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Martin D35 or D28 (or maybe HD)?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by Ecadad, Apr 9, 2017.

  1. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    I like a lot of bass, so I like 35s and HDs more than standard 28s. The 35 has lighter braces than the 28, so will be more full sounding, all else being equal. Of course a stiffer top with be brighter and tighter than a softer top on the same model. And they all need some playing time on them before they start to open up. Most are a bit stiff when new.
     
  2. Jethro

    Jethro Tele-Afflicted

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    Not sure if you can find one but if you can, the "Marquis" version of the D-28 is an unbelievable model. Comes with Adirondack top and the wider 1 3/4 inch nut....it's an incredible model if you can find one
     
  3. znanjeiimanje

    znanjeiimanje TDPRI Member

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    I am on the hunt for my first high end acoustic lately (so far had only laminate guitars) and I have narrowed down the search to D-28 and D-35. I A/B’d them in a store this evening for 2 hours and D-35 felt amazing in my hand while I had the feeling that D-28 had a better, more open sound.

    I am in a dilemma now, as I’d like something that would be well off to be used in a rock band setting (with a Baggs Anthem installed) and also to be used for jam sessions and playing around the house. I don’t play bluegrass like most people here, but which one do you think would cut through the mix better in a rock band setting?

    Unfortunately I could not bring the whole band for a practice at the local shop :)
     
  4. wyclif

    wyclif Tele-Afflicted

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    It sounds like you have your heart set on a Martin, and that's a good place to be. My advice would be to go to a good Martin dealer and play a lot of different models without thinking too much about which model you're going to end up with.

    I used to be a D-28 or D-35 guy. I'm not a fan of fancy bindings and rosettes, and I figured you can't go wrong with the classic dreadnought. But I'm not a bluegrass player, and like someone who posted pics above, I wound up with an OM-28 (and 1 3/4" width at the nut), which is a great guitar. I could say the same thing about some of the smaller-bodied Martins (don't overlook those), like the 000-18.

    Final thought: If you don't play bluegrass, don't limit yourself to the D-models. Martin has recently put a lot more emphasis on both smaller-bodied instruments and the "orchestra" models.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
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  5. Telesavalis

    Telesavalis Friend of Leo's

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    a 35 has a heavier bottom end tone than a 28.
    If you like a bassier sounding acoustic then go for the 35.
    but either will be a guitar you should have no problem bonding with.
    Personally I prefer the 3 pc back of a 35 as well as the tone.
     
  6. znanjeiimanje

    znanjeiimanje TDPRI Member

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    Thanks a lot. Unfortunately, I am quite limited with regards to the options to try the guitar as I live in Poland and I have managed to find only one dealer having both D-28 and D-35. I definitely have GAS and if it was an electric I’d know what to go for, but this is starting to drive me nuts :)

    And I played also a 000-28 once and that is an amazing guitar I must say. The thing is that I’d like to try the guitar out before I buy it and it simply isn’t available exept through online ordering.
     
  7. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

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    Tine to take your girlfriend on a romantic holiday to London.... and find cheap accommodation near a major guitar outlet so you pop in whilst she dries her hair

    Try it all! If you do buy, sterling is down low right now, and that will probably pay your shipping
     
  8. wyclif

    wyclif Tele-Afflicted

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    John Fahey seemed to prefer the D-35, for what it's worth:

     
  9. newminglewoodblue

    newminglewoodblue Tele-Meister

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    I like them both. The biggest difference between the 2 is 5/16" bracing for the 28, and 1/4" on the 35. The 35's top is looser, and 1/4" bracing is the reason you're hearing the fatter low end. FWIW, The HD-28 & HD35 have scalloped bracing, which some find to be too flubby on the low end. This past year, I discovered the pure joy of the OM which has a slightly smaller body, same scale length, and 1/4" scalloped on the smaller body is perfect to my ears. The 21 is rosewood B&S, fewer appointments. FWIW, you can find 000-18's or 000-28's with 5/16" bracing and might make them a bit more punchy.

    How this might apply to you:

    Do you have an aggressive heavy attack? If so, like me, you might really like the straight braced 5/16" bracing on the D28. She has PLENTY of bottom (for me), and a very focused punchy mid and very clear angelic highs.

    Do you play lightly & sing? Johnny Cash did OK on his D-35 :) IMHO, a heavy hand on a 35 will constantly overdrive her, potentially diminishing what makes her great.

    Do you sometimes play aggressive, but want versatile? Light finger picking too sometimes? This is why I really like 5/16", scalloped & forward shifted bracing, found on the D18 hog B&S or HD-28V RW B&S (These two guitars are no bull big league guitars). I prefer the wider neck on the D-18, but also prefer the RW of the 28, this is why I have a wide neck D28 on the way (1937 D-28A).

    I'm going to guess, and would also be willing to bet, the HD-28 you played had dead strings. That ****er should have rang like a bell.

    If I had to choose just one it would be a dread, even tho I'm completely infatuated with my OM.

    For the record, EVERY GUITAR MAKER IN THE WORLD HAS BEEN COPYING THE D28 SINCE IT ARRIVED ON THE SCENE (yes, I was yelling).

    The holy grail, or "golden era" was the 1930's leading up to World War 2.

    The "Herringbone" purf Martin was using came from Germany. The war forced Martin to make a change.

    String makers were getting better, and players were preferring heavy gauge strings for volume (no amplification). Martin made their tops "tougher" by shifting the bracing pattern back a little, and they stopped scalloping the braces (actually whittled by hand).

    The "Pre-War" holy grail is the D-28. The D-18 came a little later because they could offer a cheaper version of the 28 using Mahogany back & sides & simpler appointments. The 18 took off because alot of people think it sounds better! Hogs are lighter for sure, and tend to appeal to finger pickers vs. flat pickers (not absolute, I can't play for **** with my fingers & I love my D18).

    The HD-28 is scalloped, not forward shifted. A good in between with a bunch of bass. The HD-28V, shifts the braces forward & scallops them (very fat, very sweet, very everything. my preference). Both the 28V & HD28 have a 1 11/16" nut. A used, discontinued D18V has scalloped, FS braces & 1 11/16" nut.

    I've come to realize i hate a 1 11/16" nut because my fat fingers dont quite fit all the time. The 1 3/4" nut suits me better. You can find the 1 3/4" nut on a D-28 Marquis, and the new 2017 D28, which has shifted the bracing forward BUT NOT SCALLOPED!! The reviews on the 2017 D28 are VERY good!

    Have you checked with US dealers like LA Guitar Sales to see if he ships International? My favorite guitars in Florida does I think.

    Disclaimer: Play as many as you can. What's right for you is right for you. Trust your ears!
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
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  10. 63telemaster

    63telemaster Tele-Meister

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    Great info above :cool:

    I was in a similar position last year. I eventually went for a great sounding used D28 because I preferred the punchy dynamics of the "tighter" bracing. Just today I had the chance to play a brand new (2016 model not the brand spanky new one) D28 and a newish HD28. The HD28 sounded huge and was very resonant and responsive compared to the D28 which sounded a bit lifeless tbh. I think these need to be played for a while to open up and develop the punch and dynamics they are famous for.......horses for courses.
     
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  11. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    On the other hand don't think that dreadnoughts are only for bluegrass!
    Truth is you can play anything on anything!
     
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  12. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    You didn't try the D15 in the photo?
     
  13. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Man, the Martin-bashing gets old. Every Martin I pick up in a shop over the last two years is an EASY 9 or 10 out of 10. People may prefer what other guitars have to offer and that's fine. But to imply that Martin's are over-rated or poor quality is just flat wrong.

    Anyway, keep in mind Martin (for reasons I don't understand) tends to ship new guitars with their coated strings. I don't really like those strings. They mute and dull things IMO.

    So I'd get the dealer to change to SP Lights on the two or three you are seriously considering and play them all for a good hour. To me the '35s (in a vacuum) are more even across the frequency spectrum and have more highs (and maybe more lows, if that's possible) initially. I don't own any "D" sized guitars, so I can't say how they change over time.

    As some others have noted, I prefer Martin's smaller bodies. PLENTY loud and complex. Plenty of bass. For me they are easier to mic or use a K&K on stage because the bass does not overwhelm the signal. So I have a CEO-7 (Martin's best guitar and value, IMO), a OOL-17 (amazing, cannon, full sound with a meaty-midrange), and an OM-21 (special, special guitar - sits somewhere between an OM-28, D-18 and HD-28, with the best of each and none of the worst - magical).

    If the 35 spoke to you, that's the one. But you owe it to yourself to hear it with new/better strings in comparison to the others you are considering.
     
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  14. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Indeed.

    I have a D28 and a D15. I don't play bluegrass at all. I love the deep beautiful bass a=with the chime on top. My wife's favorite guitar to listen to is my D15 which I've had for 23 years (damn I'm getting old). The mahogany top on a dread makes it even warmer. My wife will ask me to play "the big brown guitar" and it makes me smile.

    I like CSN and Tom Petty and Willy Porter and Peter Mulvey and any funky earthy Americana pop/folk. I love to play and sing that stuff. A big beautiful dread is very nice for that job.

    The Martin dread was the original banjo killer; it could keep up with the volume of a banjo player (banjos were always the loudest instrument in a folk or bluegrass ensemble) therefore they became popular with bluegrass pickers but in 2017 I don't think of a straight braced D28 as a "bluegrass instrument". That's like saying SUV's should only be driver in forests.

    www.umgf.com This year's group photo from Martinfest in August. I'm in the front row. I love these folks and I love Martinfest. The first rule of Martinfest......Whatever happens at Martinfest stays at Martinfest. We were all at the same hotel for 4 nights. I image it sucked to be a non-UMGF guest if you disliked guitar and singing at 2 AM.

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. peterscott01

    peterscott01 TDPRI Member

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    I have Martin D28 and its good.. Its fantastic guitar and sounds so warm, It was a great deal just needed a little servicing, just make sure it had the right bone nut and saddle, as it makes a major improvement. My luthier replaced the stock bone saddle with plastic one for no reason at all, and it lost some of its magic, After very aggressive online search on amazon, I came through a seller who did help me alot, you can contact them if you need saddle replacement martin guitar saddle.
     
  16. Lefty Addams

    Lefty Addams Tele-Afflicted

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    I suppose it also depend on whether you favour neck binding or not. I don't like it all, hence i would only have a D28 or a HD28.

    Miss out on that 3-piece back tone? Ah well ......
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2020
  17. TwangerWannabe

    TwangerWannabe Tele-Holic

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    I've owned a few D28's, a D-35 and an HD28. I no longer have any of those and currently own a D18.

    You really just have to play both and decide for yourself because neither is a bad choice, and both can be more than adequate to be a "lifetime" acoustic, without a doubt.

    Now, I'll preface what I'll write below by saying there are no hard or fast rules here, just generalizations, and just because one model or type of acoustic might be better suited (or the general consensus might be a particular model is better suited) for a particular style of music, this doesn't mean it's the final word and one can find many example to the contrary.

    Between the D28 and D35 I'd take a D35 all day long. Richer, fuller, more complex sound compared to the D28. I could never bond with D28's because I felt like the highs were always thin and tinny and was never impressed with the low end. I owned one from 2012, and the other was a 1976 D28 that I had restored and had a neck reset, refret, a few loose braces glued, new pickguard made and the bridge scooted to fix the intonation issue and it still sounded like crap. With that said, dont take my word as the gospel here because the D28 is probably the most popular and copied acoustic guitar ever. HD28's are way too scooped for my ears. Boomy lows, scooped kids and thin highs, and I noticed that it didn't really project as much as a D28 art D18 and had a habit of getting buried in a group/jam, etc. The D35 was like the best of both worlds. Very nice low end, but not boomy or muddy, highs are better balanced compared to a D28 or HD28, is a wonderful strummer and great fingerpicker. Only place it falls a little short for me is flat picking. It's a loud, dynamic and beautiful sounding guitar, but didn't really cut through as much as the D18.

    I had the D18 and D35 at the same time and for me the D18 just edged out the D35, but just barely. Both are VERY versatile guitars, and I'd give the edge ever do slightly to the D35 if you like a really rich, enveloping sound, are mostly a strummer/singer/songwriter that also likes to fingerpick. I'd go D18 if you play a fair amount of Bluegrass/flatpicking, but it's also a killer strummer for the singer/songweriter, but not as articulate and touch sensitive in comparison to the D35 when it comes to fingerpicking.

    Again, these are just my opinions and are generalizations. Really, either way you can't lose as long as you play them before you buy one.
     
  18. TwangerWannabe

    TwangerWannabe Tele-Holic

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    Either would be more than wonderful for your intended uses. Really, don't overthink it. Both are iconic, world class acoustic guitars.

    If you're on the fence about the D35, just watch David Byrne with the Talking Heads or Seth Avett.



     
  19. raysachs

    raysachs Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    This thread is three years old. Just a hunch, but I'm guessing the OP has had his guitar for a while. Might even have started opening up...
     
  20. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah he has!
    I actually remember this one.
    Still a good topic though.
    Made me look even today.
     
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