Martin 5-18


Somewhere around 1965 I became more interested in playing the blues, which made my low-end but still excellent Spanish Classical guitar a poor choice for fretting my way down to the crossroads. One Saturday I went with a friend to a party where I discovered an entire room full of blues recordings … all that vinyl. Later on I even started my own collection of what were once termed “Race Records” but I discovered that entire catalogues had been bought up to bring out cheap “best of” collections from many of the old bluesmen and early blues labels.

One day my friend and I were cruising down to the semi-local music store (Ozzie’s) and they had a trade-in that I had to have.  I gave them my classical guitar, borrowed $75 bucks from my friend’s Dad (I’m sure I paid him back) and took home an early 1949 Martin 5-18. Although I added a D-28 in the early ’70s, that 5-18 was always around and until just last month, never was stored in any sort of case.

When I was short of money the ’80s I took my guitars into a shop in New Jersey and discovered the little 5-18 was worth three-times the value of the D-28. My daughter now has the D-28 and I still have the 5-18 (now at least in a gig-bag). Due to arthritis and other old age complaints, I really cannot play the guitar any more but I discovered the ukulele recently and with only four soft strings, I’m having fun.

The value of the 5-18 keeps climbing so I’m holding on to it. I never have really investigated the instrument but this morning I was hopping around YouTube and found a video of someone playing a 1944 Martin 5-18: the playing is great, the guitar looks almost new, and I had to share …

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