1959 Martin D-18E
It was the first commercial attempt from Martin to create an electric acoustic and it didn't go over very well. Highly collectable due to the limited production run of one year (1958/1959), but the natural tone isn't going to match a non-electric version thanks to all the bulky electronics that required a top bracing change.
Who cares, it's a vintage Martin.
And it's what Kurt Cobain played on MTV Unplugged in 1993. What is visually striking is the guitar looks like something Cobain created himself. "Crunchy" just for him in 1993, not a flatpicker in 1960.
The album, MTV Unplugged in New York, garnered Nirvana’s only Grammy. Posthumously for Cobain.
THANK YOU Martin- though your initial innovation didn't provide the intended sales success, it landed in the hands of an artist helping to define a genre of music and a generation of fans.
Cobain's D-18E went on to sell at auction for approximately $6 mil in June 2020. The highest ever for a guitar at auction.
Mahogany back and sides
Adirondack Spruce top
Two DeArmond pickups
Volume knob and two tone knobs
Three-way pickup selector switch
Pickguard trimmed to accompany pickup