1943 Martin D-28

Here is a vintage 1943 Martin D-28 flattop acoustic guitar. This nicely preserved example features all of the important pre-war D-28 specifications, including; scalloped bracing, herringbone binding, Ebony fingerboard with slotted-diamond inlays, Ebony bridge, and Brazilian Rosewood back and sides. This fine instrument, arguably one of the best acoustic instruments ever made, is one of only 193 made in 1943, and with less than 1,000 pre-war Martin D-28s produced (those made between 1931 and 1944), it represents one of the most rare and desirable instruments in the World. This particular example is a one-family owned instrument, the son of the long-time owner having inherited it from his father decades ago. It has been very well-preserved, and is much more intact than most which are advertised via specialized dealers at exorbitant prices. Commonly considered an investment exempt from the fragility of other tangible goods markets, the pre-war D-28 is not just a blue chip, rather it is guaranteed to increase in value.

This ’43 Martin D-28 is in excellent original condition, sporting an exemplary tight-grain Adirondack spruce top that looks and sounds remarkable, Ivoroid binding with the renowned herringbone trim, an elegantly understated rosette with black and white motif offsets, a faux tortoise guard, book-matched quarter-sawn Brazilian Rosewood back and sides, original and intact 1 3/8″ maple bridge plate, scalloped/tapered bracing, an incredibly attractive zigzag backstrip, Ivoroid binding around the back, an incredibly rich Ebony bridge, a dense Ebony fingerboard with Abalone slotted-diamond and snowflake inlays, an ebony truss rod, a 1 11/16″ nut width, original “T” frets, vintage spec. replacement tuning machines, original decal, original nut, original saddle, and original bridge pins with matching strap pin.

The bottom treble-side bout near the top was compressed when the guitar was likely bumped, and it resulted in a surface split. Evident in many photos, this damage is visible on the top yet does not go through to the inside. Perhaps around the same time the damage was caused, the neck was professionally reset. At which point, there was very slight overspray over the damaged area, along with overspray around the neck heal and back of the neck/headsock. The original tuners have been replaced twice, (once with closed-back Kluson style tuners, and again with vintage reissues) and while the machine post hole is still the original profile, there are several original tuner mount screw holes added (concealed when current tuners are installed). The only other structural issue are (2) very small drying cracks on the back of the guitar. None of these issues have been addressed nor repaired. There is a small split stemming from the A-string tuner, through the Brazilian Rosewood veneer only.

The guitar sounds incredible and profoundly projects with absolutely gorgeous rich tone. I have owned D-18s with advanced bracing and other pre-war D-28s, but I can’t remember any of them sounding this good. It is impeccably well-balanced with substantial separation between the resonant rich tbass and the shimmering highs. The neck rest was very well executed, and the action is absolutely perfect. With the original saddle and nut enabling a great setup with near perfect playability. The tone woods are superb, and the guitar naturally envelopes and breathes with complete transparency.

There’s a light play wear pattern just east of the fingerboard tongue, around the perimeter of the soundhole, and another very light patch just south of the pickguard. The majority of the finish on the back of the neck appears to have been intentionally removed, but it has created an extremely comfortable tactile experience. The guitar plays effortlessly, and with medium gauge strings, booms with the power of a piano.