Skip to navigation
backstory banner

Chapter 4: Mid-`40s to the Mid-`60s

Following this rather active period of development (1931–1947), the D–18 and D–28 remained virtually un–changed for the next 20 years. There were other changes, however, which produced a pair of new Dreadnoughts and the reissue of a third.

In 1954, the Martin Company again started building Dreadnoughts with the elongated body and 12–fret neck, on a very limited basis. Designated with an "S" after the model number, the first few D–28S guitars were strictly special products.

The E. U. Wurlitzer Music Company of Boston ordered a few of these S–body guitars in 1962 to be sold only through their stores. The resulting D–28S proved to be popular enough that, in 1968, Martin added it (and the D–18S and D–35S) to its regular line. Versions of all three models are featured in the Martin "Vintage Series." According to Longworth, the factory has always given credit to Peter Yarrow (of the folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary) for popularizing the D–28S.

In 1956, a new rosewood–bodied Dreadnought, the D–21, made its first public appearance (six samples had been built in 1955). The D–21, like the D–18 and the D–28, was the Dreadnought version of an existing model (style 21).

The D–21 had the same rosewood body as a D–28, but in other features was more like a D–18: tortoiseshell–colored body binding and a rosewood fretboard and bridge.

Until the mid–’60s, Martin had always purchased rosewood in log (or "timber") form in Brazil. The wood was then resawn in the U.S. to Martin’s specifications. The Brazilian government placed an embargo on timber shipments, demanding instead that the logs be resawn in Brazil. This situation proved completely unsatisfactory for the Martin Company, and it began importing rosewood from India.

The effects of Martin’s decision to change to Indian rosewood occurred in stages. First, in 1965, was the introduction of a Dreadnought which allowed Martin to utilize a narrower section of wood than normally used in a D–size guitar: the three–piece back D–35. It was a brand new style, complete with fancier celluloid trim around the body, and binding on the sides of the fretboard. Unlike the D–21, the D–35 was a major success.

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

 
 
 
 
 
Back to top

Email to Friend

From:
To:
Subject: