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David Crosby and His Martin D-18dc Signature Series Guitar

Updated on July 6, 2018
Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw started playing the guitar when he was 12 years old. He loves nothing more than to pick one up and pluck some strings.

David Crosby with one of his Martin guitars
David Crosby with one of his Martin guitars

David Crosby, an American Musical Hero

If you live in the English speaking world, then there's no doubt you've heard music in which David Crosby was a big part. He's been a part of some of the finest American bands we've ever had. David Crosby is just a bit of a voice for America, and also all other English speaking people's across the world.

From The Byrds to Crosby, Stills, Nash & sometimes Neil Young, the music involving David Crosby has always been special to so very many persons one must simply take notice of it. It's important music, and passed down from parent to child, as they've taught their children well. David is an imperfect man, and aren't we all? He's that much more to celebrate for his imperfections, they give more meaning to the good in his music.

David is also an active musician. He's got a brand new album titled "Croz," and he reportedly still very much enjoys making music. I'm looking forward to hearing some of it too. So much of the music David Crosby has been a part of is such very special stuff to so very many people, and a lot of it is special to me too. It's music which takes me places, I wasn't even alive when the most famous songs were recorded, but those songs are as much a part of my life as they are those ever-present baby boomer folk.

It's been said David Crosby as a musician is very under-appreciated. I do not doubt this. While he sang lead in some of the early songs by The Byrds, he was still not entirely thought of as the leading man of influence he's truly been. No doubt Crosby's singing of Bob Dylan tunes boosted Dylan's career too. David Crosby literally discovered Joni Mitchell, got her signed to a recording contract. He'd so much foresight and taste he'd introduced The Beatles to Ravi Shankar. What have you been doing with your life to influence the minds of the masses towards tasteful music? Probably, you've not done anything like what David Crosby has done. So he spent some time in a Texas prison, so what? I spent some time in a Texas detention center with someone who'd been in the prison tank with David. I feel like I know the guy in a third party sort of way.

Almost Cut My Hair, The Southern Cross, Wooden Ships, Wasted On The way, those are my favorite tunes involving David from the Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young days. Quite a few other songs stand out well above the crowd of hits from the hippie days too, one of them, Guinnevere, was recorded by none other than Miles Davis. That's the kind of respect David Crosby gets from master musicians, some of the best we've ever seen from the USA record David.

The Unique head stock of the Martin D-18 David Crosby
The Unique head stock of the Martin D-18 David Crosby | Source
The Unique head stock of the Martin D-18 David Crosby
The Unique head stock of the Martin D-18 David Crosby | Source

The Martin D-18 David Crosby

The Martin D-18DC is another fine D-18 guitar. As all of them are, it's a standard Martin dreadnought as designed in the 1930s. Solid mahogany back and sides, solid spruce top, and every D-18 ever made has an amazing tone for the combination of woods and the Martin X bracing. Master builders of guitars are employed by C.F. Martin & Company; craftsmanship of the highest order on every Martin instrument.

D-18 guitars are usually not as ornate as D-28 guitars, and this is something aficionados of fine guitars have always wanted something done about. Well, this is one of the several signature series instruments of the D-18 persuasion which is done up quite fancy. Both Jimmy Buffett and Gordon Lightfoot also have Martin D-18 signature series guitars, and if one searches for one and has the money to buy it, either of those and this one can be found. This Martin David Crosby guitar, well, finding it may prove problematic, only two hundred and fifty of these guitars were made.

The D-18, of course, can be dressed up as nicely as any D-28 can; or, one could think it could be more beautiful still, depending upon your tastes. One way a lot of people think to make the D-18 more lovely is to use quilted mahogany. The David Crosby guitar employs the use of of quilted mahogany. It's a gorgeous wood.

The other major thing to fancy up a D-18 is to, of course, put more inlay on it. Mr. Crosby's been a part of a lot of great songs involving sailing themes. The nice inlay of the sailboat on the headstock of the D-18DC is pretty gosh darn cool, in my opinion, and David shares my opinion. The rosette of this instrument is also unique. Lots of abalone inlay on this guitar's rosette. It shines, it sparkles, it's dazzling, it's a 45' style rosette, as is the back purfling. David's signature is found between the 19th and 20th frets in inlay, and his actual signature is on the interior label.

The soundboard of this instrument is atypical for a D-18. Rather than using sitka spruce or Adirondack spruce, David Crosby chose Engelmann spruce for his guitar's soundboard. While Engelmann spruce isn't often as productive towards volume as are either sitka or Adirondack spruce, Engelmann is thought to provide more overtone and complexity when played softly.

The quilted mahogany back and sides, the Engelmann spruce top, the signature, and the sailing ship inlay; combined with the extreme rarity of this instrument makes this guitar a must have for the collector or the lucky man with the cash in hand who finds one for sale. The price for these guitars is only ever going to rise, and on that sad day when David passes, the instrument will become the most sought after guitar for fans there is.

The Martin D-18DC

Crosby Stills & Nash - The Southern Cross Live

© 2014 Wesman Todd Shaw


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    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      I've been away for over a year. Grandchildren will trump this stuff each and every time!

      A new guy recently took over for Bob Taylor, think his name is Andy Powers. He's redesigning some of the Taylor designs

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Martins never lose their value. I have noticed Taylor is building some pretty decent sounding guitars in their auditorium models. A friend who plays with us sometimes at the barbershop has one but my HD28 kicks its butt. Haven't heard from you in a while, I have about quit writing anything for hub pages. Too busy with grandchildren.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Fiddleman! I had a D-18GE, then I sold it when out of work and money. I doubt I'll ever stop regretting that decision. On the upside, I could use it to motivate myself to make the cash to get another!

      There are now more great guitar builders who copy Martin that it would be impossible to have a complete list. Some of the copies are absolutely fabulous though, and if you can get one for less than a Martin, it's a good deal!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Wish I had an old Martin D18, 1953 maybe. Gary has a Golden Era, we went to Gruens to kick tires and look at a 60's D18 and decided on the new Goden era. It is a great guitar, now about 12 years old. We had Dan Lashbrook set it up. Gary has a Caleb Smith on order, should get it the first of the year. Caleb is the guitarist for Balsam Range and makes a great guitar. Seems there are s lot of local luthiers now making guitars, most pretty good but all after the Martin pattern.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Well thank you very much and you are very very welcome! As much as I like that particular song, I think I like "Wasted On The Way" even better...but it's a tough call, a coin toss.

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Seeing the Southern Cross live was a beautiful thing. Thanks.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Say, can I have some of your purple berries? CHEERS BILLY!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I always enjoy this series of articles. I grew up with Crosby...the man is a legend....I'll be humming "Wooden Ships" till the day I die.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Well thank You! I don't guess I'd done anything anywhere in about three weeks. Oh I just had stuff about guitars, fiddles, mandolins, etc drilled into my head constantly by my mom's father when I was a kid. He was forever buying, repairing, selling guitars and such :)

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      6 years ago from Jamaica

      I am so fascinated with your knowledge of guitars. I heard about David Crosby but didn't know anything about the man. Well written piece, glad to see you publishing something new.


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