It's said that when Jim Merrill first showed up at Merlefest in North Carolina with his Martin dreadnaught copies, he was all the buzz, and this instrument is a good demonstration why. Merrill starts with the benchmark of Martin's history, the pre-war D-18, and recreates it to the T. Everything about this one speaks to that glorious cannon, including the amazing straight-grained Adirondack top, nicely selected mahogany back and sides, and Brazilian-topped headstock, with no logo. He finished the top in a custom aged lacquer, so it's got this lovely honey-tone.
But as much as I could go on about the cosmetics and authenticity, it is its tone that really speaks to why Jim was the talk of Merlefest. It is powerful and woody, with the ability to cut through the mix like any good bluegrasser would want. It just sounds huge. The neck is slim with a modest C shape, just as you would expect from a 30's Martin, and the action is set to maximize play for the flatpicker. Comes with the original Cedar Creek tan case, with chocolate interior. Condition is perfect...no baloney. Has a strap button added to the heel, but otherwise is all-original. And like all instruments here, always kept humidified, and seldom played out.
Jim Merrill doesn't make a lot of guitars, and you don't see them around for sale much, particularly these classic Martin copies.