C. F. Martin D-28 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1948)

C. F. Martin  D-28 Flat Top Acoustic Guitar  (1948)
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Item # 11913
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C. F. Martin D-28 Model Flat Top Acoustic Guitar (1948), made in Nazareth, PA, serial # 104569, natural lacquer finish, Brazilian rosewood back and sides, spruce top; mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, tweed hard shell case.

This is a generally nicely preserved Martin D-28 showing some wear and older work but generally well preserved. This D-28 dates to the "golden era" of postwar Country music in the 1940s and 1950s, when few stars of the day would be seen without one! After WWII the D-28 was the biggest, best and most expensive Martin guitar available. The more elaborate pearl trimmed models were discontinued during the war and not revived, leaving this comparatively austere rosewood guitar as top of the line. Despite strong competition from Gibson's Jumbos, in the later 1940s the Martin D-28 was the final word in a flat-top instrument to most professional players.

This example was built in early 1948, one of only 506 sold that year. The pre-war "herringbone" Style 28 trim is gone, discontinued the year before. This guitar shows the classic 1940s-into-'50s 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 the then brand new Kluson Deluxe closed-back tuners. It features beautifully grained Brazilian rosewood on the back and sides with nice straight grain on the back with some visible saw marks. The tight and very even-grained spruce top would also be considered premium wood today.

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 grand example, offering a huge deep sound with a powerful bass response. This D-28 is particularly suited to period styles especially purely acoustic Bluegrass and old-time string band music requiring a power, authoritative and deep response from the 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.).

Over the last 75 years this D-28 looks to have seen both work and play, but remains a great sounding guitar in mostly original condition. The original lacquer finish is generally well preserved, with small dings and scrapes overall and a few spots of more noticeable wear. A decent amount of the finish on the neck has been worn down to wood, which gives a very comfortable played in feel. There is a small concentrated area of belt buckle wear in the middle of the back going through the finish. The top has strum to the wood wear off the front edge of the pickguard and into the lower lip of the soundhole.

This guitar has had a neatly done neck reset as well as a refret; The fingerboard was lightly planed for optimal playability and still shows the remains of shallow divots in the lower positions. The ebony board has a fairly long sealed crack running from the 7th fret down to the sound hole that shows no sign of movement or growth. This Martin has just two visible cracks over the body: a typical 'B' string grain split between the pickguard and the bridge, and a small impact split located on the side near the endpin, both sealed without noticeable finish work.

This D-28 has a correct style repro ebony bridge and small maple bridge plate done in the original post-war style. The bridge has a modern set of ivoroid bridge pins with mother of pearl inlay; some vintage pins are in the case in fairly decrepit condition. Internally, all of the original braces are structurally sound but with one alteration: the back legs of the main X brace appear to have been lightly "scalloped" at some point, work not original to the Martin factory. This was not done to any extreme degree and the top has not suffered any ill effects.

The tuners are a mix of correct style post-war closed back Kluson Deluxes, some original and some later but all fully functional. The guitar has a very deep rich tone, which the brace work likely enhanced. It is really optimized as an ideal bluegrass/oldtime music player with the powerful push that can drive the entire band. It is housed in a modern hardshell case with tweed covering. Overall Excellent - Condition.