The D-28 has been Martin’s flagship model almost since it received a 14 fret neck in 1934. The Rosewood back and sides and long scale length make this a powerful, loud and bass heavy guitar that’s perfect for cutting through the mix of a live band situation. Martin used Brazilian Rosewood for the backs and sides of their guitars until 1969 when they changed to a more prevalent variety from India. This D-28 has been played throughout its life and has the all the tone needed to back up that claim.
Martin’s construction techniques and materials changed greatly throughout the years. During this time period Martin was using Sitka Spruce for the tops, Brazilian Rosewood for the back and sides, Ebony for the fretboard and bridge, and Mahogany for the neck. This was the last year that the bridge plates were made of Maple and the first year of the change from feaux tortoise shell to black plastic for the pickguard. Patent pending Grover Rotomatic tuners were installed at the factory for 21 and higher models. In 1967, Martin transitioned from using a T shaped steel rod to a square steel rod for all instruments in order to maintain a straight neck under string tension.
The combination of a Sitka Spruce top, Rosewood back and sides and a long, 25.5″ scale results in a loud and powerful guitar. The mid range frequencies are a tad scooped but the low is boomy and the top end is full and clear. This particular guitar was played in Bluegrass and Old Time circles all of its life so its well broken in. The top is light and resonant and you can feel the powerful bass in your chest.
These guitars thrive in a live band environment. They can get loud and cut when they want to and keep rhythm when they need to. Some may find these difficult to sing over in a singer/songwriter situation. Some also find that the D-28 can be more difficult to record than a D-18 because of its scooped mids, powerful bass and cutting highs. Of course, ever player is different and your experience may differ.