|Manufacturer||C. F. Martin & Company|
|Period||1930 - present|
|Body type||Square-shoulder dreadnought|
|Body||Sitka Spruce top
Rosewood back and sides
|Pickup(s)||L.R.Baggs Element Active|
The Martin D-28 is a six-string acoustic guitar made by C. F. Martin & Company of Nazareth, Pennsylvania, which was established in 1833. It is widely regarded amongst luthiers and guitarists alike as being the classic and even iconic American made acoustic guitar.
This guitar is a Dreadnought design, a naval term adopted and used by many to describe its larger body dimensions, hence the "D" designation. When first created, the dreadnought guitar was seen a less favorable than the standard, smaller size guitars of its time. Sales finally started to take off in 1935, ”when they were given a single illustration on page 12 in the company’s catalog, opposite a Hawaiian model.” The ad read:
- “This is the famous ‘Dreadnaught’ bass guitar, originated by Martin in 1917 and now modernized for the plectrum style of playing. The extra wide and very deep body produces a tone of great power and smoothness, especially fine for broadcasting or recording. Rosewood body, spruce top, ivoroid edges, re-enforced mahogany neck, ebony fingerboard and bridge, wide frets, polished lacquer finish. Dark top on special order at no extra charge.”
First pioneered by Martin in 1931, the D-28 is prized for its booming projection and high quality tone. The first batch of this guitar went exclusively to the Chicago Musical Instrument Company, although this “exclusive” deal didn’t last for long. Originally built around the Martin D-14 Fret platform, early examples included exotic tone woods, such as Brazilian Rosewood, which is no longer available in large quantities due to deforestation and later treaty controls. Original D28 guitars also used standard materials no longer found in current production models. For example, these guitars included a distinct “herringbone” pattern that lined the top of the guitar. However, this styling of the guitar was only made during 1946 as the materials were made in pre-WWII Germany and couldn’t be reproduced elsewhere during and post-war. For various reasons, this “herringbone” version of the guitar (while incredibly similar to the non-herringbone version produced later) will typically be worth more than its non-herringbone variant. Another example of the small differences in the guitar over the years is the replacement from the “diamonds and squares” fretboard inlays to plain dot styling also around this time.
D28s were so popular at one point during the 1950s, that “customers were waiting two years or more for a D-28.”
The modern D-28 is made of several high quality tone woods, featuring a solid Sitka spruce top, Indian Rosewood back and sides and mahogany neck. It uses the classic non scalloped X bracing pattern pioneered by Martin along with an ebony bridge and fret board. Much of the construction is still done by hand although in recent years Martin has adopted modern computer controlled CNC machines to fashion the guitar's neck as well as automated buffing and polishing machines that maintain the overall quality of the finished product. As of 2013, a base model sells for around $2400.00 U.S., however many of the older models that were made in the 40's, 50's and early 1960's command far greater prices.
The D-28 has been made in several variations over the years, including:
- HD-28: The HD-28 is similar in many ways to the D-28, with several key differences. The biggest difference is the forward shifted scalloped braces used in the HD-28. This was said to give the guitar a more “open” sound than its partner the D-28. Cosmetically the guitar also features the herringbone (or “pre-war”) top border and a zigzag, or “zipper” backstrip.
- D28E: A very limited run version of the D-28 with special pickups placed at the end of the fretboard and near the bridge. This guitar is largely viewed as a "mistake" and is considered to be a collectors item although it was notably used in Kurt Kobains famous 1993 MTV Unplugged Performance.
- D12-28: A 12-string version, otherwise the same as its brother the D-28.
Notable users have included John Lennon, Johnny Cash, Paul McCartney, Clarence White, Tony Rice, Hank Williams, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Chris Martin, Noel Gallagher, Jimmy Page, Nick Drake, The Supernaturals, Brad Paisley, Ben Howard, Stephen Stills, John Martyn, Joni Mitchell and Sturgill Simpson.
Construction: Mahogany Blocks/Dovetail Neck Joint
Body Size: D-14 Fret
Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
Rosette: Style 28
Top Bracing Pattern: Standard X
Top Braces: Solid Sitka Spruce 5/16
Back Material: Solid East Indian Rosewood
Back Purfling: Style 28
Side Material: Solid East Indian Rosewood
Endpiece: White Boltaron
Endpiece Inlay: Black/White Boltaron
Binding: White Boltaron
Top Inlay Style: Multiple Black/White Boltaron
Side Inlay: none
Back Inlay: Black/White Boltaron
Neck Material: Select Hardwood
Neck Shape: Low Profile
Nut Material: Bone
Headstock: Solid/Diamond/Square Taper
Headplate: Solid East Indian Rosewood /Raised Gold Foil
Heelcap: White Boltaron
Fingerboard Material: Solid Black Ebony
Scale Length: 25.4
Number Of Frets Clear: 14
Number Of Frets Total: 20
Fingerboard Width At Nut: 1-11/16
Fingerboard Width At 12th Fret: 2-1/8
Fingerboard Position Inlays: Style 28
Fingerboard Binding: none
Finish Back & Sides: Polished Gloss
Finish Top: Polished Gloss
Finish Neck: Satin
Bridge Material: Solid Black Ebony
Bridge Style: Belly
Bridge String Spacing: 2-1/8
Saddle: 16 Radius/Compensated/Bone
Tuning Machines: Chrome Enclosed w/ Large Buttons
Recommended Strings: Martin SP Lifespan Phosphor Bronze Medium Gauge (MSP7200)
Bridge & End Pins: White w/ Black Dots
- Johnston, Richard. Martin Guitars: A History (First ed.). New York: Hal Leonard Books. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-634-03785-6.
.themomi .org /museum /articles /Dreadnoughts /Frets _Mart _Dread _Story .html
- Johnston, Richard. Martin Guitars: A History (First ed.). New York: Hal Leonard Books. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-634-03785-6.
- Johnston, Richard. Martin Guitars: A History (First ed.). New York: Hal Leonard Books. p. 107. ISBN 978-0-634-03785-6.
.martinguitar .com /model /item /204-d-28 .html
.wordpress .com /2013 /11 /21 /d-28-or-hd-28-what-are-the-differences /
- Johnston, Richard. Martin Guitars: A History (First ed.). New York: Hal Leonard Books. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-634-03785-6.
- Johnston, Richard. Martin Guitars: A History (First ed.). New York: Hal Leonard Books. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-634-03785-6.
.martinguitar .com /model /item /194-d12-28 .html
.org /sound .htm
.info /professors /dylans _guitars .htm