Martin Model America 1 Review

Domestic tonewoods shine in the Model America 1

America’s premiere guitarmaker makes a premiere guitar from woods all made in America

Specs Include: Solid tonewoods with high gloss nitrocellulose finish, including sycamore back and sides, Adirondack spruce top, 5/16” forward-shifted scalloped Adirondack spruce braces; satin finished cherry High Performance neck with Modified Low Oval profile, and black walnut fingerboard with 1-3/4” width at the bone nut, 2-1/8” at the 12th fret; black walnut bridge with 2-5/32” string spacing at the compensated bone saddle; Corian dot fret position markers, Style 18 top trim and soundhole rosette; open-back tuners with butterbean buttons, faux tortoise shell binding and pick guard

“There is a firmness to the sycamore trebles and a fullness to the bass notes, and a chiseled definition to the center of the voice, thanks to the Adirondack spruce top. The Adirondack effect makes the center of the voice quite straightforward, leaving lots of space behind it, in that almost “vintage openness” sort of way.”

Read the Full Review with Video

a Martin Model America 1 shoulders

Update on D-28 Brazilian and D-45 Brazilian Pricing

List prices on the limited edition Brazilian Rosewood D-28B and D-45B are considerably less than originally reported

$15,999 and $36,000 respectively

When having lunch with the three main instrument designers for C. F. Martin & Co. they could not remember what pricing was ultimately set for these special guitars. There estimate of $20K and $45K turned out to be rather high.

The actual prices will make each guitar more obtainable – except for the fact there are only fifteen 45s being built, and at most fifty 28s.

Please enjoy the following daydream:

Martin D-28 B D-45 B specs 90dpi

Martin D-28B and D-45B Brazilian Rosewood Edition

Martin is making a small edition of Brazilian rosewood dreadnoughts, called the D-28B and D-45B.

They were offered for sale at Summer NAMM in Nashville (currently happening this weekend.)

I remembered to ask about this while having lunch with a group of folks from Martin executives and senior management, just before I returned to NYC. They could not remember off hand exactly how many D-28B and D-45 guitars are being made. But it is an equal number, and Martin dealers are required to buy one of each if they want any at all.

So, to be able to sell the $20K list price D-28B, a dealer must also purchase for sale the $45K list price D-45B. Prices are approximate, as they were speaking off hand in a restaurant out of town, so the specifics where not readily available.

UPDATE: As promised here is more information about these models.

* They are making 15 D-45B instruments. They are making the same amount of the D-28B.

* Both instruments are made with hide glue construction throughout.

* Both instruments have Grade 8 Adirondack spruce tops.

* Both instruments get bracing pattern DOMLE #3A, which I believe translates to “forward shifted.” (DOM means 14-fret dreadnought, LE means limited edition, i.e. not standard.)

* The 45 gets GE scalloped bracing.

* The 28 gets Standard scalloped bracing. (i.e. Vintage Series, D-45, 42, 41, HD-28)

* Both instruments have the traditional fingerboard taper.

* The 45 gets a 1-3/4″ Modified V neck

* The 28 gets a 1-3/4″ Low Profile neck

* Both instruments get the drop-in long saddle with 2-5/16″ spacing.

* The 45 gets grained ivoroid binding

* The 28 gets Antique White boltaron binding.

* The 28 gets the fine herringbone purfling, long-pattern diamonds and squares fret markers, zig-zag back strip of the Marquis/GEs.

* The 45 gets the snowflakes fingerboard, mitered corners on the purfling, and wood fiber trim of the Marquis/GEs.

* Both instruments get Aging toner, but the 45 does not get it on the purfling or rosette. (Same toner currently used on the Standard OM-28 and new D-28.)

If you are interested, I would write Martin and ask for a list of dealer who bought them.


Martin D-28 2017 vs. 2016

Sneak Preview of My Summer NAMM Martin Reviews

This supplemental video was shot just after I recorded the new D-28 for One Man’s Guitar’s exclusive review – which will be the first one published

The following audio was mixed quickly and synched to video on a tablet at the hotel last night, and the video was put together on the bus back to NYC this afternoon.

The mix and synch of the actual video will likely be somewhat different.

While at the Martin Guitar Factory, it was my hope to not just test drive the newly made-over D-28, but to do do a direct comparison with the previous version, which remained virtually unchanged for 30+ years. And that did come to pass.

The two guitars were recorded back and forth in one continuous session. I just picked up one and played the first thing that came off my fingertips and then tried to repeat it on the other one, after placing the first on the same guitar stand. That is why the guitars are sometimes shifted toward the large diaphragm mic, as I kept turning that way to switch the D-28s.

In addition to some cosmetic upgrades, the real game changer is the top bracing, which has been moved to the “Forward Shifted” position, while retaining its non-scalloped shaping. This is the first time forward-shifted non-scalloped bracing as appeared on a cataloged Martin guitar, let alone a D-28.

The full review should be out in two or three days.

The thumbnail for the video was supposed to be of the 2017 model. I expect Youtube will change it eventually.


Martin D-28 John Prine Review

An American Original Honored by America’s Premiere Guitarmaker with the D-28 John Prine

The composer of Angel from Montgomery has earned his wings from C. F. Martin & Co. along with an angelic signature model

Specs include: All solid tonewoods including Madagascar back and sides, Engelmann spruce top with Antique toner, ebony fingerboard and bridge, scalloped 5/16” Adirondack spruce braces; high gloss nitrocellulose finish; long-scale, satin finished genuine mahogany neck with Modified V profile, 1-11/16” width at nut, 2-1/8” string spacing; bone nut, compensated saddle, and bridge pins; Vintage Style 45 abalone snow flake fret markers; ‘50s style rounded headstock corners, enclosed chrome tuners with large buttons, pearl angel wings inlay; Antique White binding; custom cream tweed case with red interior; signed and numbered interior label

“With twinkling trebles, warm clear-cut mids, and a succulent bass, its distinctive fundamental notes front a subtly complex harmonic array, filled with delightfully sweet overtones and a roomy translucent undertone awash with whispery, ethereal hues. In other words, the John Prine signature model is an absolute charmer.”

Full Review with Video

Martin D-28 John Prine in concert

Some Clarification from Martin on the New Models

I have gotten some confirmation from within Martin on the following:

Typos on the spec sheets – All instances of 2-3/16″ string spacing are incorrect.

All models with the High Performance taper have string spacing of 2-5/32″. The change was universal when they first made it. If you see 2-3/16″ on the spec sheet of a current model it is a typo. I saw at least three models listed that way in the past couple of days.


The new D-28 (2017) – it is NOT a typo that it has forward-shifted non-scalloped braces.

I had expected this makeover to go with scalloped bracing, as the D-18 had.

But after the sonic success of the GPC-28E, they decided to add forward-shifted bracing to the D-28, but keep the braces non-scalloped. I can’t wait to hear the results in person. I liked the sound of the GPC-28 a lot.

The GPC-28E, OMC-28E, 00-28, and soon to be released GP-28E and OM-28E are all moving to this new styling, with the aging toner and tortoise guard, antique white binding and mother of pearl dots of the new D-28. This decision came pretty late, so the latter two were not ready for the show.

The 00-28, and all OMs are retaining their scalloped 1/4″ bracing. But we can expect to see all large guitars made in Standard Style 28 to have non-scalloped bracing from now on.

I got a “probably soon” as to if the current OM-28 was going to lose the herringbone, short pattern diamond fret markers and grained ivoroid binding.

I got silence regarding the 000-28. But may learn something soon.

Likewise nothing on the HD-28, but I assume it is safe for now since the D-28 did not get scalloped bracing or herringbone.


The Jason Isbell model – spec clarification

Tim Teel confirmed this guitar has Golden Era style bracing and bridge plate – except it is rear-shifted. That is a first that I know of, unless someone has ordered customs like that. I bet it is a monster. Can’t wait to see and hear for myself.

It has High Gloss thin finish, not the Vintage Gloss of the Authentics. The spec sheet currently says “Gloss.”

That’s all for now.

Martins for Summer NAMM 2017

A little something for everyone as Summer NAMM Martin guitars are officially announced

Including the NEW D-28

 Beloved personalities honored with unique models, and the Standard Series receives a half dozen new acoustic-electric models without cutaways!

Exclusivee in-depth reviews of many of these new Martins will follow in the coming weeks.

Although Summer NAMM does not open its doors until July 13, 2017, C. F. Martin & Co. has officially announced their new guitars ahead of time, creating some heated buzz as summer gets underway.

The NEW 2017 D-28

Only about time the D-28 got the makeover similar to the D-18, combining specs of the now defunct Vintage Series with the today’s High Performance neck. The looks are that of a post-war D-28, but with forward-shifted bracing. I have confirmed this is not a typo – model has forward-shifted NON-scalloped braces – the first cataloged dreadnought with this spec.

NAMM D-28 2017 1

List Price: $3,299

Beloved Personalities Honored

NAMM Jason Isbell D-18 1 NAMM d-boak Inside Out 1 NAMM Ed Sheeran Martin X 3

d-boak Inside Out

Martin’s own Dick Boak has been honored with a special edition celebrating his artwork and his long career at C. F. Martin, which comes to a close in January as he takes a well-earned retirement.

This Sitka spruce-topped Dreadnought has the forward-shifted scalloped bracing and genuine Mahogany back and sides that he loves, with some beautiful soundboard artwork of his own design, inspired by some of his earlier illustrations and his admiration for the Martin-invented X bracing, that he shares with the wider world, by letting them “see through” the top to the bracing beneath.

Read our exclusive interview with Dick Boak regarding the fascinating development and realization of this unique project.

List Price: $2,999

NAMM d-boak in space

D-18 Jason Isbell

As part of his long love affair with Martin guitars, singer-songwriter Jason Isbell has been recently playing a D-18 Authentic 1937, when not playing his D-28E Retro, D-42, and D-41 Special, to name but a few. And now he is being honored with his own signature model.

It has the same 1-11/16” V neck and rear shifted bracing of his Authentic 1939, along with hide glue construction and thin finish, but it has the bracing has the scalloping and non-tucked bridge plate of the D-18 Golden Era model, no pickguard, a straight pyramid bridge (whaaaaat?) and the fretboard has a custom inlay at the 12th fret of one of his tattoos.

List Price: $5,999

NAMM Jason Isbell D-18 1

D-18RG – Robert Goetzl

Fine artist Robert F. Goetzl has created artwork for Martin Guitars for some time, while keeping things in the family. After all, his mother is the sister of Chris Martin’s mother.

And his contributions to the world of fine arts is being honored with a special D-18, which features stunning artwork of a soaring eagle and a Native American in the traditional dress of a Lakota Sioux tribal chief. One guitar from this special edition is being donated to the Native American Heritage Association, which raises awareness and charitable funds for South Dakota’s impoverished Crow Creek and Pine Ridge Reservations.

List Price: $4,699

NAMM D-18 RG Lakota Sioux 1

Ed Sheeran ÷

In six short years young Ed Sheeran has gone from the smallest stage at the Glastonbury Festival to closing the festival from the main stage, before 100,000+ fans knowing all the words as they sang along to his many hit songs, performed all by himself on his wee “Little Martin” guitar, to thunderous applause.

The third iteration of an LX Ed Sheeran Martin joins a collection of small guitars with huge popularity and phenomenal power to entertain, at least when in the hands of Mr. Sheeran himself. This is the exact same model he used at Glastonbury.

List Price: $699

NAMM Ed Sheeran 1

History Revisited

Model America 1

In 1906, three years after Henry Ford sold his first Model A automobile, Martin Guitars created their own Model America. Built for a Mr. Daniel Schuyler of San Diego, CA, it resembled an 0-28 with a unique bridge and some other tweaks of Schuyler’s own patented design. Only two were ever made.

And now, 111, years later, Martin is putting out another Model America and from its number designation, it may not be another century before we see a follow up. This first edition is based on the popular D-18, but is made entirely from products sourced within the United States of America, including sycamore back and sides, Adirondack spruce top and scalloped forward-shifted braces, cherry neck, black walnut bridge and fingerboard. Even the Sperzel tuners are made in the USA.

List Price: $3,499

Photo Not Yet Available

SS-00L Art Deco 2017

The NAMM Show Special is always very special indeed, and only available to Martin dealers who make a personal appearance to order guitars at Martin’s NAMM Show booth.

For Summer NAMM is a stunning slope shoulder 00L size guitar beautified in a Art Deco motif, built in partnership with one of my all-time favorite indie luthiers, Bruce Petros.

List Price: $7,499

NAAM SS-00LArt Deco 2017

Standard Series Acoustic – Electrics

After the Winter NAMM introduction of a new collection of cutaway acoustic-electric models into the revitalized Standard Series, comes non-cutaway versions of basically the same models, and more!

And for the first time, all of these guitars can be ordered with a choice of electronics between the Fishman Aura VT Enhance Duel-Source with a soundboard transducer or L. R. Baggs Anthem Duel-Source with an internal microphone.

The D-35E, GP-18E, GP35-E, GPC16-E, OM-18E, OM-35E will all be welcome additions to the Martin Catalog. And yes you read that right. Martin has FINALLY introduced an OM-18 without a cutaway into the Standard series for the first time ever!


The OM-28E and GPC-28E are conspicuously absent.

I inquired and was informed by Tim Teel, Martin’s Director of Instrument Design, that the decision to use the same styling as the new D-28 2017 was made late into the cycle of new models, and they are not going to be ready for the Nashville show.

Expect an official release later this year. The 00-28 introduced in January will also be revamped to have the same look as the D-28 2017

Latest Americana Series

GPC-16E – This Grand Performance-sized entrant into the Americana 16 Series was originally scheduled for Winter NAMM this past January, but was likewise held in reserve.

The series focuses on domestic American tonewoods. So the shallow body DC-16E is made from sycamore, the OMC-16E is made from cherry, and this new GPC has a back and sides of Hawaiian koa wood under a satin finish, with a Sitka spruce top, scalloped forward-shifted braces, like the GPC-18E, and the red, white, and silver trim exclusive to the 16 Series, along with Fishman Matrix VT Enhance NT2 electronics.

List Price: $2,999

X Marks the Spot

The X Series expands with the 0X2MAE


Made too look similar to the Martin 15 Series instruments, this affordable 0-size guitar will be great for travel or home use.

List Price: $729


Related Reading:

The Dick Boak Interviews Part One – the how and why of the d-boak Inside Out guitar