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Martin D-28 Authentic 1937
 
A fantastic vintage-style dreadnought built with Guatemalan rosewood.
August 4, 2022
 

Martin’s 14-fret D-28 has been in continuous production since 1934. But even though the fundamental blueprint hasn’t changed, there are enough variations in construction, bracing, neck shapes, types of rosewood used, etc. that two D-28s from different eras can make you wonder why they share the same model name. For dreadnought aficionados, D-28s made before and during World War II are generally the most prized, but even within this short range of years, variations in neck shape and bracing may lead to instruments with significant differences in feel and tone. Martin first introduced a model with vintage D-28 features in 1976 with its HD-28, and since then Martin has offered numerous vintage-style models alongside standard series D-28s. When Martin introduced the Authentic series in 2005, it was the most historically accurate line of vintage-style guitars the company had ever offered, and over the years, several reproductions of specific instruments have been produced. One of the latest is based on a 1937 D-28, and Peghead Nation’s Scott Nygaard and I recently had a chance to check this model in the Peghead Nation video studio. 

The D-28 Authentic 1937 isn’t a guitar that surprises or innovates; instead, it meets even the highest expectations. Even before tickling the strings, it’s easy to be impressed by the instrument’s craftsmanship and materials. The Brazilian rosewood used on an original vintage D-28 is very expensive and virtually impossible to procure in the quantities needed for a production run, so Martin chose Guatemalan rosewood for the back and sides on the D-28 Authentic 1937. Known as a great tonal alternative to Brazilian, the set used on our demo guitar has an appearance not unlike some of the straight-grained Brazilian used on many vintage Martins. As on an original 1937 D-28, the guitar has an Adirondack spruce top, which Martin treated with its Vintage Tone System process to accelerate the aging process. The D-28 Authentic 1937 is built using hide-glue construction; scalloped, forward-shifted X-bracing; and a genuine mahogany neck with a non-adjustable reinforcement. Of course it has standard style-28 appointments, which include herringbone purfling and long-pattern, diamonds-and-squares fingerboard inlay. The guitar has a glued-in through-saddle, and is protected by Martin’s gorgeous Vintage Gloss finish.

The guitar’s neck, based on the shape of a particular 1937 D-28, is one of the beefier examples I’ve come across on a contemporary steel-string. Measuring 1¾ inches at the nut, the neck has a fairly deep, rounded profile that gets noticeably thicker toward the heel. Players who are used to slim modern necks may need some time to adjust to this neck, but those who like a neck that fills the fretting hand will be delighted to find this shape, which is rare on a non-vintage instrument. Tonally, the D-28 Authentic 1937 is one of the best-sounding new rosewood dreadnoughts we’ve had a chance to play. Our demo guitar has punch, volume, and power; a rich bass without being too boomy; fat trebles; and a dynamic range that allowed for complex tones and overtones regardless of how hard or soft it was played. 

Martin’s Authentic series has long been an impressive testament to the company’s legacy and current capabilities, and the D-28 Authentic 1937 is a fine example of this spirit. Our demo instrument more than delivered the goods, and anyone looking for an excellent vintage-style dreadnought really owes it to themselves to check this guitar out. 

SPECS: 14-fret dreadnought body. Solid Vintage Tone System–treated Adirondack spruce top. Scalloped and forward-shifted Adirondack spruce X-bracing. Solid Guatemalan rosewood back and sides. Genuine mahogany neck with dovetail joint. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.4-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. 2⁵/₃₂-inch string spacing at the saddle. Nickel Waverly tuning machines. Made in the USA. $7,499 (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
 
 
© Copyright 2024 PegheadNation.com