The Baby Martin Model 5-18 – Year 1960

1960 Martin Model 5-18

1960 Martin Model 5-18

This guitar was purchased by my parents, for my older sister in 1960. I had some difficulty determining the vintage of this guitar, but obtained the serial # 179781.

Source: confirms the year of manufacture as 1960.

I recall the guitar was supplied with wire-wound, nylon core strings. I believe the internal bracing was designed for a lighter string tension. This guitar may have been re-fitted with steel strings in the ensuing years, but knowing Martin’s reputation, this may not be an issue of concern.

The finish is in good shape, a few nicks here and there, but overall a very well preserved instrument. The voicing is sweet, with a bright attack and mellow resonant tone. These guitars are still made in the LX1 and other new-styled models.

I believe Marty Robbins is attributed to have used this model through much of his career. Here is a photo of Marty with the guitar.

Marty Robbins with the Martin Model 5-18 1960's vintage

Marty Robbins with the Martin Model 5-18 1960's vintage

Photo Courtesy of:

I would love to record using this guitar, but it lives four-hundred miles away… My next visit will include installing the Fishman pickup, and recording a few clips. When I have completed this, I will post the clips on my Podcast site:

This guitar is really a wonderful design, easy to play and hold for small children, but a real guitar for serious musicians as well. This guitar will remain in our family forever and will never be sold, even though the current value is approximately $2,500.00.

Thank you for reading my review of the Martin model 5-18 guitar. Please do leave a comment and let me know what you liked about this post? Respectfully, Nicholas

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6 Responses

  1. What a wonderful story behind a fabulous guitar- you must be very proud of the little fella!


  2. Terence, Thanks for the comment. Yeah, it’s a pretty cool little instrument, I have played it when I’m in the same town as it is in, and it just gets better with age. Respectfully, Nicholas

  3. I have an identical model. 5-18, serial 171914. It was my great uncles and was passed down to me. I do not play and I am considering selling it. Feel free to email me if interested. It is all original with hard case.

  4. That’s awesome!!! I look for acoustic guitars for my boyfriend.And how to choose it.Which brands is the best ?I saw many web about this but your web is the best for me.Thank you.

  5. I have a 1961 Martin 5-18. It is with a master luthier, as it needed some repairs (bridge, tuners). Can’t wait to get it back and be able to play it!

  6. Great story! A long time ago my mother went into a music store because she wanted to learn how to play the guitar. She bought one of these as her first guitar!

    Unfortunately, she gave it away!! I would love to have it as part of my guitar collection.

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