Martin D-45 Guitars

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About Martin D-45 Guitars

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-inch 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. If you're not sure a Martin D-45 is right for you, shop the full collection of Martin guitars.

Martin D-45 History

The D-45 is the most famous hand-crafted Martin dreadnought guitar. The first Martin D-45 was custom made for Gene Autry in 1933. That 12-fret model D-45 included pearl inlays on the top, sides, and back. It also had Gene’s name in pearl script on the fingerboard. Then, the Martin D-45 was known for its striking visual appearance. But, it became famous for its superior tone. During the 1930s the D-45 was considered one of the most prized acoustic guitars. Unfortunately, the timing wasn't right. The country was experiencing the Great Depression. So, the D-45 was discontinued in October of 1942. Martin had only made 91 D-45 guitars.

Martin D-45 Sound

The sound of the pre-war vintage Martin D-45 was thanks to its forward-shifted, scalloped X bracing pattern. It's found on Martin’s dreadnought guitars from 1931 to 1939. These D-45 dreadnought acoustic guitars are arguably the most prized in the world. The Martin D-45 sound is often described as having clarity on the high end, and a punchy, defined bass. The pre-war Martin D-45 is said to be the Stradivarius of the acoustic guitar. Today, Martin offers D-45 acoustic guitars that capture the pre-war sound. But, these modern D-45 guitars are much more playable. Martin returned to the vintage forward-shifted scalloped X-bracing pattern for the D-45 Standard. This gives you the chance to enjoy one of the most treasured acoustic guitars sounds in history.

Martin D-45 Construction

The typical Martin D-45 has more than 900 individual pieces of abalone in the bindings and inlays of the top, sides, back, and rosette. It has a large C.F. Martin abalone lettering on the headstock. Abalone hexagon inlays are used as position markers on the bound ebony fingerboard. Solid spruce top, solid rosewood sides, 2-piece back, and traditional Martin bracing pattern generate fantastic tone from this beautiful guitar.

Previous Martin D-45 Guitars

Martin D-45 Koa (Discontinued)

The Acoustic Guitar, with highly flamed Hawaiian koa back and sides, combines the extraordinary beauty of this rare and cherished wood with the power, projection and balanced tonality of Martin's 14-fret dreadnought design. With bass response slightly less than East Indian Rosewood and treble response slightly less than genuine mahogany, koa produces a beautifully balanced, clear tone that is only outshined by the beauty of its honey rippled grain. The D-45 Koa shares appointments with Martin's top-of-the-line D-45.

Martin D-45S Authentic 1936 (Discontinued)

Talk about authenticity, Martin's Authentics Series guitars 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. The D-45S Authentic 1936 is based on a large body D-45 located in their museum, and features Brazilian rosewood back and sides, an Adirondack spruce top, period-correct "45" Authentic-style appointments, and includes gold tuners with hand-engraved butterbean knobs.

Martin D-45V (Discontinued)

The Martin D-45V Acoustic Guitar brings together the best of vintage features and modern guitar technology. Featuring a solid Sitka spruce top, solid East Indian rosewood back and sides, and forward-shifted standard X scalloped bracing, the guitar has amazing, balanced tone. A select hardwood, modified V-shaped neck makes playing a joy, whether you're strumming chords or whipping off a sparkling melody line. A Vintage Belly-Drop In Long Saddle solid black ebony bridge and bone nut assure you'll get the most sustain and response possible from your guitar strings. In addition to the top quality hardwoods, meticulous craftsmanship is evident everywhere: abalone pearl inlays, ivoroid binding, select abalone pearl Style 45 Snoflake fretboard inlays, and a polished gloss with aging toner top finish all combine to create a guitar that bridges past and present with amazing skill.

Martin D-45E Retro (Discontinued)

The flagship of the Retro Series, the Retro Series D-45E Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar is the most ornate instrument that Martin offer in that series, featuring hand inlaid pearl and premium tonewoods. C. F. Martin & Co. is inviting musicians to take a trip back in time with the introduction of a groundbreaking guitar technology available in the new four-piece Retro Series: D-18E, D-45E, HD-28 and OM-28E. Paying homage stylistically and sonically to the iconic classic Martin guitars of the 1930s and '40s, this series features traditional non-cutaway Martin guitars incorporating significant advancements in plugged-in sound reproduction. The series exquisitely captures a sought-after sound, melding traditional models with state-of-the-art technology, and will appeal to musicians and guitar aficionados alike. Martin designers dove back into the rich history residing in the Martin museum and chose world-class examples to use as "tone donors." These guitars include a 1942 D-45, a 1941 D-28, a 1937 D-18 and a 1934 000-28 (long-scale) on loan from Vintage Instruments. Each of these guitars possesses unique tonal characteristics that can be attributed to the passing of time. The premise was to convince the new guitars into electronically behaving as if they were the museum guitars.

Martin D-45 Authentic 1942 (Discontinued)

The Martin D-45 Authentic is made exactly as the company manufactured the original pre-war D-45 Dreadnoughts. This reproduction features an ebony non-adjustable neck rod, solid pearl inlays, premium bookmatched Brazilian rosewood back, sides and headplate, and Brazilian inlays in the top, rosette, side and back. Perhaps one of the most important authentic features of the 1942 D-45 is the 100% hot hide glue construction. Other authentic features include a beveled faux tortoise pickguard, ivoriod binding on the body, soundhole rosette, fingerboard, headstock, heel cap and end piece, gold tuners and a fossilized ivory bridge pins, long saddle and nut, and finished with the thin nitrocellulose polished lacquer, just like the original. This historically-accurate design replicates the feel, sound, look, and essence of a pre-war Martin D-45.

Martin D-45S Authentic 1936 VTS (Discontinued)

Here to remind you why you fell in love with Martin guitars in the first place, the new Authentics, like this Authentic Series 1936 D-45S VTS Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar, are constructed the old way - with hide glue, throughout, and historically-accurate detailing confirmed by using a CAT scan machine located at the Smithsonian Institution. The Authentic Series 1936 D-45S VTS Dreadnought Acoustic Guitaris based on a large body D-45 located in their museum, and features Brazilian rosewood back and sides, an Adirondack spruce top, period-correct "45" Authentic style appointments, and includes gold tuners with hand-engraved butterbean knobs. Martins new Vintage Tone System (VTS) is employed for the top and braces.

Other Martin Guitar Models

Martin Grand Performance | Martin Dreadnought | Martin D-18 | Martin D-28 | Martin HD-28 | Martin D-35 | Martin DX | Martin Dreadnought Junior | Martin Backpacker | Little Martin | Martin 0 | Martin 00 | Martin 000

Other Martin Guitar Series

Martin 15 Series | Martin 16 Series | Martin 17 Series | Martin Modern Deluxe Series | Martin Authentic Series | Martin Performing Artist Series | Martin Retro Series | Martin Road Series | Martin Standard Series | Martin X Series | Martin Custom