Martin D28 Vs. Martin HD28
For more than 176 years, the C.F. Martin Guitar Company has built acoustic guitars that have become a symbol of excellence and quality. For much of this history, the Martin D-28 acoustic guitar has been one of the most popular models on the market and continues to gain new, loyal followers. Although nearly identical, the subtle features between the D-28 and the HD-28 allow each model to offer a distinct look and tone.
The Martin D-28 first appeared on the market in the form of the D-2, later becoming the D-28 when it was slated for the regular production cycle. The D-28 model number denotes a dreadnought body style and 28 style features, which originally included Brazilian Rosewood construction and a trademark zipper pattern stripe on the back.
In 1976, C.F. Martin introduced the HD-28, which was designed to replicate the pre-1947 D-28s by adding a herringbone purfling and scalloped X braces. As with many Martin models, the HD-28 was an immediate hit with players looking for well-balanced tone and a guitar that could stand up to heavy playing styles.
Since its creation in the early 1930s, the D-28 has been constructed using X style bracing, which offers great tone and a responsive soundboard. This style of bracing was developed by the C.F. Martin Company in the mid-19th century and became a construction standard with the advent of steel guitar strings, which required stronger bracing than nylon or catgut strings. This bracing is often credited with helping to create the unique tone and sound of the D-28.
Martin introduced the HD-28 in 1976, which featured a scalloped standard X bracing system. By carving out sections of the standard bracing, the luthiers at Martin could fine tune the tone and timbre of the guitar, which produced subtle, but distinct sound differences between the D-28 and the HD-28.
The Martin D-28 is constructed using solid East Indian Rosewood for the sides, back and headplate. The top is made of solid Sitka Spruce, which is finished in polished gloss and is protected from scuffs by a black pickguard. It features a combination of white and black Boltaron inlay on the top and back of the guitar and white Boltaron binding.
Using the 28 style as a base, the HD-28 also features bold herringbone inlay on the top and a tortoise color pickguard, which replaces the standard black pickguard.
The manufacturer suggested retail price of the Martin D-28 is approximately $3,000, but the guitar usually retails for around $2,300. The HD-28 has a suggested retail of $3,499, but can be found for about $2,400 in larger music stores or online.
The Martin D-28 and HD-28 are both regarded as high quality guitars, suitable for most any style of music. Although more ornate, the HD-28 commonly sells for only a few hundred dollars more than the D-28, so price shouldn’t be a deciding factor in any purchase decision. Choosing between these two guitars should be a matter of personal taste, feel and tone preference.