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Old January 11th, 2008, 08:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Martin D-28 vs D-35

Just curious, other than cosmetics, what are the structural and tonal differences between the two?

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Old January 11th, 2008, 10:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I gravitate more toward 28's.

The 35's I've played sounded a bit muddy on the bottom with less note separation.

But as always, there are standout boxes in each model. Your ears will tell you more than any of the words you get in reply.
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Old January 11th, 2008, 11:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Martin's site will list the specifics such as bracing type and size, wood differences and cosmetics. UMGF might have a TB or two of disk space used to debate the subject.

IMO HD-28s and D-35s have some looseness and shimmer from the bracing differences and HDs sound more punctuated or crisp in the bass and they _ALL_ sound nice. I've obviously played an HD the most because I have one, but have played the others too.

I suggest playing new and used copies and going from there. I say this because there are great values in used ones and because I thought I wanted a D-28 and ended up wanting an HD after playing all 3 discussed here. I hope that makes sense where you need to get what grabs you.

Make sure you try D-18s while you're at it too. Wow is one belonging to somebody I know just awesome, and after thinking I was a rosewood lover I find I can't stop playing my 00-18.

I just saw a Brazilian Larrivee D-60 listed for the price of a new D-35 on the Larrivee forum. I was so impressed with a D-60 EIR that I'd be all over that Brazilian if I were spending more than 2 grand on a dread.

Have fun with the shopping and the result!
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Old January 11th, 2008, 12:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Same scalloped X Bracing on both. D-35 has a Boltoron binding on the neck, but no herringbone purfling like the HD-28. D-35 has a 3 piece back instead of 2.

IMO, D-35 has a tonally deeper base response so it doesn't sound as "tight" on the lower register, as a regular D-28. However, I feel the HD28's always seem to have a better base response than the regular D-28. YMMV This is very subjective, this is a personal observation without any basis in fact, JMO.
Of course, this impression is of brand new martins. Most used that are 5-6yrs old have "opened up" and sound a lot more open and articulate, usually. JMHO
When I bought I went to buy the D-35 (less money than the HD-28) but sounded as good, and wound up buying a used JC-40 (jumbo cutaway) that was 3yrs old but had an amazing feel and tone, and I loved it.
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Old January 11th, 2008, 01:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Martin grades their tops (1 to 5) and specs an appropriate grade for each series. Theoretically, you get a better grade top on the more expensive guitars.
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Old January 11th, 2008, 05:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Martin Wood Grades; Martin Laminates
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here they are in a nutshell:

Generally applied wood grades

Sitka spruce tops have 8 grades based on tightness of grain, straightness, color, degree of quartersawing, silking, internal defects (such as sap pockets, occlusions, etc.) and overall cosmetic appearance:

No grade given 16s and below
Grade 1 / 2 18s and 21s
Grade 3 / 4 28s and 35s
Grade 5 / 6 Herringbone, Vintage, and 40s
Grade 7 41's and 42s
Grade 8 45s

Higher grades can be used on lower models on a discretionary basis depending upon availability.

Rosewood has 4 grades, based on factors such as grain tightness & straightness, color and cosmetics:

Grade 1 - 16's and 15's
Grade 2 - 20 and 30 series instruments
Grade 3 - Herringbone and Vintage 20 and 30 series instruments
Grade 4 - 40 series instruments

Non-figured Mahogany has 4 grades based on straightness of grain and other cosmetics:

Grade 1 - 15's
Grade 2 - 16's
Grade 3 - Standard 18's
Grade 4 - 18V's, GE's, and A's

Figured Mahogany has 2 grades based on amount of figure:

Grade 2 - lesser figure
Grade 4 - highly figured

Koa has 2 grades based on the amount of figure:

Grade 2 - 16's and 28's
Grade 4 - 40's style instruments

Note: Martin does not "tap-test" its wood or otherwise grade according to tone. The above grades reflect cosmetic characteristics only.

Martin Laminates

Martin's Mahogany laminates are quarter sliced Bigleaf Mahogany faces (outer plies) with a rotary sliced African mahogany core, and the Rosewood laminates are quarter sliced Indian rosewood faces with a rotary sliced African Mahogany core.

Many thanks to Linda Wallen-Davis (cfmwoodbuyer) of CFM&Co. for providing this info and to BareCat for consolidating it all so that I didn't have to do the work!!

Mac

Edited by: Mac Carter at: 3/19/07 7:39 pm
This is from the UMGF website and explains Martin's wood grading system and what models each grade is used on.
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Old January 11th, 2008, 06:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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My friend has a HD35 and I remember asking C.F. Martin IV, at a seminar here years ago what the difference was between a regular D35 and a HD. He said the HD's have a retro style bracing similar to the much sought after pre-war models, that give them a boomier bottom end like the pre-wars, for those who don't want to mortgage their house! He also made a very good point that the best violin could cost you $250,000. and the best piano as well, but the best guitar a few thousand....
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Old January 13th, 2008, 04:19 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I've no idea what the tonal differences would be on these. I've tried a D-28 in the past, and last year picked up a HD-40 of my own, but never tried a D-35.

To be honest the sound of either would probably blow me away, and it would need some serious back to back testing to sort them out. I'm not really sure that my ears could ever hear the nuances some people talk about.

If you're considering buying, the feel is probably a bigger criteria.
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Old January 13th, 2008, 12:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The main structural difference between a D28 and a D35 is that the D28 has a two-piece back and the D35 has a three-piece back.

Neither the D28 nor the D35 has scalloped bracing. For scalloped bracing you have to go to the HD28 or HD35, or the D41 or D45.
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Old January 13th, 2008, 07:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I own a D-35. I would describe the sound as what a broken in D-28 will sound like some day. The D-35 is slightly more bass heavy and resonant out of the box. The D-28 will get there in a few years of playing. One thing I like about my D-35 is the bound neck. When you don't have a bass player the D-35 stands out. I think the HD-28 appreciates in value more than the D-35.
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Old January 14th, 2008, 01:14 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I have played some D16RGT's that sound just as good as
either the 28 or 35. Also played some 00016RGT's that
compared favorably to the Clapton model.

I'm not picky, I love them all.
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Old January 14th, 2008, 01:28 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I do like the HD series 'cuz I know I'll never own a real pre-war Martin but I sure like the style..

I've played some real humdingers as far as D-28s go, but the D-18 definitely should not be overlooked - I'd prefer either over a D-35 but THAT'S JUST ME and I'm not knockin' 'em cuz Martins are fine, fine guitars..

uhh.. the solid wood Martins, I mean.

my friend's wife bought him a D-28 a few years ago and it's just beginning to get good and broken-in! I love to play that one when I'm over at their place visiting Mark.

I surely wouldn't turn down an HD-35 if somebody wanted to give me one.
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Old February 1st, 2008, 08:55 PM   #13 (permalink)
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There is an additional spec difference in the D-35 other than the three piece back and binding. The Top Bracing is Non-Scalloped 1/4", and the D-28 has N-S 5/16". This allows the top to move easier and theoretically gives a bit more bass response.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 12:53 PM   #14 (permalink)
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D-28 vs D-35...

Both the Standard Series D-28 and Standard Series D-35 are straight-braced models, as opposed to the "Scalloped" bracing on the HD and Vintage series... On the bass scale, most D-35s will be bassier and more boomy than D-28s due to the thinner 1/4" bracing... The HDs and Vintage scalloped-braced models will, on the whole, be still bassier and more boomy than either the D-28 or 35...

To my ears, the D-28 is the more balanced sounding of all these Rosewood bodied guitars... I've played a D-28 for years, and find it's sound to be balanced across the board, without too much bass thump... I do some recording with the D-28, and it records well, without having to EQ a whole lot, and without having to roll-off the bass to keep it from sounding muddy...

Traditionally, the standard D-28 has often been the guitar of choice for Bluegrassers, Country Singers, and Folkies alike... Works for me...

Cheers,
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Old June 9th, 2008, 04:28 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I recently picked up a D-35 that sings and chimes like nobody's business -- truly a wonderful guitar. While I shopped, I looked at HD-28s, D-35s and a nice (but expensive!) HD-28V. In the end, the 35 spoke to me more, and I have had trouble putting it down since. They are very similar sounding instruments, however. I don't find my 35 to be bass-heavy or boomy in the least: it's perfectly balanced, low to high, and the mids are deep and clean. I'm mostly a rhythm player, and I find the 35 supports my vocals very, very well. I couldn't be happier about my choice. Plus, it's got a killer bear claw on it that helped to seal the deal.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 09:21 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Here's what I know:

In the late 60's. Brazilian Rosewood was in short supply. In order to conserve, Martin started making D-28's with three piece backs, in order to incorporate Indian rosewood in tandem with the Brazilian. The three piece back was the result. Players noticed a more pronounced bass response due to the design change, some liked it, some didn't, but a good many people started seeking out 28's with three piece backs to get the heavier bass.

Shortly thereafter, Martin went to all Indian rosewood on production model standard D-28's, and went back to using a two piece back exclusively.

The three piece back became it's own model, the D-35. Main differences between the 35 and 28 are the neck binding, three piece back, and the fact that the 35 uses lighter bracing on the top, .25" bracing. This was added to increase treble response, NOT bass, in order to better balance the high strings with the heavier bass that comes with the three piece back design.

Neither the 28, nor the 35, utilize scalloped bracing. That feature is only found on 28's and 35's with the "HD" designation. the scalloped bracing on those models, along with the Herringbone body binding, is what seperates the models.

I'm a HUGE D-35 fan, not so much with the D-28. Conversely, I am huge fan of the HD-28, but not so much of the HD-35. They all do sound great, and there are standouts across all of these models. But geverally speaking, there are differences tonally that I prefer on the D-35, and HD-28.

One thing to keep in mind when trying Martins, make the dealer put new strings on, ones that YOU like, before you play it. All Martins IMO tend to sound dull, muddy, and clunky with older strings. Mine sounds absolutely fantastic with fresh strings, best guitar in the world to me. With a few hours on the strings, I don't even want to play it.
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Old June 10th, 2008, 05:48 AM   #17 (permalink)
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"I'm a HUGE D-35 fan, not so much with the D-28. Conversely, I am huge fan of the HD-28, but not so much of the HD-35. They all do sound great, and there are standouts across all of these models. But geverally speaking, there are differences tonally that I prefer on the D-35, and HD-28."

Jakedog,
My sentiments EXACTLY.

You should give those Martin SP+ PB's test drive...I love 'em on my JC-40!
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Old June 11th, 2008, 09:33 PM   #18 (permalink)
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"I'm a HUGE D-35 fan..."

INDEEDY! I wouldn't put it any other way. Having never had the joy and honor of playing a D-28, and I can't say that I'm a fan or not, but I suspect that, once we get to this level of Martin, we begin to split hairs. My hair happens to be the D-35: Sophie the Bear. The three piece back is so beautiful. I love the simplicity of the sound board. I love, love, love the neck binding, and the ebony fret board is so fast and delicious! There's just not a whole lot to DIS-like about this guitar. Sing praises!
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Old June 19th, 2008, 09:01 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Bracing Question

How does bracing effect tone, projection and volume? For example Scalloped vs None Scalloped like the D28 and D35 vs the HD28 and HD35?

The 28's have 5/16th" braces while the 35's have 1/4th's

Some of them have a forward shifted scalloped X pattern, like the HD28V, D41 special etc.

Got my eye on an HD35 that has scalloped 1/4" bracing, opinions?
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Old July 5th, 2008, 09:16 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Johnny,

About the HD 35... It's odd that there are fewer numbers of these around than, say, the straight 35 (great goods!) or the HD 28. I haven't had the chance to try out the HD 35 but have read on the Unofficial Martin forum that they're even LOUDER than the other two, which are already pretry darned "present" to begin with. I'd be interested in hearing any other opinions on this.
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