Over the past 100 years, Martin guitars have been carving out its place in the music industry. Giving us masterpieces like the D-28 and HD-28, guitar enthusiasts have always questioned, “Which one is better?”
It seems like it’s the battle of the best whenever these two are put in question.
If you’re an experienced guitarist and have been playing dreadnought acoustic guitars for a long time, it’s perfectly normal to come across these legendary masterpieces– which makes you question if what model really outshines the other.
When choosing between two guitars, your preference will always prevail.
Despite this decision being subjective, one cannot argue with facts.
That’s why in this article, we will get down to business and lay down both guitar’s feature and what makes it loved by many guitar players.
Martin D-28 – Natural
- solid East Indian Rosewood is used for the back and sides
- The guitar is capped with a solid piece of select Sitka Spruce for bright, clean highs
As one of Martin’s pioneer dreadnought guitars, the iconic Martin D-28 has been making a name for itself for over 80 years. The Martin D-28 has strongly made an impact to the music industry then and now. Defining what an acoustic guitar should be, one could say that the D-28 is the “OG” of dreadnought guitars.
Boasting a solid sitka spruce top with solid East Indian rosewood back and sides, each strum of the D-28 gives a defined and warm sound. Perfect for any music genre requiring a loud and powerful tone, the D-28 gives a rich resonance. It also features a solid wood neck with solid black ebony finger board giving it great playability with a matching beautiful sound.
With its iconic deep bass response, the D-28 is the go-to dreadnought guitar for music like Bluegrass, Folk, Pop, and Country. Known for its classic resonant warm tones, the D-28 made history. Without it, I don’t think Martin will ever be the same.
Martin HD-28 Natural
- Solid, book-matched East Indian rosewood is used for the back and sides.
Just like its relative, the Martin HD-28 looks almost the same as the D-28 with both having a classic herringbone top trim and X-bracing. However, Martin HD-28 features a scalloped bracing allowing it to have a louder and fuller bass sound. With its powerful sound and updated features, the HD-28 is a force to be reckoned with.
The reason behind HD-28’s success is all because of the high quality materials used in its construction, like a solid sitka spruce top, solid East Indian rosewood back and sides, and its select hardwood neck. Adding to its sweet and balanced sound is the black ebony finger board which allows it to respond beautifully.
With its improved design and features, you can never go wrong with the Martin HD-28. Featuring nickel open-geared tuners, the HD-28 conveniently stays in tune.
Here are the detailed specs for each guitar:
Advantages Over Each Other
Since both guitars have almost the same specifications, here are some advantages of both guitars that would help differentiate one from the other.
- Skillfully made neck to bracing, allowing it to be as precised as ever
- Gives a full and loud tone
- Its scalloped bracing allows its tone to have a balanced sound with a bit of a sweet touch to it
- Improved and relatively more attractive design
- Classic and elegant design
- Relatively more affordable
- Provides a clear and balanced tone
How Does Each Guitar Sound?
Let’s take a closer look and examine the difference between each guitar’s sound. Below are two different videos showcasing the sound quality and features of each featured dreadnought acoustic guitar.
Evidently, the Martin HD-28 produces rich and booming sound. It features a scalloped bracing to be able to “open up” the sound, since the top is able to vibrate more in combination with smaller, “scalloped out” braces. The HD-28 also gives off a sweet and balanced harmonics dues to this design.
The HD-28 gives more overtones, volume, and bass. We can also see that the HD-28 is obviously great for finger-picking.
Although guitar players find this dreadnought guitar on the more pricey side, one can’t argue the pleasing-to-the-ears, sweet, and articulate sound of the HD-28. If you’re more likely to be attracted by this specific type of sound, the Martin HD-28 is the one for you.
The Martin D-28 is considered one of the legendary pieces when it comes to dreadnought acoustic guitars. This may be the reason why. The D-28 gives a very specific sound. Overall, it produces a more rounded sound with a punchy touch, with less overtone and more balanced tone.
At first, the D-28 gives a stiff and more focused sound. But, as you use it over time, its wood begins to develop a strong bass. Featuring a straight bracing, the D-28 tends give out a more balanced response between all frequencies.
Compared to the HD-28, the D-28 gives a more quiet and intimate sound. If you’re into that kind of acoustics, this one is perfect for you.
Choosing between which one is better is a tough choice, especially when it looks and feels almost as if one is a clone of the other one. The Martin HD-28 and D-28 might look the same at one glance, but when you take a deeper look at the two, you’ll realize that the two might be different after all.
With its overall quality and sound performance, you’ll get more than what you’re paying with the Martin HD-28. Dubbed as an improved and more modern version of its close relative, D-28, the HD-28 is louder and gives stronger bass. Every harmonic is articulate with the HD-28.
Aside from its sound quality, the HD-28 is also more physically attractive. With its herringbone inlays and decorative Tortoise Shell patterned pick-guard, the HD-28 will remind you of the “Golden Era”.
Coming from a brand that’s known to be a powerhouse of excellent and legendary guitars, both the HD-28 and D-28 offer premium craftsmanship and outstanding sound. However, it all really comes down personal preference and the specifics you’re looking for.
If a major factor you’re looking at is it price, the Martin D-28 is a relatively more affordable choice than the HD-28. Since it comes from the same company, the D-28 guarantees an excellent sounding acoustic.