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  • The Martin D-28

    Hi there,

    Has anyone played a bad one?

    Thanks,

    Glenn
    "The Philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it."

    Karl Marx

  • #2
    I owned a bad one. Years ago I bought my first really "high end" acoustic when I was just out of school making decent money and living in New York City. I bought it at Mandolin Brothers in Staten Island. It was a used mid-1980's Brazilian rosewood D-28 made to pre-war specs as one of their first special edition guitars. I paid $3600 for it.

    This was in the early 1990's and I was new to guitars back then. Anyway a few weeks after owning it, I started to realize something was wrong with that guitar that I couldn't put my finger on.

    It seemed to have WAY too much bass and the treble strings sounded dead and tinny. When you strummed the guitar it sounded kind of dead with no projection....but if you played softly it sounded better. It had this ironic quality of sounding better with extra light gauge strings. It improved the balance and strumming didn't overwhelm the guitar's tonal quality...but then the guitar had weak overall volume.

    I came to realize later that the guitar suffered from an "underbuilt top". In an effort to build the guitar to vintage specs, the bracing had a lot of features that caused the top to become "floppy" and weak in sound. This along with structural issues were probably why Martin changed the bracing design back in the 1940's.

    Anyway I ended up trading the guitar for a really sweet Gibson J200 and a Martin D12 a few years later at the Guitar Emporium in Louisville Kentucky. By that time I figured out that you really need to sit down and PLAY the guitar and not just trust it's "pedigree" reputation.
    Last edited by guitarcapo; 05-05-2014, 09:11 AM.
    "I don't want to be immortalized through my work. I want to be immortalized by not dying." Woody Allen

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    • #3
      Well, thanks for the answers. I have the chance to buy a second-hand D-28, but there isn't a return policy, and there isn't an opportunity to play it first. I think I'll probably pass.
      "The Philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it."

      Karl Marx

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      • #4
        Of the Martin D series guitars I've always leaned towards the D35. Been playing the line-up of D's each pass through the local store and still think it has the edge.
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        • #5
          FF, you have a very high opinion of Martin and probably hold it dearer to your chest than I can know. But, yes, they did make duds and the early 70's bear witness to that. My first "real" guitar was a D35 that was made with uncured (green) wood for the neck. It had no adjustable truss rod and warped after I got it. It warped on three separate occasions. The factory had it more than I did for warranty repair and after I got it back the third time I gave it away with full disclosure, nearly new in condition, and bought a better guitar (at the time) in the form of a Guild. That was 1973. You would think Martin would have admitted fault and simply swapped out my guitar for another mo' betta one but they didn't. I swore off that brand for many years. There's no second chance with me after foisting poor quality on a customer and then copping the stance they did. I still hold them in contempt for that one but rarely think of it anymore. There were literally hundreds of guitars that went out that way causing more than a bit of a stir and questioning the brand's quality. That's when Gibson's sales jumped and, via Martin's stumbling, took a brief (and undeserved) lead as a quality maker from them. BTW, their mantra up to that time was their guitars didn't have adjustable truss rods because their necks don't warp. I never liked Gibson's cowboy garishness and sound so Guild was the only contender in that market left to choose from, IMO.

          All that nonsense said above, their sound boxes were still the best there ever was, IMO, despite their bout of using green wood.
          Last edited by Idunno; 05-05-2014, 04:07 PM.
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          • #6
            Of course it is, on the macro side of the the discussion, but on the personal side we all have druthers for reasons that are always personal and can create the illusion of irony if taken out of context like you have here.
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            • #7
              I owned a D28 from 1965-1975 in the days when they were still brazilian. I never liked the playability of the guitar and to be honest, I think the East Indian Rosewood being used today has a better sound than the brazilians did..
              Instruments:
              Custom Dreadnaught Solid Hog
              Ibanez Artcore Hollow Body Electric
              Ibanez Solid Body Art100 Electric
              Yamaha LJ6 Mini Jumbo Spruce top, laminated Rosewood b&s

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              • #8
                It's a 2008. Not likely to need a neck reset yet. Pics look ok. I've wished the guy luck, though.
                "The Philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it."

                Karl Marx

                Comment


                • #9
                  I wouldn't necessarily BASH Martins. No guitar brand is perfect 100% of the time. These guitars are made on an assembly line. Some are great. Some are average. Some are bad. The same holds true for other brands. Given that, I like to seek out that guitar that's fantastic and made by a less expensive brand. One that sounds and plays great...but you can take it anywhere and not worry about losing a lot of money dinging it.
                  "I don't want to be immortalized through my work. I want to be immortalized by not dying." Woody Allen

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by guitarcapo View Post
                    I wouldn't necessarily BASH Martins. No guitar brand is perfect 100% of the time. These guitars are made on an assembly line. Some are great. Some are average. Some are bad. The same holds true for other brands. Given that, I like to seek out that guitar that's fantastic and made by a less expensive brand. One that sounds and plays great...but you can take it anywhere and not worry about losing a lot of money dinging it.
                    I've never found one. I went through a number of HC flavah-of-the-month guitars, and they're all gone now. They just don't stand up. And, as you can see by my situation, the reason I am asking the question is that I have no recourse but to defer to pedigree, as it has to do with probability. I don't aim to have to hustle my butt to re-sell something that disappointed me in the first place. I've also played some Martin duds, so they're out there.
                    Last edited by Glenn F; 05-06-2014, 08:37 AM.
                    "The Philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it."

                    Karl Marx

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I purchased a new D-28 back in 1983/84 and it was a total POS to me. I knew very little about guitars back then. It was either fret buzzing or the action was so high it was a bear to play.
                      Had it back to the place of purchase 3X and 2X in another shop. The "other" shop actually did make it a lil better, but not good enough.
                      I placed it on consignment and lost my ass on the deal.

                      In hindsight... I know now what was wrong with that guitar. It had a slightly warped/twisted neck. No authorized repair shop caught this, nor recommended sending it to Martin for repair.
                      I think the dealers let me down more than Martin did.
                      Been shy on the 28's ever since. Live & learn.
                      Last edited by GW348; 05-06-2014, 04:22 PM.
                      R.I.P. TAH & Dak

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Never owned a D28. Did own a D35 that I believe is identical to a 28 with the exception of a 3 piece back. It was a nice guitar and I enjoyed it. However, over time I began to realize it was not a star performer. While solidly built, with good intonation, it just did not sparkle and was not as loud as other guitars I played. I sold it a few months ago. Tough decision, but I'm glad I did it.
                        _________________
                        Strangers passing in the street
                        By chance two separate glances meet
                        I am you and what I see is me . . .

                        Roger Waters
                        Echoes
                        from the MEDDLE LP

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The D-35's bracing is scalloped, iirc, whereas the D-28's is not. Kinda moot at this point. If I am gonna plunk down that much dinerii for a guitar, I have to be able to try it first, whether by meeting someone in person, or having a 30 day money-back guarantee.
                          "The Philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it."

                          Karl Marx

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The D-28 has 5/16" bracing and the D-35 has lighter 1/4" bracing.
                            R.I.P. TAH & Dak

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm going to mention a trend I notice going on with guitar manufacturers for the past few years:

                              Lately it's become popular among ALL major guitar builders to build guitars so that they sound great right away.

                              You accomplish this by building the guitar top's bracing so light that it will sound fantastic new in the showroom (without any need for "playing in")

                              .....The trouble is that after a couple of years, these guitars fade as the top gives in to string tension.

                              Guitar manufacturers only profit from the sale of NEW guitars. There's a fierce competition among factories to sound great in the showroom so that THEIR brand is chosen over other brands when they are all hanging in the guitar store new. Long term is NOT in their best interest. As a matter of fact all of those used guitars COMPETE with the new guitars (even if it's the same brand)....and like I said...factories only profit from NEW sales.

                              It's happening with Taylor, Gibson, Martin....also other brands.

                              The point to take away from all this is that it's sometimes a newbie mistake to pull a bunch of guitars off the wall at your local Guitar Center and simply buy the one that sounds best to you. It might not be a keeper if it sounds "too good"
                              "I don't want to be immortalized through my work. I want to be immortalized by not dying." Woody Allen

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