Meet the completed AMS Martin Custom Shop D-18

Custom Shop D-18 Flame Quilt guitar Martin

The Martin D-18 is one of the most recorded guitars in history. When AMS wanted to do a Custom Shop run of guitars, we started with the legendary model. We wanted to keep the classic look and vibe of this guitar and make subtle changes. Some changes were for looks and some were for sonic enhancements.

Check out the wood selection from this run of Custom Shop D18’s here.

The Top

To enhance the tone of this guitar we added Adirondack spruce to the top and braces. This species of spruce is what the golden era or pre-war Martin’s were made from. This upgrade keeps the traditional look but adds volume and projection. We found 10 tops that were light in weight and had a strong pitch when tapped. We also found some tops with some figuring to go along with the flame backs.D-18 Custom Shop Martin Adi Tops

The Binding

The standard Martin D-18 normally comes with black binding. We wanted to keep that same look but add a little class to the guitar. We used Madagascar Rosewood to bind the guitar. It has the dark look of the standard but has some movement in color. The same wood is used on the end piece and heel cap to add even more class to this visually improved tone monster.

D-18 Custom Shop Madagascar Rosewood Binding Martin Custom Shop Dreadnought D18

The Back and Side

The final major overhaul on this model is the back and side sets. While we were at Martin, we hand selected these 10 sets of wood for the following. First, the tone. We tapped each set till we found the ones with the most musical ping to them. Next, we looked at the figure in the wood. We picked the 5 best quilt sets and the 5 best flame sets. These guitars are stunning. Finally, we took the weight into consideration and ended up with 10 killer sets of figured mahogany.

Martin D-18 Custom Shop Flame Mahogany

We visited the guitars as they were being built. Check out the progress here.

You can find the finished products here: Custom Shop D-18 Flame and Custom Shop D-18 Quilt


Martin D-18 Quilt

Get your new Martin Custom Shop D-18 today.

Click Here to see part 2 of the build process!


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