Re: Help buying an acoustic
I have been researching Martins; I'm in the market for another acoustic.
Everything below the D15 will be laminated at some part of the instrument. To get an all-solid-wood Martin, you are looking at spending about $1000-1100 (USD) new. Personally, I think that's the "sweet spot" of the Martin lineup, the place where your money will get you the farthest. I have no idea what they go for in the UK but I bet it's more than we would pay here, sorry to say.
The instrument that "nato" posted above is one of the DX series, I think. He's right, it's very good for the money, but it's not in the league of the D18. And yes, you're right, the D18 is a very very nice acoustic.
Many people believe that the Martin D28 (or the HD28 with its herringbone trim, hence the H designation) is the definitive sound of a steel-string acoustic. I'm one of them. For me, that tone is the sound of an acoustic in folk and rock music. But the D28 is $2300. You can get very close to that tone in a guitar with less fancy trim and save a lot of money if you go the D15 or D16 route.
Hope that helps, good luck!