A truly incredible vintage guitar from Martin, exhibiting all the balanced tonal hallmarks of a rear-shifted rosewood Martin dreadnought.
Extensively repaired by Melbourne-based master luthier, Daniel Hoban, this guitar is playing and sounding as good as any vintage Martin from the late 60s. While it is well known that Martin switched to using Indian Rosewood in 1969, it is widely documented that they continued making Brazilian Rosewood guitars into 1970. Most of these are D-35s and 000-28s due to the smaller pieces of timber required, but some D-28s have been identified. This is a very early 1970 build, one of the first 2,000 guitars built in a year where Martin made over 15,000, making it one of the early D-28s made. While we do not believe the entire guitar to made from Brazilian Rosewood, we believe the sides are Brazilian, as Martin were working through their timber stores and using whatever they had ready to go. We think this guitar was made using a set of Brazilian sides, and then matched with a back set to give the guitar a uniform look. Indian Rosewood from this period of Martin has a very typical appearance. The grain is usually straight and highly defined, and stands out a mile away.
Why do we believe this guitar contains Brazilian Rosewood? Other than the general appearance of the timber, the early build number and the evidence of Brazilian continuing into 1970, there is the sound and the smell.
This does not sound like an Indian Rosewood guitar. It has the dry, midrange crack of Brazilian. Explosive power, incredible note definition and balance combine to make this an amazing sounding instrument. Its depth of power also makes it one of the loudest guitars we have seen come through the store.
The Rosewood also does not smell like Indian. It has the rich, perfumed rose and vanilla notes not found with Indian Rosewood. The two smells are very distinctive, and when you smell them side by side very easy to distinguish. While Martin don't have direct records of what timber was used on which guitar through this period, we have enough evidence to believe there is Brazilian Rosewood used in this guitar.
That being said, this guitar is not being sold with a Brazilian Rosewood price tag. 1969 D-28s in this condition, a guitar made just a few months before and identical outside of the timber spec, sell for upwards of between $10,000, and given transportation laws around rosewood and ivory, are near impossible to get into Australia. This guitar is here, and available to play.
Condition-wise it is fantastic, with all the necessary work required on a vintage Martin performed to the highest standard. A neck reset, new fretboard and bridge and a refret have all been performed prior to sale, along with an expert repair to a side crack. The original ivory nut has been retained, and is shimmed from beneath with bone. Outside of the repair work, the pickguard is non-original and a strap button has been added to the neck heel.
This guitar is being sold with a brand-new Ivory Hiscox flight case. Please review all photographs as they form part of the description.