Dreadnought: The Martin D-28 Guitar

The Beginnings Of The Martin D-28
The  shape of the body of the guitar which would become the venerable Martin D-28 was made with a wider waist than was thought customary at the time and a much deeper body. This guitar design first appeared in 1916 on a range of guitars made by a partnership of the C.F. Martin guitar company of Nazareth, Pennsylvania and the Oliver Ditson Company, a retail and wholesale distributor with outlets in Boston and New York. Very few examples of this guitar style exist today, and should one present itself to collectors, it would fetch a huge price.

The D-28 Enters Hits The Market In Full Production
In 1931, C.F. Martin introduced the D body shape guitars, the D-1 and the D-2. The D stands for Dreadnought which is the name for the largest  of British battleships. Extremely limited numbers of the D-1 and D-2 were made and they have become the most collectible of all guitars. When the guitar went into full production, it was entered into the familiar Martin guitar numbering system. The system consisted of a letter of the alphabet to designate body size and shape and was followed by a number to indicate the style of finish and woods used. There were many of the D-Series guitars that were made. Some were less fancy than others using mahogany wood for the body. Some of the D-Series guitars were very ornate with herringbone trim features and exotic woods. The Martin D-28 used a Brazilian rosewood for the body and that is what has found its way into the souls of guitarists from all genres of music.

The King Played A Martin D-28 And Made It Cool
Why did country and rockabilly stars such as Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Hank Snow and George Jones pick the Martin D-28? Well, the D-28 put out a big booming rhythm sound full of big fat bass but it would also cover the upper ranges equally as well. This sound was perfect for rockabilly, country music and bluegrass music. And the rest, as they say….is history.

The D-28 Is Still Handmade After All These Years
The D-28 has stayed largely the same shape since 1934. The construction has changed a little over the years with only slight variations on the original design.  East Indian rosewood is now used in the construction of the guitar instead of the original Brazilian rosewood. Martin has also reduced the size of the neck and made some alterations to the herringbone trim features. C.F. Martin still calls its guitars “hand made” — because they are still handmade the way they used to be made. The Martin D-28 Dreadnought is easily the most copied guitar of all-time  because it is  most desired guitar of all-time.


 (1956) Elvis With His Martin D-28  The Special/Limited Edition Elvis D-28 Elvis’ Hand-Tooled Leather Cover For His D-28

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