About a year ago, I acquired my first Martin – a steel string Backpacker – truly, the ‘bottom-of-the-line’ but, compared with the inexpensive and cumbersome guitars I had been toting around and playing for the 35 years or so previously (Harmony Sovereign and a Framus 6-string) I found it’s playability a pleasure – though it’s sound leaves quite a lot to be desired. It was, however, portable – and together with substantially adjusted expectations, it met many needs for me. But a seed had been planted. I had tasted (touched) something better than what I had touched before. If it helps to understand my point of view or experience, I am a devoted acoustic player – and have never owned or played an electric or amplified acoustic guitar of any kind.
My addiction continued as I bought a D-15 Custom build (Mahogany) from Musician’s Friend about 4 months ago. This was the first really ‘good’ guitar I ever owned. It was easy to play and had wonderful resonance and tone. It actually made me sound like a better guitarist. I was pleased – for a while. (Both are reviewed by me here on epinions). But, as with all addictive behaviors, it continued to grow.
More recently, I began shopping around and stopping into local guitar stores to play other/better models of the Martin line and have recently settled on a new HD-28. Martin, arguably, made it’s modern reputation with top quality acoustic guitars on the back of the D28 series. Th “H” in the model number here refers primarily to trim elements on the front, edges and back of the instrument. I have moved from being a man who walked, to one who rode a horse, then a car – and now a Limo. Wow! What sound! What absolute playability! The appearance is a lot plainer than other brands – but it is pretty ornate for a mid-range Martin as the HD model includes the Herringbone trim and a tortoise shell pick guard (unlike the D28 which has a black one.) It is a lot heavier than the D-15 as it constructed of Rosewood (with a spruce top), is braced more heavily and has a lovely ebony fingerboard. The weight is no problem though, as it is light compared to my other axe, a 12 string Epiphone.
It is loud, but can be played softly. It is dramatic but can be played with great subtlety.
It can be played as the dominant presence in any venue – or as a reliable rhythm background instrument. I have played it with both flat picks (my preference) and fingerpicks. In each instance, the choice is that of the player. Everything seems possible. In any event, I feel that I have graduated to what I feel is a truly top-of-the-line musical experience. Perhaps I am kidding myself – but I feel as though this growing Martin addiction has, finally, been satisfied. At least that is what I’d like to believe and what I genuinely feel right now. On the other hand, am I kidding myself? Many addicts are when they say they’re finished. There ARE other Martins …
but as other reviewers have noted, it is difficult to imagine wanting or needing anything more from a real ‘player’s guitar’ than Martin offers in this wonderful model HD28.
I recommend either Elixer Medium or Eric Clapton (Martin) Medium-Light gauge strings on this guitar to achieve maximum sound with smooth playability.