Martin D-28 Guitars

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About Martin D-28 Acoustic Guitars

Since its 1931 debut, the Martin D-28 has remained the standard by which all large-bodied, steel-stringed guitars are measured. The tone of the Martin D-28 acoustic guitar is what separates it from all others. It has a solid Sitka spruce top with glossy finish, special East Indian rosewood for the polished back and sides, and genuine ebony fingerboard and bridge. With its rich, resonant warmth and punchy volume, the D-28 is particularly well-suited to music styles requiring loud, powerful rhythm accompaniment. Each includes a Martin deluxe hardshell case and limited lifetime warranty. You might find some models with an additional letter, as with the D-28E (for electronics) and the D-28L (for left-handed).

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 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.

Birth of the Martin D-28 Dreadnought

The name came from the Dreadnought class battleships that had recently been developed. The battleships were 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. The very first dreadnought guitars were designed and crafted by C. F. Martin & Co. in 1916, but marketed in Boston and New York exclusively under the Oliver Ditson brand. Originally made for Hawaiian slide playing style, the very first dreadnought made was a Model 222 shipped to Ditson in August of 1916. After Ditson went out of business in the early 1930s, Martin introduced the D-1 and D-2 dreadnoughts for standard playing style that would soon become Martin’s iconic D-18 and D-28 models.

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.

Variations of the Martin D-28 Acoustic Guitar

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, go with the Martin D-28, the quintessential dreadnought, from the company that first developed it and has since perfected it. If you're not sure a Martin D-28 is right for you, shop the full collection of Martin guitars.

The Martin D-28 VTS (Vintage Tone System)

The flagship dreadnought with Martin's special historic torrefaction system for great tone and a mature look. A Martin D-28 VTS acoustic dreadnought is where vintage sound meets modern playability and craftsmanship. These guitars capture the highly-collectible vintage sound and tone of Martin’s Golden Era, the 1930s. This time period produced arguably the finest steel string acoustic guitars in the world. Martin guitars from the 1930s are considered the definitive benchmark for the acoustic steel string guitars. With Martin’s revolutionary Vintage Tone System (VTS), they are able to target the sound of Martin guitars within a ten-year period. Martin’s VTS is a proprietary temperature aging process that allows Martin to target the sound of their vintage acoustic guitars within a decade. Martin has honed this process by benchmarking some of the finest examples of their 182-year history, found in their Nazareth, PA museum.

Once they have aged the D-28 top to the correct moisture content and look of the period, it is ready to be placed on only the finest custom and authentic models. With the custom HD-28 VTS, they selected a premium-grade of Sitka spruce for the top, and temperature age it to target the sound of the 1930s. They then combined this VTS top with the precision and playability of a modern D-28 to create a dreadnought guitar that has an extraordinary sound, with the playability of modern precision and technology. The D-28 VTS has a clear, defined treble and midrange tone, with a very balanced, punchy bottom end.

The Martin D-28E (E is for Electronics)

Early versions of the D-28 with electronics featured the Martin Thinline Gold+Plus Acoustic Pickup System. Its patented design solves the age-old problems of string balance, string spacing and wire-hole placement. That means you can use this pickup on virtually any acoustic guitar. Martin crafts the Thinline pickup using a highly sensitive copolymer specifically formulated for it. The short distance from the undersaddle pickup to its internally mounted preamp maintains signal integrity. The preamp is designed for guitars that are amplified at high volumes, especially full-size guitars like the D-28. The Martin Gold+Plus Pickup is voiced to control boominess and to provide extra brightness. It's recommended for musicians in situations where your D-28 needs to stand out and sound natural without feedback. The Martin Thinline Gold+Plus Pickup's preamp circuitry gives a battery life of up to 12,000 hours.

The Martin Custom D-28MC (Discontinued)

To provide you with a truly unique instrument, this Martin custom D28MC combines the appointments of Martin's popular D28 and D35 and is mixed with a vintage tone. Limited to a run of 50 pieces, the D28MC features a high-grade Italian Alpine Spruce top braced with Martin's Golden Era 5/16" Forward Shifted Scallop X bracing pattern. The top is decorated with Style 28 maple wood inlays and accentuated with a Delmar tortoise pickguard to keep it protected over time. The body is constructed using precious Madagascar rosewood with a cocobolo center wedge. The guitar has a low profile, solid Honduran mahogany neck with an adjustable two-way truss rod for easy playability. Other features of the D28MC include a 25.4" scale length with a 1-11/16" nut, and 2-1/8" width at the 12th fret, genuine ebony fingerboard enhanced with a Style 28 pearl inlay pattern. The top, body, and fingerboard are all bound in highly flamed koa. To compliment the unique combination of tonewoods, the 3-piece headplate is artistically specked out to include Madagascar rosewood wings with a cocobolo center wedge and decorated with a raised Gold Foil Martin logo. Other features include an ebony bridge, bone nut and saddle, chrome tuning machines, and a 640 molded case.

Martin D-28 Authentic (Discontinued)

Replicates the specs, materials, and processes used in the construction of the original pre-WWII instruments. The Martin D-28 Authentic Guitar is a hand-constructed model that draws its inspiration from a stellar historical example and employs the use of hide glue as well as vintage "T" bar neck reinforcement. Perhaps the most revered vintage D-28s are the ones created in 1937 with forward-shifted hand-scalloped X-bracing, an Adirondack red spruce soundboard and a 1-3/4" neck width. This addition to the Authentic series is a recreation of Martin's original 1937 model offered with a solid Adirondack spruce top, Madagascar rosewood back and sides, solid black ebony fingerboard with diamond and squares. Plus, long pattern 1937 inlays, 28 Style Zig Zag back purfling, an authentic 1937 barrel and heel neck shape, Waverly Nickel tuners with oval knobs, and a 1930s Style belly bridge with long saddle. Other significant features on the Martin D-28 Authentic 1937 guitar include an Adirondack red spruce top with circa 1937 sculpted Adirondack bracing, a nitrate tortoise colored pickguard, Golden Era Style 28 diamonds and squares as fingerboard position markers, grained ivoroid bindings, black ebony fingerboard and bridge, fossil ivory nut and saddle, antique white bridge pins and a vintage style case. Here to remind you why you fell in love with Martin Guitars in the first place, their Authentics Series models, like the D-28 Authentic 1931 are constructed the old way, with hide glue, throughout, and historically-accurate detailing confirmed by using a CAT scan machine located at the Smithsonian Institute. Based on a 1931 D-28 in their museum, this guitar features Madagascar rosewood back and sides, an Adirondack spruce top, and authentic 1931 D-28 appointments, right down to the neck barrel and heel. On the 1931 D-28 Authentic, Martin's Vintage Tone System (VTS) is employed for the top and braces.

Martin D-28P with High Performance Neck (Discontinued)

Redesigned neck to offer a slimmer, faster profile. The Martin D-28P Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar features the High Performance Neck found on Martin's popular Performing Artist series guitars, redesigned to offer a slimmer, faster profile and more comfortable spacing in the first frets and faster action as the player moves up the fingerboard. The bridge spacing has been increased as well to provide more hand comfort when resting on the bridge. The D-28P is constructed of East Indian rosewood on the back and sides that provides this model with the bass response and tonal projection that makes the D-28P the first choice for acoustic musicians.

Martin D-28 Museum Edition 1941 (Discontinued)

This Martin D-28 Museum Edition is an acoustic guitar constructed to the exact dimensions of the 1941 D-28 (Serial #79103) on display in the Martin Museum. The D-28 Museum Edition 1941 Acoustic Guitar blends Authentic Series construction with Marquis Series tonewoods. Solid Adirondack red spruce is carefully bookmatched for the top, and solid Madagascar rosewood is used for the headplate, back, and sides. Martin includes a Harptone case with the D-28 Museum Edition 1941 Guitar. Everything from the X-style, solid Adirondack spruce scalloped bracing to the HD Zig-Zag pattern rosewood back adhere meticulously to the classic Martin pre-war style. Like the original D-28, the Museum Edition is constructed using hide glue and a non-adjustable T-bar neck. For the guitarist or collector with a passion for this timeless Martin guitar design, it doesn't get any better than this.

Martin D-28 75th Anniversary Edition (Discontinued)

The Martin D-28 75th Anniversary Edition Acoustic Guitar is a tribute to the original. It's a tip of the hat to the master luthiers who produced the first D-28 guitar in 1934. The 75th Anniversary Edition Guitar features a solid Adirondack spruce top for excellent resonance and response, and solid Madagascar rosewood back and sides to get that legendary balanced Martin tone. Forward-shifted, 5/16" solid Adirondack spruce scalloped "X" bracing ensures tonal clarity and enhances projection. The Martin D-28 75th Anniversary Guitar also boasts a modified V-shaped select hardwood neck set with a dovetail neck joint for enhanced stability.

Martin Special Edition D-28 Elvis Presley (Discontinued)

The D-28 Elvis Presley Commemorative special edition guitar features back and sides of East Indian rosewood and a top of Carpathian spruce. The combination of these fine tonewoods and 5/16" scalloped top bracing produce a responsive guitar with impressive volume, punch and sustain. It has style 28 purfling around the top and back. The body is bound in grained ivoroid. The Elvis motif of this dreadnought guitar includes a silhouette of the King and his Martin modeled after a famous 1956 photograph ” inlaid in the polished black ebony headplate utilizing mother-of-pearl and black pearl. Small pearl-bordered abalone star position markers and Elvis' signature are inlaid into the black ebony fingerboard. The black Micarta heelcap features his "TCB Lightning Bolt" logo ” a design that originated with the "Taking Care Of Business" pendants Elvis gave to friends ” inlaid in mother-of-pearl. The Special Edition D-28 Guitar has classic 1950s-inspired Martin appointments that include a 1-11/16" neck with diamond volute carved from genuine mahogany and satin finished, Grover deluxe nickel Kluson„¢ tuners with small oval metal buttons, the old style Martin decal logo on the headstock, black ebony fingerboard and belly bridge, genuine bone nut and saddle and a flawless polished gloss lacquer finish with vintage-appropriate light amber aging toner on the top. A special upgrade for this guitar, the Martin Special Edition D-28 Elvis Presley CRV Acoustic is fitted with a custom leather guitar cover with his name across the lower bout. The unique tooled leather cover, originally created by Charles Underwood, made Elvis' D-28 instantly recognizable. It is delivered in a special oversized vintage Geib style hardshell case to accommodate the guitar and cover.

Martin D-28 Louvin Brothers (Discontinued)

The late country and gospel duo, the Louvin Brothers, are the inspiration for this D-28 Louvin Brothers limited edition left-handed model. Based off a D-28 CFM 1955 model, the solid Sitka spruce top is printed with the album artwork from the Louvin Brothers album Satan is Real. The dreadnought 14-fret body is constructed with solid East Indian rosewood and the modified low oval neck is mahogany. The tuners are nickel wafflebacks with oval knobs. The interior label of each guitar will be signed by CFM IV and numbered in sequence with a total run size of 50.

Martin D-28 John Prine (Discontinued)

This beautiful model is limited to only 70 instruments. John Prine played a 1960’s D-28 his whole life, and he wanted his signature model to replicate his coveted Martin guitar. The D-28 John Prine is crafted with an Engelmann spruce top and gorgeous Madagascar rosewood back and sides. The Madagascar rosewood headplate is inlaid with pearl angel wings, a nod to Prine’s masterpiece and most commonly covered song "Angel from Montgomery". The top bears an antique toner finish for a warm, aged appearance. This model also features antique white binding, bone nut and saddle, an ebony bridge, and an ebony fingerboard inlaid with abalone pearl snowflakes. Comes with a very unique case made of a cream tweed exterior and bright red interior.

Martin D-28 John Lennon 75th Limited Edition (Discontinued)

To commemorate John Lennon’s 75th Birthday, the D-28 John Lennon 75th Limited Edition Dreadnought is limited to only 75 instruments. This amazing guitar will be highly sought after for many years and is sure to be a wonderful addition to any guitar enthusiast’s collection. A solid Adirondack spruce top with Vintage Tone System is combined with Madagascar rosewood back and sides for a strong and powerful bass resonance – the back being inlaid with HD-28-style zigzag peace sign marquetry. The Madagascar rosewood headplate is adorned with John Lennon’s famous self-portrait illustration that rests beneath the Martin script logo. This beautiful mother-of-pearl, John Lennon themed design is inlaid throughout this model to make this a truly unique Martin D-28 guitar.

Martin Custom D-28 Brazilian (Discontinued)

This limited edition D-28 is crafted from pre-CITES Brazilian rosewood back and sides, an Adirondack spruce top and forward-shifted scalloped bracing, a combination known to produce a loud and full dynamic range of tone. The D-28 Brazilian model features herringbone top trim and aging toner for that vintage look right out of the case. It is constructed using hide glue, a method that is traditionally found only on Martin's Authentic Series instruments. A low profile neck and Martin strings provide superior comfort and playability, coupled with vintage appointments like antique white binding and Waverly nickel tuners. The D-28 Brazilian model features an interior label signed by Chris Martin, and a laser-engraved Custom Shop Logo with model designation on the front block. A rare and collectable gem of an instrument, this Custom D-28 Brazilian is limited to just 50 instruments.

Martin Limited Edition D-28 1955 CFM IV (Discontinued)

When Martin designed the Limited Edition CFM IV 1955 D-28 acoustic guitar, they took great care to replicate the original 1955 specs as closely as possible. Premium straight-grained Madagascar Rosewood backs approximate the look and tone of the original Brazilian Rosewood version. The top is high-grade Sitka Spruce, and braced in the original rear-shifted, non-scalloped pattern. The D-28 guitar's soundhole rosette is the Style-28 "4- 9-5" black & white lines configuration. A polished and beveled Delmar tortoise-colored pickguard, with period-correct squared bottom, is carefully fitted on top of the polished lacquer finish. The Martin D-28's body is bound in grained ivoroid and Boltaron; the two-piece back is joined with the traditional "checkered" marquetry backstrip, all in the 28 style. The 14-fret, modified "V" neck is carved of Mahogany with the classic diamond volute. Rounded edges are typical of mid-50s Martin headstocks, the result of gradual wearing down of the template over years of use. For authenticity, Martin duplicated this along with a period-correct C. F. Martin & Co. decal, and Kluson nickel-plated, "waffle" covered tuners with oval buttons.

Martin D-28M Merle Travis (Discontinued)

C.F. Martin introduces the D-28M Merle Travis Commemorative Edition guitar to honor Merle Travis' legacy. Merle Travis ranks among the most gifted guitarists ever. Travis was a groundbreaking player on both electric and acoustic whose picking style continues to influence guitarists. Travis was also a fine vocalist, superb songwriter, and pioneering guitar designer. One of his most distinctive guitar designs began with a 1941 Martin D-28 he acquired in 1946. Soon after its purchase, he took the Martin to friend and machinist Paul Bigsby. He had previously collaborated with Travis to create both the Bigsby vibrato and one of the earliest solidbody electric guitars to have the neck replaced with one similar to that on the electric guitar Bigsby made for him. Bigsby obliged, installing a maple neck with his distinctively shaped headstock, Bigsby headstock inlay, six-on-a-side tuners and unique fingerboard position markers. In addition, he replaced the pickguard with an oversized black one that approximated the shape of the new headstock.

Merle Travis liked both the feel and the unique sound of his modified Martin; he played it on virtually every acoustic recording he made from 1946 until his death in 1983. The D-28M Merle Travis Commemorative Edition is modeled after Travis' original modified D-28 Martin, right down to the premium, solid tonewoods. The acoustic guitar's back and sides are rare Madagascar rosewood, a wood prized for its similarity in appearance and tone to the original's now-endangered Brazilian rosewood. The Adirondack spruce top, the same topwood used in 1941, is used for its crisp, powerful tone. Delivered in a hardshell case, each Martin D-28M Merle Travis guitar bears an interior label personally signed by Thom Bresh, Bigsby Guitars President Fred Gretsch, and Martin Chairman C.F. Martin IV, and numbered in sequence. Produced in a limited edition of just 100 instruments, the D-28M Merle Travis acoustic is a great sounding tribute to a truly remarkable guitarist.

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