Vintage Instruments: Martin Guitars

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1976 Martin HD-28

Martin introduced the HD-28 Model in 1976. It was the first reappearance of Herringbone top trim and a zigzag back strip on a standard model Martin since 1944, and it ushered in the modern era of Martin guitar production. Designed in response to players’ requests for a pre-war styled Dreadnought, the HD-28 was built with scalloped braces and a smaller maple bridgeplate. At that time, all Martin braces were non-scalloped, and bridgeplates were rosewood and about twice as large as those from prior to 1968. The response to this new old-style Martin Dreadnought was immensely positive, and the model has been a mainstay of the company’s lineup ever since.

This example is a particularly early HD-28, built in late 1976, just a short while after the first production models were completed, and prior to the guitar’s addition to Martin’s catalog in 1977.

The guitar is in excellent condition and without cracks or damage. The finish is in excellent condition and looks great at 42 years old. The neck has been cleanly reset and the original frets nicely dressed. The pickguard has been replaced with an attractive tortoise-shell pattern replica and the bridge is a slightly oversized replacement. Bone nut and saddle, upgraded Antique Acoustic unslotted bridge pins, original Grover tuners. There is a cleated pickguard crack that’s invisible from the outside of the guitar, and a strap button screw-hole has been filled-in adjacent to the heel of the neck.

The guitar sounds tremendous, with a big and bold bass end, excellent strength and power across the register and that dry shutter of an old scalloped braced Martin Dreadnought. It’s as loud as can be, and has plenty of headroom up for grabs with a heavy pick and some good right hand technique.

Nut width of 1-11/16”, 25.4” scale, 2-1/8” strings spread at the bridge. Set up with medium gauge strings and an action of 5-7 64ths at the 12th fret with just shy of 1/8” of saddle above the bridge.

With black Martin Thermoplastic case

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