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 # 11603
Prices subject to change without notice.
C. F. Martin D-28 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1955), made in Nazareth, PA, natural lacquer finish, Brazilian rosewood back and sides, spruce top; mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, tweed hard shell case.

Clean freaks, this one is not for you! This is a very heavily used, played-in and much repaired "genuine relic" of a Martin D-28 dating to early 1955. It has obviously seen several lifetimes of use since, but still sings with the deep, powerful tone these are revered for.

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 competition from Gibson's flashier Jumbos, in the 1950s the D-28 was the final word in a flat-top instrument to most professional players; many Country & Western stars of the day would not be seen without one!

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: straight-grained Brazilian rosewood back and sides, a very tight and even-grained spruce top, multi-layer celluloid binding, a long-saddle ebony bridge, "Big-dot" graduated pearl inlaid ebony fingerboard and a tortoise pattern Celluloid pickguard. The woods used would universally be considered a premium selection today. The mahogany neck is very slim with the typical "soft V" profile.

While this guitars shows the scars of decades of hard use its real beauty comes in the playing. The D-28 is one of the most respected of all Martin models, and this remains a fine sounding example. It offers a powerful full-range tone maintaining the powerful bass response D-28's are prized for, perfectly suited to period styles including purely acoustic Bluegrass of folk, acoustic/electric Honky Tonk or more modern playing applications. This is a real "road dog" of a '50s D-28, likely with thousands of miles under its belt and enough music left inside for many decades more.
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 Martin has seen heavy use and had a number of repairs done over many years. Although some are cleaner than others, all of the work has held up over the decades. There is a considerable amount of finish checking over the body, most notable at the center of the back where it is quite heavy and some lacquer has actually flaked off. Another spot of finish is worn down to bare wood on the bass side of the lower bout from contact with the player's arm. The top was given a clear overspray long ago, with a lot of subsequent wear. There are dings, dents and scrapes over the entire instrument, with some heavy pick wear to the top. Most of the finish is long gone from the back of the neck, which feels like it may have been slimmed slightly between the 1st and 5th frets. There are some small dings and dents but mostly the surface feels quite smooth, there is a decent amount of chipping to the headstock.

The top shows a number of repairs: two spruce grain splits running to the front edge off the forward curve pickguard have been properly glued and cleated, along with a few shorter ones off the back edge to the bridge. The original pickguard has been replaced with a later repro. The center seam behind the bridge has been glued and cleated at least twice, and the finish in that area is noticeably scarred. There are a couple of smaller grain cracks on either side of this. A grain split running along the treble side of the fingerboard has been sealed but is visible.

The treble side has a repaired crack along the upper treble bout extending off of the heel sealed and polished out. A few inches off of the end pin on the treble side, there is a plugged hole from a earlier pickup installation. The neck has previously been reset; the heel shows a repaired crack likely related to this, and/or an older strap button installation at the center of the heel now plugged. A strap button has been added to the back of the heel.

Internally, the guitar shows evidence of many braces reglued including the X-brace and finger braces on both sides. The neck block had been previously reglued along the top, and shows no signs of subsequent movement. The fingerboard has been lightly planed and refretted with wire comparable to 1950s Martin spec. with some small pulls and scars to the ebony board. The fingerboard extension was cut through at the 14th fret, now solidly glued down. The bridge is a modern repro, with noticeable scarring around the perimeter. The saddle is quite low.

The headstock has newer open back Waverly tuners with butterbean buttons. While no beauty queen, this D-28 still sings with a powerful voice and is a gigger, not a "Closet Queen". Likely a veteran of many festivals and stages, this old Warhorse still delivers the goods for Bluegrass or beyond. It lives in a modern hardshell case covered in tweed print Tolex. Very Good Condition.