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

Martin 00-28 Review

The seldom made Martin 00-28 in a triumphant return

Marvelous rosewood tone from the grand concert powerhouse 00-28 is first rate

Specs include: Solid tonewoods with Indian rosewood back and sides, Sitka spruce top, ebony fingerboard and bridge, scalloped 1/4″ Sitka spruce bracing; high gloss nitrocellulose finish; short-scale, satin finished mahogany High Performance neck, with 1-3/4″ width at nut, 2-1/8″ at the 12th fret, 2-5/32″ string spacing; bone nut and saddle; open back nickle tuners with “clove” knobs; mother of pearl dot fret markers, black pickguard, white biding.

“Singing with silvery purity up high, commanding mids, and full-bodied lows, all riding atop the lush and lovely depths saturated with what I call that “smoky rosewood presence,” the new 00-28 provides classic, nay even legendary Martin guitar tone.”

Full Review with Video Here

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


Petros Guitars New Short Scale 12-Fretter!

The Walnut Creek Fingerstyle Model From Petros Guitars

I have loved every Petros guitar I have ever seen in person. And this 12-fret Claro Walnut and Redwood beauty promises to be spectacular.

Bruce Petros and his son Matt have forged a unique path as modern American luthiers. Their guitars are incredibly lush in tone, very much the opposite of the overtone-less, fundamental sound of many contemporary, small shop luthiers.

Petros guitars are not just good, they are glorious. And this one appears to fit that description once again.

As per the official Petros Guitars press notice:

This is a short scale instrument (24.5”) which makes it a joy to play. The shorter scale has much less string tension which makes it much easier to play. The Petros Walnut Creek (formerly our Ultra-Light) is a wonderfully light weight guitar with a thunderous sound. It is made from gorgeous curly Claro Walnut with a master grade Redwood top and a Butternut neck. Our arched soundboard, meticulously tuned braces and graduation creates a top that produces those full bass fundamentals while simultaneously enabling ringing trebles and lush overtones. This guitar will growl or sing softly. It will give you whatever you ask of it.

“For any of you with aging or arthritic hands, this is the answer.”

(click to enlarge)

12_fret_Walnut_Creek_FS copy

Many more mouthwatering photos of this gorgeous instrument at Petros’ Official Website


Review – Gibson SJ-200 Ebony Limited Edition

Gibson’s 2017 Ebony Limited Edition adds jet black looks to the classic SJ-200

With L. R. Baggs Anthem dual-source electronics, it comes ready to rock.

Specs include: Super Jumbo body size; maple back, sides, and neck; radiused AAA-grade Sitka spruce top; hand-sprayed, high-gloss ebony nitrocellulose finish; rosewood fretboard and mustache bridge; bound fretboard and headstock; gold Grover Imperial tuning machines; round neck profile; bone nut with 1.725″ width; approx. 2-3/16″ string spacing; Tusq saddle to go with the Baggs Anthem undersaddle pickup.

“The bass is big but not boomy. The trebles are clear and ringing. The midrange notes are distinct but have a woody warmth to them… In other words, the SJ-200 is a classic. And this jet black version is pretty darn classy.”

Read the Full Review Here

Gibson J-200 Ebony Limited Editio Video