case: 445 Hardshell
Interior Label: none
Electronics: Fishman F1 Aura Plus
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
MartinRetro Series D-18E Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar

(based on 2 reviews)

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Reviewed by 2 customers

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(19 of 19 customers found this review helpful)


Martin hit a GRAND SLAM!

By EinSteve

from WV

Verified Buyer


  • Authentic Plugged Sound
  • Exceeded High Expectation
  • Excellent Playability
  • Flawless Martin Sound
  • highly versatile
  • Innovative
  • Quality construction


  • Price

Best Uses

    Comments about Martin Retro Series D-18E Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

    I will spare you the details in regards to the specs, which can easily be found, and instead share the end result: This instrument truly represents THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS!
    Martin has successfully melded the new with the old, and the best part is that these "enhancements" come with absolutely NO SACRIFICES to the quality of the acoustics. This instrument has that distinct "punchy" sound that makes a Martin a Martin, but with much improved playability thanks to the addition of the new High Performance neck. The F1 Aura + electronics offer the most authentic plugged sound available, and its construction is top notch. I think this guitar is "the one" I have been waiting for, and I expect this series to soon become extremely popular with guitar enthusiasts!

    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)


    Possibly the last guitar you'll buy

    By Weekend Warrior

    from Kansas

    About Me Experienced


    • Consistent
    • Fun To Play
    • Good Feel
    • Rich Sound
    • Stays In Tune


      Best Uses

      • Jamming
      • Practicing
      • Recording
      • Small Venues

      Comments about Martin Retro Series D-18E Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar:

      When Martin introduced the Retro series a few years ago, I began saving my nickels and dimes in order to buy this guitar. I've been playing for about 20 years now, and I - like many musicians - have always been disappointed in how my guitar sounds plugged-in vs. unplugged. Plug in a guitar, and it just loses some of its character. With the Fishman F1 Aura system, Martin has effectively resolved this problem.

      First, to the guitar. This thing is a piece of art. The smell, the feel, the look. Upon first strum, I proclaimed, "This thing SINGS!" I prefer mahogany tone wood, which is why I was interested in the 18 series. It just suits my playing style better. Unplugged, I'm not sure you'll find a truer sounding guitar. The dreadnought size is hefty, but not heavy. The action/playability of the neck is perfect. And the acoustic tone is balanced, warm, and woody.

      Plug in the D-18E, and that's where the magic happens. In order to capture the various available tones, Martin and Fishman used an 80 yr old D-18 and played it through a number of boutique microphones. Those sound images are available for selection via the F1 Aura + system. These are EXACTLY the plugged-in tones I've always been looking for, but have always eluded me.

      The real decision came as it was time to plunk down the money for this guitar. Just this year (2016), Martin introduced a new line of Aura-equipped guitars (in this specific instance, the DC-18E). It's a cutaway electric, and has the simplified Aura VT electronics. Same concept as the F1 Aura +, but it only has one voicing option available for selection, and the controls have been moved into the soundhole for a cleaner look. It was tempting, but I stuck with my original choice, and couldn't be happier.

      There's no substitute for the Martin sound. And now, with the F1 Aura + system, you can reproduce that sound when you are plugged-in, as well. No sacrifice need be made. I'm looking forward to the next 20 yrs with this guitar!

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