Blog Post Categories

Pages

Recent Forum Posts

Recent Comments

Archives

Links

Meta

Latest updates and news





Tag cloud


  • Tags


  • Top Comment Authors

    • Ingo (421)
    • Jean-François (166)
    • Jeff - Anthony (36)
    • Erik (33)
    • Fletch (29)
    • J.Francois (29)
    • Dermot O'Reilly (28)
    • Arthur Luz (23)
    • TheWizzard29 (22)
    • zach (22)
    • John (20)
    • Knopfleberg (20)
    • Philipp (19)
    • Eduard (18)
    • Morten (17)
    • danny (14)
    • Jim (14)
    • thomas (13)
    • Alex Mircica (12)
    • Lapelcelery (12)
    • Chris (11)
    • Ryan T. (11)
    • David (10)
    • liftedcj7on44s (10)
    • dave (9)


    Mark Knopfler played a lot of different acoustic guitars in his career: different borrowed ones on the first Dire Straits albums (e.g. a David Russel Young on Love over Gold, or a Greco on Bob Dylan’s Infidels), different Ovations (e.g. Custom Legend, Adamas), Gibsons (e.g.  J45, or a Southern Jumbo), Guild, and many more. These days he uses mainly Martins on stage, and also a lot in the studio.

    If you watched the promo video shootage that came with some editions of Mark’s latest Privateering double CD, you will have noticed a vintage Martin D18 acoustic guitar on which he played the song Privateering in the control room of his British Grove studio. I cannot tell when he acquired this valuable guitar but I guess it is a rather late addition to his guitar collection. Unfortunately I don’t have any details other than what we can see in this video, but with this article I am trying to put together some general info not only on on this model, or his signature Martins, but also on vintage Martin acoustic guitars in general.

    Mark-D18

    Mark with his vintage D18

    Martin HD-40MK - Mark's signature dreadnought model

    Martin HD-40MK – Mark’s signature dreadnought model

     

    Body size

    The D in a model name like D18 or D28 stands for ‘dreadnought’, and this refers to body size, or the ‘style’ of the guitar. In fact the prefix – like the D in D18, or the 000 in something like 000-18 – is a code for the body size. There are quite a few different sizes available, and even more in the past, but the most important ones might be – from small too large – 0, 00, 000, D, and J, with J for Jumbo being one of the largest. You will find different notations for the small ones,  written as O (‘oh’) or 0 (‘zero’). What you say is ‘Oh’ – like ‘triple-Oh’ for 000 – but as Martin themselves use the number and not the letter on their website, I guess this is the ‘official’ version.

    In the past the guitars were 12-fret models, but in the late 20ies of the last century Martin introduced the 14-fret style. This means the neck/body joint is at the 12th or at the 14th fret, with the latter ones having a shorter body for this reason. There is a nice overview on the different body sizes here on the Martin website.

    The letter H before the body size stands for ‘herringbone’ binding, a special binding made of different woods in the past that was later replaced with a plastic binding but was reissued for several models.

    The one seen on Privateering – also used for e.g. Dream of the Drowned Submariner – is a D18. Another dreadnought – with the herringbone binding – is his HD-40MK signature model. The other signature model – the ‘Ragpicker’ is a 000-40MK. The smaller bodies produce a slimmer bass and are ideal for fingerpicking. The one Mark played a lot in the late 80ies/early 90ies that was build by his friend Steve Phillips , was also a copy of  12th-fret 000.

    Mark with his vintage D18

    The 000-40S – The “Ragpicker” signature model

     

    Woods

    The suffix number has to do with the woods used, and with various construction details. Generally the higher the number, the more expensive the guitar. Here are some examples:

    15:  Top, back, and sides are mode of mahogany. The fingerboard and bridge are rosewood. No binding.

    18: Mahogany back and sides but the top is spruce. Dark binding.   The fretboard and bridge on early models was ebony, from the ’50s on  rosewood.

    28:   The back and sides are rosewood with a spruce top, bound ebony fretboard and bridge . Early guitars, before 1947, came with the herringbone wood  border around the top, which was later changed to alternating layers of  black and white plastic . The herringbone binding was reintroduced  in 1976 with the production of the HD-28 (H for for herringbone).

    40 – Rosewood back and sides witha  spruce top,  ebony fingerboard, all kind of fancy ornamentation, e.g.  a mother of pearl C.F. Martin Script Logo Inlay

    The herringbone binding

    The herringbone binding

    The bracing

    One important constructional and tonal aspect of Martin guitars is the special kind of bracing. Martin made the X-bracing famous, which “consists of two braces forming an X shape across the soundboard below the top of the sound hole. The lower arms of the X straddle and support the ends of the bridge. Under the bridge is a hardwood bridge plate which prevents the ball end of the strings from damaging the underside of the soundboard. Below the bridge patch are one or more tone bars which support the bottom of the soundboard” (from Wikipedia). Better check out the picture…

    D18 (1974)

    D18 (1974)

    Here is some info from the Martin website that explains the standard X-bracing and the scalloped X-bracing, as we find it on the MK signature models:

    bracing-patterns-martin

    Scalloped braces on a D18 from 1943

    Scalloped braces on a D18 from 1943

    "Buy me a beer" - donate for the site via PayPal. Or buy a backing track in my online shop :)

    Related articles



    Building a Telecaster Dream Machine

    Posted in: Guitars by Ingo on March 13, 2013


    With the help of my Dream Machine-style  pickguards and the Dream Machine brass tremolo I was able to built myself a kind of Schecter Dream Machine Strat (the one I compared to Mark Knopfler’s sunburst Schecter Dream Machine in these videos). What I am working on at the moment is a range of products for the Telecaster to upgrade any T-style guitar to a Telecaster Dream Machine, or to build one from scratch with aftermarket bodies and necks.

    I already have the brass or white enamel aluminium pickguards, and the tapped Telecaster Dream Machine pickups will come any day now – the final prototypes I have are really great :). I decided to install these into two different guitars: one will be a project with a genuine Schecter vintage neck and a fine one-piece mahogany body. The other project is based on a  neck and body I just found on ebay for really little money, it just looked right (with a kind of sunburst very similar to the one on Mark’s Schecter Strat), and a neck without dot markers. When these arrived I was pleased to find out that both are very light and seem to be very resonant (knock, knock,.. :) ) so this second project seems very promising as well.

    I already started to plan a brass Tele Dream Machine bridge and will likely also produce some control plates in brass. As it seems I will put golden hardware on these two projects, but I will also release a chromed version for those who want to build their own Walk of Live Tele :)

    I will report about building these two with a little blog post series, with this post being the first, and others to come as the project advances. Here are some pictures of what I already have:

    The Schecter neck with the mahogany body

    The Schecter neck with the mahogany body

    The second one with the sunburst body

    The second one with the sunburst body

     

    Both necks - note the different colour of the rosewood fingerboards

    Both necks – note the different colour of the rosewood fingerboards

     

    The Schecter neck has a painted peghead - like Mark's Walk of Life Tele which is in red. Not sure what to do with this one but I guess I will keep it like this to preserve the decal and originality.

    The Schecter neck has a painted peghead – like Mark’s Walk of Life Tele which is in red. Not sure what to do with this one but I guess I will keep it like this to preserve the decal and originality.

    I wonder if the fingerboard of the Schecter neck is Brazilian rosewood or Cocobolo. This info must be in the neck code which says F773S but this code is not included in the (older) Schecter catalogue I have.

    I wonder if the fingerboard of the Schecter neck is Brazilian rosewood or Cocobolo. This info must be in the neck code which says F773S but this code is not included in the (older) Schecter catalogue I have.

    Those grains indicate a South American rosewood, and the wood has a typical oily shine. Cocobola is often lighter than Braz rosewood but the latter can vary to a large extend.

    Those grains indicate a South American rosewood, and the wood has a typical oily shine. Cocobola is often lighter than Braz rosewood but the latter can vary to a large extend.

     

    The no-name neck has little dots on the upper edge, I am thinking to remove these and fill the holes with brown wood filler so that you have some help with finding the right fret without changing the look of a board without dot markers.

    The no-name neck has little dots on the upper edge, I am thinking about removing these and fill the holes with brown wood filler so that you have some help with finding the right fret without changing the look of a board without dot markers.

    To be continued, stay tuned …

    "Buy me a beer" - donate for the site via PayPal. Or buy a backing track in my online shop :)

    Related articles




    By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

    This site uses cookies to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website (reading, navigating, scrolling down,...) without changing your cookie settings or if you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. This site use cookies to personalise ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about the use of our site and devices with our social media, advertising and analytics partners.

    Close