C. F. Martin D-28 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1955)

C. F. Martin  D-28 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1955)
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Item # 10684
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C. F. Martin D-28 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1955), made in Nazareth, PA, serial # 146154, natural lacquer finish, Brazilian rosewood back and sides, spruce top; mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

This is a slightly played-in but very powerful sounding Martin D-28 dating to late 1955, when the majority of Country & Western stars of the day had made this model their standard stage guitar. Around this time many would not be seen without one! After WWII this was the biggest, best and most expensive guitar Martin made. The elaborate pearl trimmed models were discontinued during the war and not revived, leaving this comparatively austere rosewood Dreadnought as top of the line. Despite strong competition from Gibson's Jumbos, in the 1950s the D-28 was the final word in a flat-top instrument to most professional players.

This example was one of 806 D-28's sold in 1955 at the fairly stiff price of $225 (without case). It shows the classic period appointments: multi-layer celluloid binding on the back and top, a long-saddle ebony bridge, "Big-dot" graduated pearl inlaid ebony fingerboard, tortoise pattern Celluloid pickguard and Kluson "Sealfast" tuners, later nicknamed "wafflebacks". It features a beautiful straight-grained Brazilian rosewood back and sides with a very tight and even-grained spruce top. These would universally be considered premium woods today. The mahogany neck is fairly slim with the typical "soft V" profile.

While this is a fabulous guitar to look at as with most old Martins the real beauty comes in the playing. The D-28 is one of the most respected of all Martin models, and this is a very easy playing and fantastic sounding example. It offers a powerful full-range sound and is more responsive than some while still maintaining the powerful bass response D-28's are prized for. This guitar is perfectly suited to period styles including purely acoustic Bluegrass of folk, acoustic/electric Honky Tonk or more modern playing applications; it even makes a good fingerpicker, which some do not particularly excel at. This is a real gem of a '50s D-28, a very smooth player and just overall super friendly guitar.
Overall length is 41 in. (104.1 cm.), 15 3/4 in. (40 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 5 in. (12.7 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

This guitar has seen a decent amount of use over nearly seven decades but has been well-maintained, remaining largely original if showing some typical wear. The top finish shows, dings, dents, scuffs, press marks and crazing but less pick wear than many, mainly just to the lower lip of the soundhole and some smaller spots off the bottom and back edges of the pickguard. Most of the rest of the finish is relatively clean; there is some heavy buckle wear on the treble side of the back, with the bass side comparatively unscathed. Somebody probably had a cowboy belt buckle long ago! The neck finish is worn down either the clear coat or bare wood over much of its length, giving that "played in" feel that is difficult or impossible to duplicate without decades of use.

The top has a repaired "B" string crack at the top edge of the pick guard; this has a bit of added fill but no noticeable overfinishing. The treble side rim has a two inch repaired grain crack in between the waist and the apex of the lower bout, sealed but with no overfinish added. Apart from these repairs the interior of the guitar unaltered, including the original small maple bridge plate. This has some typical string ball wear and glue added to reinforce the pin hole area but is still original.

The instrument has had a cleanly done older neck set and the saddle has been replaced on the original bridge, which itself has been shaved down somewhat. It has been refretted with wire that matches the original Martin specifications, these frets have light wear but plenty of life left. This is a very fine player with a lower, more supple action than many older D-28's. It is quite responsive to a lighter touch but retains a tremendously powerful sound when pushed, the hallmark of a fine D-28. It is housed in a nice original green-lined HSC showing some wear but still fully functional. Very Good + Condition.