1998 Martin HD-28VR

I bought this guitar after seeing Neil Young in 1999 in Portland, OR. I traded my mint-condition 1968 Fender Jaguar for it, and also threw in $500. I think the music store guy screwed me on the trade, but I really wanted the guitar and was willing to do just about anything.

During the 1980s, Martin made some custom order and short production-run reissues of the legendary pre-World War II model D-28. The pre-War D-28s are affectionately known as “herringbones” or just “bones” by virtue of the herringbone marquetry inlaid along the perimeter of the top.

The 1980s reissues proved to be popular enough that Martin introduced a pre-War reissue series in the 1990s. This Vintage series included the D-28 in 14-fret (HD-28VR) and 12-fret (HD-28VS) versions, the D-18VR, the D-18VS, the OM-28VR, the 000-28EC Eric Clapton signature model, and the D-45VR.

These guitars are not true reproductions of the orginals, however. The HD-28VR has some features not found on a pre-War D-28 including a satin finish neck, smaller “modified” V-shape neck profile, adjustable truss rod, and Indian rosewood body. Regardless of the modernization, the HD-28 still has the classic Martin dreadnaught sound.

The Martin HD-28 uses what Martin calls “forward-shifted” bracing; that is, the X-brace under the top is shifted closer to the sound-hole than in a standard D-28. Forward shifted bracing usually has the effect of increasing bass response by opening up more of the lower bout of the soundboard.

I used this on almost all of the songs on Off the Ground and Feels Like Light EP.

Highlights: Off the Ground, and A Brown Sound


2 thoughts on “1998 Martin HD-28VR

  1. It’s the one I can’t bring myself to sell, but I honestly do play the 000-18 more than I play this one. I think you are better suited to this one since you strum more and better. I do more finger styling, and that’s why I like the smaller body. (But I obviously do like it)

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