Chapter 7: Other Models
As a result of the phenomenal growth in acoustic guitar sales during this period and the subsequent slowdown, the Martin Company began an aggressive research and development phase which brought no fewer than nine new Dreadnought models into production by 1980. It’s difficult to single out one model for consideration, but the HD–28 represented an interesting glimpse back, while all of the rest were new ideas.
Introduced in 1976, the HD–28 was a conscious effort to remake a guitar from the past–the prewar herringbone D–28. Like the early Dreadnoughts, it featured scalloped top braces, a small maple bridge plate, and herringbone marquetry around the top. This bow to the past has proven to be a very popular model. After the success of the HD–28, the HD–35 (a D–35 with scalloped braces, maple bridge plate, and herringbone trim) was introduced in 1978.
A singular effort was the Bicentennial commemorative D–76, featuring a three–piece back, style 28 body trim, pearl stars in the fingerboard, a pearl eagle in the peghead, and two herringbone back strips. It had a limited production of 1,976 guitars (plus an additional 98 employee instruments). The D–76, which began production in 1975, was not a hot seller; it didn’t sell out until 1978.
Yet another eye–catching series of guitars was produced, made out of Hawaiian koa wood. This was not the first time the Martin Company used this tropical hardwood, but these were the first Dreadnoughts using koa. Two basic styles came in two optional models each. The D–25K had a spruce top, two–piece koa back and sides, rosewood fretboard and bridge, and black binding; the optional koa top changed the designation to D–25K2. The D–37K came with figured two–piece koa back and sides, spruce top, ebony fretboard and bridge, white binding, and fancier inlay; the koa top option was the D–37K2.
Two other instruments were introduced to fit between the D–18 and the D–28. The D–19 was a D–18 with a stained top (brown to match the sides and back). It was followed by the D–19M which was a D–18 with a mahogany top.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The Dreadnought Story
Chapter 2: From the Beginning
Chapter 3: The First D-45
Chapter 4: Mid-`40s to the Mid-`60s
Chapter 5: The Tumultuous Mid-`60s
Chapter 6: The Big Guitar Boom
Chapter 7: Other Models
Chapter 8: Approaching 2000 & Beyond