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1995 Martin D-18 Golden Era information and tracker

I have recently become interested in the Martin D-18 Golden Era from 1995. This was a limited edition guitar from 1995 and is not the same guitar as the "D-18GE" that has been a popular model in the Martin line-up since its introduction in 1999 (I wrote about my 2002 D-18GE previously). The 1995 Golden Era is roughly based on a 1937 D-18 and was the first Martin to bear the "Golden Era" name; it was followed the next year by the 12-fret 000-28 Golden Era and in 1998 with the 00-21 Golden Era. See an advertisement for the 1995 D-18 Golden era here (along with the 000-42 Eric Clapton model and D-35 30th anniversary edition). In addition, the good people at Martin supplied me with the spec sheet for this model. They noted the guitar was known as the "D18VGE," which is name I haven't heard before for this instrument.


According to the Johnson, Boak, & Longworth (2009) reference book, the 1995 D-18 Golden Era was produced with a natural sitka spruce top (272 instruments) or sunburst top (48 instruments) and listed for $3100 ($3320 for the sunburst model). They note that:

Many features were copied directly from at 1937 D-18, including: original mahogany stain color, black binding, small abalones dot pattern on neck, Brazilian rosewood headplate with old-style decal, hot stamp burned in reinforcing center strip, cloth strips on sides, 1 3/4" V-neck, 2-5/16" spacing at bridge, long bone saddle, bone nut, chrome vintage-style tuners; other features simialr to later D-18V. This first version of the D-18GE did not have an Adirondack spruce top like the later GE Series model. (pg. 139)

Click on the image above to see a PDF of the spec sheetAnother notable feature is that the 1995 model lacks a tongue brace (a.k.a., popsicle brace), similar to early D-18s. The sitka spruce top and lack of a tongue brace are two of the key differences with the later D-18GE (1999 to current; based on a 1934 model), which has an adirondack spuce top and includes a tongue brace.

I find this guitar particularly interesting because 1995 is right at the up-turn in Martin production; it was among the first vintage-inspired models that have now become a staple for Martin and other manufacturers. For example, the 1985 D-18V sold 56 units, the (non-traditional) HD-18LE sold 51 in 1987, 15 1989 D-18 Specials, and 215 D-18 Vintage in 1992. In 1995, Martin built 589 "regular" D-18s and 320 of these limited edition guitars, so relatively speaking the Golden Era was a success. Maybe this showed Martin that the "lowly" D-18 could still be popular on the market and justified the development of the later "GE" series.


Click here to check out some 1995 D-18 Golden Era videos >>

Based on some sleuthing around on the internet and tracking of various guitars on ebay and guitar shop websites, and contributions from folks who have stumbled upon this page, I have started a registry of serial numbers and prices, when available, of 1995 D-18 Golden Eras:

Serial numbers known:

Serial numbers unknown (i.e., some of these could be the same instruments and/or listed above):

*For sale, at least the last time I checked...

If you have a 1995 D-18 Golden Era (or have information about one), please contact me here; I'd love to hear from you and add your guitar to the list above.

Reader Comments (13)

I have a 1995 Martin golden era d18 serial number 563006. Not much info about it. Just a great guitar!

March 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMitch Ball

1995 D-18 checking in
i can provide further info about it if need

April 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

just picked up a 1995 Natural Martin D-18 Golden Era
serial # 559432
100% original * 8.5 condition

April 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobbie Cantrell

Thanks to everyone who has provided info about their guitar...12 serial numbers recorded; 318 to go!

April 30, 2014 | Registered CommenterBen

Hey Benjaminle,
I have two 1995 d-18 Golden Era's. A natural and a sunburst. The natural top is 564046, and the sunburst is 560627. My two most favorite guitars on the planet. The sunburst is pretty well know in the local bluegrass jams. I can give you more info if you want, but I'll leave that up to you...(how long do you want to listen to me ramble....lol).

June 1, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjmstern

Thanks jmstern-- It's awesome that you have one of each; great catch(es)! I just got a call from Martin that mine is ready to be picked up. It was in for a loose brace and bridge. Looking forward to having it back for summer festival/jamming season. I'm happy to hear you gush about yours as much as you'd like :-) Or if you have any links, I can post them.



June 1, 2014 | Registered CommenterBen

Here are a couple of videos of my '95 D-18 Golden era Sunburst. It almost always seems to need new strings the minute I am getting ready to record something...lol. Just realize the strings are a bit old, but I think it still sounds pretty good.


Fall River Road:

Whiskey Before Breaksfast-Solo

I didn't know if you could ad videos in posts, and no worries if it is too much trouble to get them "link-able". If there's any problems or it looks like it isn't going to work, please feel free to "86" and erase the post.

I still check to see if there any new info on here, about every week. I am really bummed out that I missed the "95 natural top that just passed through the Pickin' Parlour. I would have loved to check that one out (and maybe own it...lol).


September 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjmstern

Thanks JMS...I made a separate page for your videos and linked them in the text above (also see the link below):

Click here to check out some 1995 D-18 Golden Era videos >>

Sorry you missed the guitar at the Pickin' Parlor. Admittedly, I don't google for new available instruments more than every couple of months, so everyone should feel free to drop me a line if there are guitars I should add to the list. Click here to email me.



September 5, 2014 | Registered CommenterBen

I have a natural 1995 D-18 GE and am the original owner. Serial no. 563002. I bought it in late 97 for Christmas after looking and playing many guitars during that fall. It is in mint like new condition ( practice with a Larrivee and a Taylor) and plays incredibly well.

October 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJ McDowell Platt

I have a natural 95 d-18 limited edition #562682, 9 condition.

November 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdrew

Just came across this site..looking for a D-18 GE 1995? preferably Sunburst...

June 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSteven

I have one serial # 562680

June 29, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterpaul c

I currently own serial # 559110 - Natural that was at Glen Rose Music. I traded a 1944 Kay C-1 upright bass for it. I played it last night with some friends and they were most impressed with how it sounded with the rest of the music we were making. It is a keeper!

August 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

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