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Martin 012-28 Modern Deluxe and 0012-28 Modern Deluxe
 
A pair of 12-frets that brilliantly combine vintage and contemporary features.
March 2, 2023
 

When Martin introduced its Modern Deluxe line of guitars in 2019, it offered its most radical approach to combining vintage and contemporary features to date. What started with an initial group of four guitars has grown into a line that includes adaptations of several of Martin’s most significant models. As new models have been added, we’ve demoed most of the Modern Deluxes, and as a fan of vintage 12-fret guitars, I was particularly interested in checking out the new 012-28 Modern Deluxe and 0012-28 Modern Deluxe. With the same woods, appointments, and construction details, the two instruments only differ in size, so for the sake of this demo, I mostly treat them as one, though the video has separate playing examples. 

Using Martin’s pre-1934 12-fret versions of the 0-28 and 00-28 as templates, this pair of instruments takes a further step back in time than the other Modern Deluxes, which are based on later 14-fret models. The guitars are built with classic style-28 materials, and though there are some differences in color (the 0 size has a brighter spruce top and a lighter shade of Indian rosewood back and sides than the 00), both were built with high-grade woods, and the tops were treated with Martin’s Vintage Tone System. Like the other Modern Deluxe models, the guitars include several distinguishing design aspects. Construction-wise, the guitars have bridge plates with a layer of carbon fiber, making them ultra-stiff and lightweight. They also include titanium truss rods, extra-hard gold frets, and Martin’s Liquid Metal bridge pins. Visually, the instruments offer a deluxe variation on typical style-28 appointments. Traditional herringbone purfling is augmented by flamed maple binding, and the diamonds-and-squares fingerboard inlay is joined by abalone side-dots and an abalone Martin logo in the slotted peghead. 

Each guitar was a joy to play. With necks that are slightly narrower and more contemporary feeling than those found on most vintage Martin 12-fret guitars, both instruments will appeal to anyone who has been intrigued by similar vintage Martins but has wished for a more modern feel. Both guitars have the classic ultra-clear Martin sound, with the extra dose of bass and richness that tends to come with a 12-fret model. I’d be hard-pressed to choose between the two; I really liked the intimacy and superb balance of the 012-28 Modern Deluxe, but I also appreciated the slight increase in volume and power of the 0012-28 Modern Deluxe. The difference was subtle, so ideally, I’d recommend finding a store that has both in stock so you can try them out yourself. 

The 012-28 Modern Deluxe and 0012-28 Modern Deluxe are based on the earliest Martin designs to receive the Modern Deluxe treatment and both are wonderful guitars. The point isn’t to offer the ultimate vintage recreation, but to infuse the classic designs with a modern feel and tonality, and the result is a fantastic success!

SPECS: 12-fret 0-size or 00-size body. Solid Vintage Tone System–treated Sitka spruce top. Scalloped Adirondack spruce X-bracing. Solid Indian rosewood back and sides. Genuine mahogany neck with dovetail joint. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 24.9-inch scale. 1¹³/₁₆-inch nut width. 2¼-inch string spacing at the saddle. Gold Waverly tuning machines. Made in the USA. $4,399 (list). Martinguitar.com

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    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
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