The Martin D-45 is the flagship of the iconic guitar manufacturer’s Standard Series, a finely crafted masterpiece featuring premium tonewoods and hand-inlaid pearl appointments in an elegant package that represents the top-of-the-line model among Martin’s standard production dreadnoughts. The D-45 was originally produced in 1933 at the request of singing cowboy Gene Autry, who wanted “the biggest, fanciest Martin” he could get, like his idol, “The Singing Brakeman” Jimmie Rodgers, who played an ornate, custom-ordered 000-45 model dubbed The Blue Yodel. At that time, Martin had recently begun selling the larger, more powerful dreadnought models under their own name, and this became the basis for Autry’s ornately decorated signature axe. Martin first developed the dreadnought model, named in honor of the formidable WWI-era class of battleships due to its louder, more powerful design, in partnership with the Oliver Ditson music publishing company in 1916. After that company folded, Martin introduced the dreadnought, or D-model line, under their own name in 1931, and with a few refinements, this has become the standard design for the majority of steel-string acoustic guitars sold today. Because the high-end model was out of the reach of most players during the Depression years, these rare, pre-war D-45s are today among the most expensive vintage guitars on the market.
Characterized by a loud, clear, well-balanced tone, the typical dreadnought features a back and sides made of mahogany or other tonewood, a solid spruce top with Martin’s legendary scalloped X-bracing for superior tonal response, mahogany neck with 14 frets clear of the body (although the earliest models had 12-fret-clear necks) and 25 1/2” scale length. The different numbers in the D-series denote the level of trim or ornamentation, with the lower numbered models generally being the least decorated, and the higher numbers sporting more intricate inlays and binding. The D-18, for instance, is elegantly simple in appearance, with a little single-layer binding on the top, a soundhole rosette, and dot markers on the fretboard. The D-45, on the other hand, boasts over 900 pieces of abalone pearl inlaid around the soundhole, top, back, sides and fretboard extension, elegantly inlaid headstock and fretboard markers, and other choice appointments, depending on the specific model. The result is a stunning instrument that sounds incredible and looks even better, the cream of the crop of Martin’s legendary guitar-making expertise. The Martin D-45 has been the acoustic guitar of choice for legendary performers ever since Gene Autry got “Back In The Saddle Again,” from other country stars like Hank Williams, Sr. and Travis Tritt to rock icons Stephen Stills, David Crosby and Neil Young. Today, the D-45 is available in several configurations, including standard, vintage and Retro versions, as well as a spare-no-expense period-correct 1942 reissue, which features materials and building methods faithful to the classic pre-war models, right down to the hot hide glue used in its construction. Whether you’re left-handed or right-handed, an old pro or a young player who demands only the best, the Martin D-45 will suit you well. It is a legend among legends - order yours today and see why.