Magazine article Guitar Player

Martin OM-18 Authentic 1933

Magazine article Guitar Player

Martin OM-18 Authentic 1933

Article excerpt

WHEN THE DISCUSSION TURNS TO THE GREATEST ACOUSTIC GUITARS OF all time, it won't be more than a couple of seconds before someone brings up pre-war Martins. We were giddy with excitement when we unboxed this OM-18 Authentic 1933, which purported to be constructed the "old way." That includes using hide glue and employing the old-school bracing and cosmetics.

Before we ever touched the 0M-18, we saw the cool hardshell case in which it was ensconced, a faux-alligator affair with a green velveteen interior. The star of the show, obviously, is the guitar itself, and it's a beauty. Looking sumptuous with a glossy caramel burst on a heavily grained spruce top, the OM-18 effortlessly melds old-world depth and character with brand-spankin'-new cosmetics. The mahogany back and sides are flawless, as is the mahogany neck. The simple binding and pearl position markers remind me of what I love about this style of Martin: no bling, no bells, no whistles--just beautiful craftsmanship. A peek into the soundhole reveals super-clean bracing and all-around impeccable woodwork.

Grabbing ahold of the OM-18, the first thing you're struck by is the size and shape of the neck. Martin calls it their 1933 Barrel and Heel and what it feels like is a big, chunky neck with a pronounced "V" shape. For those who are only used to praying modern acoustics, it'll, take a little getting used to. For me, it's a dream to play on, providing ample support for my fretting hand whether I'm strumming barre chords or flatpicking single-note lines. It just feels right.

Then there's the sound, and the OM-18 simply sounds awesome. It's loud and incredibly clear. Every note in every chord seems to occupy its own little niche in the sonic spectrum. It pumps out sweet highs and lows, but the mids are the defining frequencies to my ears and they make this guitar project like crazy. …

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