MARTIN J-18 (J-18M)

  • Martin J-18 acoustic guitar
    Martin J-18


Brand name: 


  • acoustic guitars

Series name: 

Dates of manufacture: 

1987 to 1996

The Martin J-18 blends the Jumbo body with the traditional features of Martin's famous D-18 Dreadnought. The J-18 has scalloped bracing, tortoise-shell colored binding and pickguard and chrome enclosed machine heads with ebony buttons. The solid spruce top is gloss finished with an aging toner. MARTIN made the J-18 (J-18M) between 1987 and 1996

Specifications (25)


Finish colorsnatural finish
Finish effectsgloss finish
Made inUSA
Bindingtortoiseshell binding
Number of strings6 strings
Scale length25.4 inches scale-length


Body back materialmahogany body back
Body sides materialmahogany body sides
Body top materialspruce body top
Pickguard materialtortoiseshell pickguard
Soundhole rosetteblack and white ring rosette
Soundholeround soundhole


Body fretNeck joins body at 14th fret
Neck jointset neck
Neck materialmahogany neck
Neck width1.69 inches wide at nut
Number of frets20 fret
Peghead (headstock)veneer headstock
Tuner layoutthree-each-side


Bridge pinsblack with white dot pins
Bridgerosewood bridge
Tunersebony buttoned tuners


Fingerboard inlay materialabalone fingerboard inlay material, pearl fingerboard inlay material
Fingerboard materialrosewood fingerboard
Fingerboard position markersdot fingerboard position markers, slotted diamond fingerboard position markers

Prices (5)

1989£1newcant remember price paid
1992£1420newDavidBought new from Hanks Guitars, Denmark Street London. Have since contacted Martin for more info on this model and found out that only 100 of this were built.
1995R$2500newAdolfo NoronhaDolar and Brazilian Real currencies conversion was 1x1 by that time.

Reviews (3)

MARTIN J-18 (J-18M) reviewed by Bobby Coman

Average: 5 (1 vote)
I purchased my J-18 from Atlanta Discount Music in 1987. I believe I paid around $1,200 brand new. Having played guitar for over 40 years I can honestly say I’ve never played a better acoustic. Playability, sound/resonance, staying in tune, durability. You name it. Of course one would expect the resonance to be greater in a jumbo…and it is. This thing booms! When playing in a group with other guitarists, I sometimes have to dial it back when strumming or it can overpower others. In 2010, playing while drinking (drunk actually), I hit the top/side of the guitar with my fist after messing up the song. The body cracked in 2 parallel places along the side/ribs and extended 1/4 way around the body. I was devastated. I took it to my luthier who glued her back together. No drop in sound quality or playability whatsoever to this day. If anything, it somehow makes it even more desirable and cherished. I own several other acoustics and have played hundreds over my lifetime. For me, none compare. I’ve logged over 10,000 hours on her so yes I’m partial. However, friends who’ve played her all have similar reactions. “Damn! This thing is magical”, “What a beauty!!”, “Plays and sounds amazing!” I think I’ll keep her ;-)

MARTIN J-18 (J-18M) reviewed by Bill

Average: 5 (1 vote)
I have played so many different guitars that I've lost count. As I got older ( now age 67 yrs ), I've downsized my collection. The only acoustic that I kept is my 1993 Martin J-18. It was so superior to my Martin D-41 ( which was wonderful ! ), that my wife and daughter, after listening to me play both, stated that they'd kill me if I sold that 18. Enough said ! Bill

MARTIN J-18 (J-18M) reviewed by Jeff

Average: 5 (1 vote)
Martin only made these for nine years and if you are looking at this review it is because you ran across one and and aren't sure whether to pull the trigger. Buy it! I got mine as a partial trade for a '57 Cadillac and I think I got the better end of the deal. If you are into the sound of mahogany this is an outstanding guitar. As a basis of comparison I have a '67 Guild D40 I have had since high school and a Clapton 000-28. The Martin has a better bass end than the Guild and is about par with the Guild on the high end. It is considerably lighter than the Guild and has a lot of premium features for an 18- aged toned top, tortoise shell pick guard and binding, snowflake inlays and ebony tuners. I have owned and played some other very nice guitars, but this is certainly one that you can spend the rest of your life with with no regrets. Don't hesitate. Get off the couch and buy it.

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