One of the most original 1940s D-28 models we've had in ages, and to some Gryphon ears also one of the best sounding. No, it doesn't have scalloped bracing, or the "forward shifted" X pattern found on those fabled mid-1930s Dreadnoughts. And it has a tongue brace under the fingerboard. But the combination of light construction of the body with steeply tapered top bracing on the Adirondack top delivers what is often missing on those bass boomers from a decade earlier, namely the bite and balance that makes this D-28 a joy when flatpicking leads or fiddle tunes. And yes, it's incredibly loud. In short, it's a D-28 for those players who usually favor D-18s.
Original lacquer finish throughout. Original tuners, nut, brass frets, pickguard, and bridge. All bracing is original, no sign of loose braces needing to be glued in the past and it doesn't appear to have had a neck reset. No cracks to neck or the quarter-sawn rosewood back and sides. There's a six-inch hairline crack to the top, roughly in line with the D-string bridge pin, that was glued and cleated years ago. There's another 2.5" crack to the top about two inches to the left of the compression fractures at the edge of the treble-side lower bout. There are small circles from thin glue around each of the bridge pin holes in the original bridge plate. We're not sure if those are from someone doing a bit of preventative care to avoid string ball wear, or from when the bridge was reglued.
Hardshell case is old, appears to be a Lifton, but is almost certainly several years newer than the guitar. It's a great case and quite sturdy, all latches work.
This is one of a small batch of D-28 models started on April 23, 1945. Lots of Martins built after this batch were given ebony neck reinforcement, and of course WWII restrictions on the use of steel also meant that virtually all Martins from mid-1942 through the end of 1944 had ebony neck "rods." But Martin must have been able to get steel T bars again in early 1945, as lots of shop orders from the early months of that year list "S" for steel before "E" for ebony shows up again mid-year (this guitar has the rather beefy mid-'40s Martin neck, and it's not a V shape). Since the tuners on this D-28 have celluloid buttons, no headstock bushings, and about as little brass and steel possible it's obvious wartime restrictions were an issue, and the brass frets on this D-28 are another indication that Martin's access to parts was still problematic. These tuners work, but not very well, especially for players accustomed to 12-to-1 Waverly or even original Grover G-98 gears. Our suggestion would be to notch the screw holes on a set of Waverlys with celluloid buttons, as this would allow using the same screw holes in the back of the headstock and the original tuners could be reinstalled again so that a die-hard originalist would not be the wiser. Skip the headstock bushings, you don't really need them.
stock no. 51370
|Back and sides||Brazilian rosewood|
|Frets to body||14|
|Nut width||1 11/16"|