This special edition Custom Shop Martin D-111 is based partly on a 1929 version currently in the Martin Museum and a 1924 version that is the oldest X braced dread still in existence.
That was the year Martin changed the dreadnought bracing from a fan pattern designed to work with steel strings and replaced it with a reinforced version of their original X brace pattern. This was the first time Martin’s two most famous inventions, the X brace and the dreadnought, were brought together in the same guitar. Martin chose to commemorate this historic design by offering a modern version of the Ditson model 111. It features an enormous, standard dreadnought body made with the same woods as the original – genuine Honduras Mahogany topped with clear-as-a-bell Adirondack Red Spruce.
The neck is surprisingly comfortable at a width-at-nut of 1-7/8″ and it has many other features taken from the original Ditson dreads. The Delmer pickguard is identical to that 1924 model and rather alien in appearance compared to modern guards, but one which I feel imparts a great vintage look. The guitar also has special Waverly replica tuners and a reproduction of the Ditson three-line rosette at the soundhole. For all intents and purposes, this fantastic guitar could best be described as a D-18GE in 12-fret form with extra special vintage appointments. It has the adjustable truss rod, modern frets and gloss finish used on contemporary Martins and also has the same level of high-quality tone found in that 14-fret GE.
This 12-fret variety does not have the bass swell that one gets out of a 14-fret dread, which sacrifices some midrange strength. Instead it is nicely balanced across all six strings, huge from top to bottom. It has a breathtaking chime when strummed with fingernails, a clear and singing voice when fingerpicked and if you take a flat pick to it your G-run will have a whole new life all its own. Even when strumming lightly I made Martin employees turn with a wide-eyed “wow” apparent on their face. This is a LOT of guitar. The original retail price was 6.499 Euro. Dead mint! Consignment sale.
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