HD28V review by Martin

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 7.9 (65 votes)
Martin: HD28V

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 10
The instrument was re-strung with Martin SP 4200 Medium Strings, tuned to Concert pitch, and BOOM this guitar is cannon! The HD28V rich and powerful bass tones compliment the midtones and trebles and the overall sound is in perfect harmony accross the sound spectrum. The action is perfect out of the box, so to speak, and I didn't detect fret buzz anywhere on the neck. The "V" neck was uncomfortable at first but my left hand adjusted quickly and I find that employing a callsic left hand rather than a baseball bat is very easy and comfortable. Actually it encourages me to put my thumb where it belongs. This guitar is a players dream, the sound is the best I have ever heard on any instrument I have ever owned.

Overall Impression — 10
This is the third Martin I have owned spanning about 25 years or so. They all played well, had great sound, and had very high resale value. The HD28V is a masterpiece. If you need a accoustic guitar this is the instrument to own and play. I plan on playing this sweet sounding AX for many years so I hope it isn't stolen or damaged. Anything else I wsih I had? Yeah, another HD28V.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This instrument can withstand a hurricane. It is solidy built (aren't they all?) heavy because of the ebony and rosewood used in the instrument. There is only one thing to do with this instrument, play it. If the finish wears off who cares, buy another one if you need a backup guitar. By the way, the Geib case that comes with the guitar is very period stylish, the interior is very eye appealing, and it fits the guitar like a glove.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The fit and finish of the instrument is in typical Martin style, perfect. I assume Martin uses a higher grade of tonewoods in the instrument, the sound board, sides, and back are matched beautifully. The low mass open tuning machines add extra zing to the instrument. I cahned out tuning machines that were similar to the more modern closed type and the guitar (old Alvarez) seemed a little dull afterwards.

Features — 10
This instrument is a 2004 re-issue of the pre WWII Model 28, not orginal. The following is directly from Martin's web site. These fine instruments draw their inspiration from the elegant Vintage designs and appointments of the pre-World War II era. Most "Vintage Series" models include old-style squared headstock, modified V-shaped neck, period fingerboard inlays, scalloped bracing, beveled tortoise colored pickguard, old-style long or through saddle, aging toner finish on soundboard, Vintage style tuning machines and a Vintage Geib Style case. Standard features for the 'Vintage Series' generally include solid wood top, back and sides, pre-war appointments, gloss finished bodies, and hand-fit dovetail neck attachment.

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Pretty sure my next guitar will be a Martin. reviews are awesome.
    I have recently received my HD28v after doing a deal with Jon Garron at My Favorite Guitars. I will start by saying that I do not intend to go into technical details about the bracing or the tuners or anything else. There are other members that will have mentioned this a thousand times and done a much better job than me. What I do want to do in this review is to translate my opinion towards the guitar and what I genuinely feel about my purchase made. I ordered my guitar blind without having played one before and following seeing it advertised on the web described as new but I felt I had to act fast as this was a left hander. They dont hang around too long if they're any good...especially left handers . I quickly read up as many reviews as I could to see what the general opinion was of the guitar before making a commitment. Over the years, I have realized that there is something about the Martin Sound that I really love. As a left hander it has not always as easy to find the variety of guitars available to all you right handers. So whenever something comes up on the used market it seems to grab our attention more. I seriously believe that there is an army of us Souhpaws out there Buying & Tryring and passing on. What works is kept and what doesnt is passed back into left field. I can remember going into a music shop in London a few years ago in Shaftesbury Avenue and reaching out to a Martin 00015 as it was one of very few left handed guitars on the wall. It was smaller than most of the other guitars but it was a Martin and I had to give it a strum to see what all the fuss was about. Boy! Did that first chord leave its mark on me. It took me completely by suprise...how did a smaller guitar have such a big sound??? If I had the cash on me I would have bought it there and then but unfortunately, all I could do was walk away from the shop thinking one day. Anyway, I digress ....back to the HD28v - It was time for me to get into a bigger league with Martin and to hopefully reduce my collection of guitars. Although I also recently purchased a D18GE I am still unsure about my feelings towards it and wanted to be in a position to compare the two if possible. Dont get me wrong...the GE is a great guitar in it's own right and a totally different sound to the HD28v...but Im not sure if the right sound is right for me? Im still working with it. Most of my guitars are Hog (not intentionally, its just what I have found available at the time Ive been in a position to buy). The HD28v was temptation staring at me in the face and was now my opportunity to go for something different...and Different it is! After I agreed a deal with Jon Garron, I sent off a deposit to commit and then it sank in What have I done? I already have several acoustics (Gibson J45, Taylor 514ce, Takamine EF341sc, Martin 00015 and a D18GE) did I really need another? Again, it has been my goal for a while was to narrow down my guitars to what I need and had to help fund this purchase I reluctantly sold my J50 Deluxe and a Taylor 414 (my first serious guitar). 2 for 1 (had to start somewhere) Jon had very kindly agreed to allow me some time to get my funds together and reserved the guitar for me following receipt of a deposit and until I sold my other 2 guitars. I eventually wired the full balance payment over to Jon and his wife Sharon promptly sent me a payment receipt. I would say now that from start to finish Jon and Sharon were with me all the way to ensure I had enough re-assurance that I was in good hands. Only A week later, unbelievably, I received the postal notice to pay the customs charges and which confirmed my guitar had arrived in the UK. Now, Ill cut to the chase. After collecting the guitar, I took it home and tuned up. This is truly a stunning guitar to look at ...in fact, a masterpiece of craftsmanship in a classic tradition. I really love the black and white herringbone strip around the front edge of the guitar. Once tuned up, I strummed the first chord and it rang out and just sang to me - This was the GOLDEN FLEECE I had been searching for. Wow... What a sound! It just rang out like a grand piano and the sustain carried through from one chord to the next. In a funny sort of way, once you get going it's almost as if the guitar is playing itself. Playing this guitar has been a totally new experience for me and I knew straight away that I had spent my money well. No regrets whatsoever. Anyone who is concerned about the comments of the V neck should not take these concerns to heart and if possible at least play one first and be your own judge. IMO the neck has a very solid feel to it (as doers the whole guitar) and is easy to play. I have relatively normal hands (not large or small) and do not find the neck to be a problem in any way. In fact it is just a joy to play. The neck is certainly less pronounced than the GE and so it really proves a point that although the forums are a great source of informati
    (continued from above).....a great source of information and guidance, each person is a different and as such the real proof is in our own hands. So if the consensus of opinion is generally positive but there are the odd reservations here and there do not be put off and at least see if you can try an example somewhere. Worst case scenario, if your order on the internet and it's not quite what you imagined then make sure you have an option to exchange or at least know that if your buying used that chances are you will get your money back on resale or close to. IMO this is the first time after receiving delivery of a guitar that I feel almost like I've fallen in love with an instrument. I look at her differently to other guitars as if we have a special relationship. Perhaps it's because I've sensed that I've found what I have looking for and realised it straight away. Love at first sight.lol. It stimulates all the senses sight, sound, touch and smell....yes that great Martin Smell. My problem now is what do I do now about reducing my collection??? With the HD28v I thought I was going to have buyers remorse, but believe me from the first strum onwards I couldn't have been more happier to have spent almost $2.5k on a guitar as I feel that I've got exactly what I've paid for. Great craftsmanship/Great Sound and a definite keeper 100%. So Thank you to Jon & Sharon at MFG for all your help and assistance and for a very smooth transaction and thank you Martin & Co.
    Hi PacinoPacino, I am also thinking of ordering from Jon Garon to get a D28 Marquis sent to Australia. How did you organise insurance? Was it with USPS or separate? Congratulations on finding your holy grail guitar- I' m hoping to do the same.
    Hi Jazz77, Jon made all the arrangements with insurance. It was worthwhile as they case got damaged in transit but thankfully the guitar survived. Jon's wife Sharon has been brilliant helping with the claim. I was just relieved that there was no effect to the guitar. It really is a something else and do not hesitate to get in contact with Jon for assistance. He will probably be able to get you a great deal against the rrp and at least you know he's absolutely genuine. D28 Marquis sounds good to me, I've read many great reviews, but for me the HD28v is nothing short of perfect. Good luck with your purchase and give Jon regards from Andrew in London (that's me).
    Hi PacinoPacino, Thanks for your reply and your advice re insurance. I am now at the point where I can make the very, very early morning phone call to MFY to discuss Martin model options and make a commitment. I'll be sure to mention you enthusiastic endorsement of MFY. I also noticed that you have a D18 GE and I'm really interested to know which guitar you are playing the most now. Do you prefer the D18 for certain styles of music? Greg
    Hi Greg, nice to hear back from you and hope by now you've managed to communicate with Jon at MFG. With the D18GE I'm beginning to appreciate it more now than before as it is slightly darker in tone than the 28v and definitely more direct with each note. However, the V neck is more pronounced than the 28v and takes some getting use to. The 28v is still my favorite though. If I was to compare the sound of the two guitars it's almost as if the 28v has added chorus (which I love). It's an easier guitar to play. If the GE had the same V neck as the 28v I certainly wouldn't be complaining. I'm not sure about which guitar is better for certain styles of music. I only really play rhythm and both do a grand job. Although both have the Martin sound (without question) IMO both have a different mood and this offers me the option on certain songs. Maybe the GE is a little better for finger picking due to the slightly wider spacing. However, if I was forced at gun point to choose between the two then I believe the 28v would be my choice as an all rounder and an easier guitar to play. If you were considering a D18ge I would recommend you play one first to see how you get on with it. If, however, you're buying without trying....the 28V is the way to go. Very best of luck with your choice. Would love to hear what you choose in the end and you're own comments. Andrew
    Hi Andrew, Thanks for the comments on the D18. They seem like excellent guitars but I agree there are so many positive reviews of the HD28V out there. It is likely the D28 mq for me. Jon should have one in a week or two. I really like the sound of the HD28 but I'm used to the wide neck on my Maton guitars so the mq seems a better fit. I'll give you an update when he guitr comes in. Cheers Greg
    Andrew, thanks for the help, advice and encouragement. Cheers, Greg
    Well, my Martin D28 Marquis arrived almost a week ago. I have to say that the enthusiastic recommendations given to Jon and Sharon Garon at My Favourite Guitars are absolutely deserved. The D28 Marquis is superbly put together guitar and pretty much perfect for me. I had played a HD 28 before and really liked the deep bass and punch but also found the neck a little bit cramped for me. So the Marquis with its 1 inch neck seemed like a really good option. The Marquis IMHO has a really nice projection, or punch similar to a HD28. The best way I can think of to describe it is like the defined, focussed, sound you get from say a G chord strummed on a Stratocaster through a good fender amp. The Marquis has a wide dynamic range compared to my only other acoustic which is an Australian made Maton guitar with Australian blackwood back and sides and a sitka spruce top. Strumming the Marquis produces a lot of bass but also plenty of sparkle in the treble. Even though the guitar is a dreadnought and a new one at that, it sounds very lively and particularly nice for fingerstyle playing. It takes absolutely minimum effort to make the guitar resonate and produce a really full tone. It seems to me that the combination of rosewood, golden era scalloped bracing and the Adirondack spruce top is an absolute winner. I guess learning to control the bass will be part of my learning to be a better player. Strumming made for some almost imperceptible metallic high-frequency overtones which I imagine will attenuate a bit as the guitar ages, and sit on the outer edge of hearing (well my hearing anyway). It is really noticeable that the guitar simply gets louder the harder you strum. There is no sense that the guitar has topped out. Thanks Andrew for your advice and comments, it helped me make what was a pretty large commitment, especially given the few opportunities to play a Martin guitar - although I know many people regard the Martin HD28V as one of the best guitars that the world has to offer I have yet to see or hear in person. Anyway, I couldn't be happier with the Marquis and the service from Jon and Sharon from MFG was second to none.
    Hey Greg, I'm so pleased to hear your news. Massive congratulations on your purchase. It sounds like you made the right choice and are clearly now relieved that all went to plan. Of course, it's always a massive commitment (especially buying without trying) and that's what makes it so much better when you open the guitar case, get a whiff of that smell of the wood and then from the first strum you realize exactly why you spent good money and can genuinely say "it was worth it". Absolutely, Jon and Sharon at MFG make the whole experience a pleasure and very skillfully and professionally hold your hand through out the whole process up to delivery and that's a great reassurance when your spending this sort of cash. Like me, I'm sure you will continue to enjoy your guitar as much as I do mine. I've read a lot of reviews comparing the HD28v to the Marquis model and the general census of opinion (although enjoying the V with very high regard) find a little more in favour of the Marquis if you can go the extra cost. So considering how much I rate the V; I guess you have one hell of a guitar in your hands. It's a great feeling. Nice review too. Enjoy! Best Regards Andrew