Saturday, April 26, 2014

1998 Martin HD-28

I traveled a little out of my way for this 1998 Martin HD-28, enticed by its alleged great condition and a drop in asking price below Blue Book value. I pounced immediately and was not disappointed. This is another Craigslist beauty!

The Martin HD-28 is an updated version of the 1930s/1940s version of the Martin D-28 that features the herringbone purfling (hence the "H"), scalloped bracing, and the tortoise-colored pickguard of that era. Introduced in 1976, the Martin HD-28 is a dreadnought-style guitar with a solid Spruce top and Indian Rosewood body, and has featured Martin's new low-profile neck since 1987. The current Martin HD-28 model lists for $3,649, with a street value of $2,700 and a Blue Book value up to $1,850 second-hand. Models from the 1990s, 80s, and 70s, are progressively more valuable with age.

This 1998 Martin HD-28 was kept as a "house" guitar by a fellow guitar aficionado who had other guitars for use out on his occasional gigs. The guitar was ding-free and showed no signs of play wear on the neck or body. Even better, the Spruce top had started darkening to a beautiful golden hue. The set up looked to be perfect with a bone compensated saddle upgrade so I was initially puzzled to hear a mysterious buzzing as I played the guitar. When I tapped the lower bout behind the bridge, however, the tell-tale vibrations of a loose brace under the top of the guitar were unmistakeable. Without a luthier's mirror to investigate the full extent of the needed repair, I negotiated an additional discount from the asking price, and made off with my prize. My luthier will have to tell me whether the brace simply needs re-gluing or is broken and needs to be replaced. Regardless, this is a beautiful guitar that deserves to be restored to its full glory.