The industry has historically imitated MARTIN D28 as the flagship of the Martin D-type guitar

2022-06-07 11:50:18

House of Strings


Historically, the industry imitated the Martin D-type flagship - David Mead walks into the Tone Zone column.


When you pick up a Martin D28, you will deeply realize that you are not just picking up a guitar, but a piece of musical history, a symbol. Only Gibson's Les Paul models and Fender Stratocasters have ever been compared. This acclaimed D-shaped guitar also has many loyal fans in the music industry, such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and even John Lennon. Therefore, its status need not be repeated. Of course, most of these musicians were using pre-1969 versions of the D-28, which have been known to have undergone numerous design changes. This time we are going to talk about the latest D-28. Is this legendary piano still worthy of its name?

Martin D28


production skills

For us, it's easy to compare this to his pre-1969 models, with the herringbone trim removed, and more importantly, Indy rosewood instead of Brazilian rosewood, and so on. However, I don't think this is fair to this violin. I believe that the new D28 should be examined objectively and compared with its peers, so let's talk about it from the production side.



The configuration of the body material should be familiar to us. Sitka spruce top, Indy rosewood back and sides (Brazilian rosewood 69 years ago). However, Martin Company recognized the importance of sustainable wood development before other companies, so it also converted the rosewood configuration to Indy Rosewood before other companies. The spruce panels are made of high-grade materials.

Although some people criticize the chromatic aberration and tan stripes of today's spruce panels, these stripes will naturally mature to an amber color after a period of use. We can see beautiful patterns on the back and side panels of rosewood. The book folio symmetry is presented based on the centerline of the decoration, which is also a feature that Martin has always insisted on.


A composite material called Boltaron is used for the body frame protector and heel patch, a new change from the traditional look. These parts are supposed to protect the entire body properly and follow the traditional guitar look.

The neck is mahogany, although Martin himself did not specify the material in the product manual. Still, from the pattern and smell of the material, combined with the experience of Martin that I have handled over the years, it should be unparalleled. Near the headstock, we can see the most classic diamond-shaped design. Martin has a proud work, and the tuners are undoubtedly Grovers.

Looking closely at the fingerboard part, we can see Martin's iconic thick whole ebony fingerboard; the frets are medium thickness and perfectly inlaid on the fingerboard, without any rough burrs and blocking sense, one of the things I like about it too.

Both the nut and the bridge

Both the nut and the bridge are made of bone, the latter being a chamfered compensated (16" scale) bridge firmly inlaid into the ebony bridge.

Sitka spruce support bars

Looking at the interior, although it cannot be directly observed, the internal structure adopts Martin's classic X structure, using Sitka spruce support bars to achieve the classic Martin sound.

In general, the manufacturing skills of the piano are undoubtedly worthy of the title of the world's top musical instruments. It is also worth mentioning that there is no cumbersome and waste inside the guitar body, only the iconic boat-shaped backplate middle beam. It's time for us to pick up this piano and play a few chords to hear it!

sound quality

I think you should know very well that when you pick up a high-quality instrument, you will immediately feel it, and yes, the first moment I picked up the D28, I felt this way. The first time I picked it up, I played hard for nearly an hour, knowing that not all guitars make me do this. The matte thin neck makes me feel like the hand and neck are almost one. Fingerpicked chords and intense strumming are both very easy.

Speaking of sound, I still want to say that Martin's iconic sound has been imitated, never surpassed, almost like a fingerprint, etched on every Martin guitar. You hear that sound, and you're like, ah, that's Martin's sound, and that's that classic sound featured on many albums.

 It has a sweet character but never loses its power, the deep body creates a full midrange response, and the sustain is unmatched by any other brand. Then we have to mention the low frequency; Martin's low-frequency response is often referred to as a "piano-like" sound. From the D28, we can more easily feel this quality. Martin's biggest feature is not in a specific frequency band but the clarity of each frequency band.

This time, I specially tuned the strings to DADGAD, and I am very happy to tell you that D28 also has an excellent performance in this tuning. People have been debating whether the D-type is suitable for fingerpicking, and in this regard, I give the D28 more than a few points, but excellent. Of course, what I said doesn't count; you can look at Michael Hedges and his D-28 (not the pre-69 version); I believe he is certainly an expert in fingerstyle (laughs).

concluding statement

I kept reminding myself that this time I got a new piano and that his voice would be more mature. Of course, I wouldn't hesitate to take it now and do a show or something. For a serious musician, this is your choice. He's a hard worker, serving your recordings and lives with his classic sound and unique history. I don't care who argues this with me, so I say Martin is still making top-notch instruments like before.

(David Mead)



The sound characteristics of this "music maker" are very characteristic! The back and sides are Indy rosewood, the top is Sitka spruce, and the 20-fret ebony fingerboard is firmly bonded to the mahogany neck.

Pick up this piano and play it; you will feel like the world's top musicians are walking with you. At least they can't do without this classic work.


technical parameter:

Producer: Martin Guitar

Model: D-28

Type: Dreadnought

Panel: Sitka Spruce

Back & Side: Indy Rosewood

Neck: Mahogany

Fingerboard: Ebony

Number of products: 20 products

Tuner Brand: Grover

Nut width: 43mm

Chord length: 645mm

Original Strings: Martin SP Lifespan Medium Gauge

Left hand: optional

Case: Martin Custom TKL


Guitar Test Results

Pros: Professional musician performer's choice, Martin's iconic flagship

Cons: I don't particularly miss the herringbone pattern; maybe you like it.

Overall review: A great instrument, from a professional producer, not just a great instrument, but a piece of history, and buying it won't break your bank.



Build Quality: 90

Sound quality: 90

Cost performance: 100