This early 1948 Martin D-28 (105204) was a big surprise in the responsiveness and huge voice that it delivers. The voice reminds me much more of a good mid-1947 tapered brace D-28 in the volume and presence. This guitar was used in dance bands and charity music performances by the original owner. As can be typical of a lot of 1940s and early 1950s Martin D-28s, this guitar was used with a DeArmond pickup and the now filled output jack hole is located in the typical spot, just below the widest lower bout spot in the treble side. Though not played in several decades, this guitar is very lively with its fresh neck reset and refret, performed by Alan Perlman. The medium stiff Sitka spruce top has a nice even grain width with bold winter grain lines. The lovely brick-red Brazilian rosewood back and sides have a resonant and colorful tap tone. The Honduras mahogany neck has some visual interest with a pronounced flame figure through most of the playing part of neck. The original Kluson DeLuxe tuners work well, but I have included in the case pocket a set of drop-in fit Gotoh tuners with a higher turning ratio and smoother gear function. The original ivory nut has been shimmed at the bottom as part of the neck reset and refret. Alan Perlman made the replacement ebony bridge out of a blank with some of the same “smokey” grey-brown streaks of the original. The original bridge had been sanded on its top mating surface and refincorced with bolts, as was common repair practice in the 1950s-60s. The original bridge is in the case pocket.
In the early 1960s, this D-28 went back to Martin for top crack repairs. In the process, it received the often seen larger pattern repair size replacement pickgurd and a cleanup overspray after the cracks were glued. The repair pickguard had curled badly during the several decades of storage, so Alan Perlman made a replacement and installed it over a light application of lacquer finish on the bare spot to provide a smooth gluing surface. Repaired top cracks include: A 4″ crack on the treble side of the fingerboard extension, a B string pickguard crack, an outside pickguard crack at the outer edge of the original pickguard shape, and a 6″ repaired crack from the bottom edge, located about 2″ toward the treble side lower bout from the bridge foot. Alan glued a 1″ side crack neck the output jack hole and plugged the hole with Brazilian rosewood of well matched grain. There are no back cracks. The pin set is a solid ungrooved Stewart MacDonald ivoroid set. The long bridge saddle is bone.
This guitar is very rewarding to play, with a rich colorful voice and quite powerful presence. A very versatile D-28. The original Lifton hardshell case remains in good working order and is surprisingly free of damage, given the heavy use through the playing life of the original owner.
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