The Martin D-28 has become the company's signature guitar, and with good reason. When you think of acoustic guitars, the typical model that first comes to mind for most people is the dreadnought, the large-bodied steel-string design which now dominates the acoustic guitar market. Martin originated the dreadnought design in the early part of the last century, and today the D-28 represents the archetypical acoustic guitar, and is the standard by which acoustic guitars are judged.
The company's history dates back to 1833, when German immigrant C.F. Martin opened a small musical instrument shop in New York City. He moved the company to Nazareth, Pennsylvania in 1838, where it still operates as a family-owned business, run by the founder's great-great-great-grandson C.F. Chris Martin IV. The guitars produced in the 1800s were mostly smaller, parlor-style guitars, fitted with gut strings, and usually played individually or with smaller ensembles. By the early 1900s, with the advent of recorded music and the increased popularity of larger bands, there arose a need for a louder, more powerful guitar that could be heard over the other band instruments. In 1916, Martin partnered with a large music retailer and produced an early version of the large-bodied dreadnought. The name came from the Dreadnought class battleships that had recently been developed - huge, all-big-gun monsters which, at the time, were thought to be the most powerful weapons on earth, with nothing to fear; hence the name Dreadnought. As the new guitar design was described to be as loud as a canon, the name seemed appropriate. Although it met with limited success when first released, by 1931 Martin had incorporated the dreadnought into its own product line, and with a few further refinements, such as having the neck meet the body at the 14th fret, rather than the 12th, the modern dreadnought was born.
Today, the dreadnought is the most common body style for acoustic guitars worldwide, accounting for about 80 percent of Martin's total sales, with the D-28 being the company's flagship model. It has been a favorite of players from Hank Williams, Tony Rice and Lester Flatt to Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Jimmy Page, and can heard on countless classic recordings. Today, Martin still crafts each D-28 with the meticulous attention to quality and tone that set the standard for the world to follow, with a solid Sitka spruce top, East Indian Rosewood for the back and sides, and ebony fingerboard and bridge, for plenty of power and volume, while still delivering a nice balance of highs and lows. Variants include the D-28P with a high-performance neck; the Marquis model, which is modeled after the highly sought-after pre-war models and features such period-correct touches as an Adirondack top and scalloped braces; the Museum Edition 1941, based on a classic vintage axe on display in the Martin Museum; and artist models like the Clarence White D-28, designed to honor the legendary country-rock pioneer who made his name with the latter-era Byrds, among others. If you're looking for a high-quality acoustic steel string guitar, you might as well go with the Martin D-28 - the quintessential dreadnought, from the company that first developed it and has since perfected it. You can't argue with success - order yours today!
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