Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Martin D-45, A Top of The Line, Beautiful Acoustic Guitar Masterpiece

The D 45, by C.F. Martin & Co

The Martin D-45 is the top of the line acoustic guitar produced by the legendary American company, C.F. Martin & Co. It is a similar guitar to their more widespread, affordable, and famous model, the D-28, in that it features a solid spruce soundboard, solid rosewood back and sides, and the high "X" bracing that is present on almost every single studio or professional quality guitar used for playing leads, or even rhythm. The Martin D 45 starts at a base price of $7,500.00, and then goes as high as the pocket is deep.
The most famous, loved, and purchased acoustic guitars in the world are all Dreadnought, or "flat top" guitars-and they are always either guitars made by C.F. Martin & Co., the Gibson guitar company-or, they are copies of models that are made by Martin or Gibson.

The Martin D 45, a Front View, and Headstock Variations Featuring Abalone Inlay

The Martin D 45, Martin's Flagship Acoustic Guitar

What distinguishes the Martin D-45 from other models in the Martin line, or other imitations of equal or greater value is the abalone inlay that is virtually everywhere on the Martin D-45. Especially noticeable is the abalone inlay in the solid ebony fingerboard. What you see, and what the inlay is used for is to demonstrate for the player, or the careful observer, the fret that the player is on with his left hand-this, assuming that the guitarist is right handed. Never fear, left handed pickers, or aspiring musicians-all Martin guitar models are available in left handed models, as well as the standard right handed model.

Also noticeable is the abaloneinlay on the D-45 headstock, and a break from the traditional horizontal signature on the Martin Headstock, as the D-45 is abalone inlay, and vertical. I've imported two very fine pictures that show this beautiful feature. Maybe you noticed, and maybe you didn't-but the tuning keys on the D-45 are gold plated. We're talking about an instrument that goes to every extreme for beauty.

There is no such thing as a dressed down Martin D 45, there is however, such a thing as a D 45 being even more dressed up. You need to realize that the Martin D-45 isn't the most common guitar that you'll see, in fact, it's a pretty uncommon guitar. I've played untold dozens of Martin guitars, and owned two, but I've only ever played ONE Martin D 45, and this was simply the most beautiful, dressed up guitar that I've ever seen. Take a deep breath, the one I played was for sale for "only" $45,000.00

Forty Five grand for a guitar might sound completely stupid to you-but it's not if you make your living using that guitar to do so. It's no different than that cowboy who bought a forty five thousand dollar pick up truck to haul his tractor and tools around with. Also, that particular D 45 had the most beautiful inlay pattern that I'd ever seen-it was various colors of green, and pearl white, and was of some kind of vine, and it "grew" from the sound hole up to the head stock.

One more thing to consider when thinking about abalone inlay-it's very bad for the health of the Luthier building these guitars to breathe in the abalone dust that is created when the precision made pieces are cut for the guitar's inlay. I'm not sure that it's even worth it to do that sort of thing without all the right equipment. Think about that when you price a D 45, or other model of guitar featuring lots of abalone inlay.

The D 45 With Solid Koa Wood Back and Sides

The Koa Wood Martin D 45

As I've stated above, the tradition with the Martin D 45 is that it is a guitar featuring the finest solid rosewood back and sides. This is still the case-but the Martin D 45 is also available with another, less often used tonewood, and that is Koa wood.

Why is it that different woods are used for acoustic guitars, and how do these woods affect the sound of the instrument? In the past, there was less opportunity for confusion on this issue, since most guitars were made of mahogany, rosewood, maple, ebony, and spruce. But with the dwindling availability of traditional tonewoods, particularly those cut from old-growth forests, major manufacturers and smaller luthiers have been compelled to consider the use of alternative species of tonewoods- some of them common and others decidedly uncommon. ~Dama Bourgeois~
Koa wood is becoming more and more popular as a tonewood for fine guitars, and it's a wood with some pretty interesting characteristics. I'll say that it would be impossible for you to go wrong with a koa wood guitar. . . but you just might not be getting exactly what you thought you wanted unless you've got a studied ear for guitars, and tonewoods. Let me explain: Koa wood's tonality varies more than mahogany or rosewood, depending on the density of the wood used; and koa wood density varies as well. Basically, it comes down to this: The more dense the koa wood - the more the guitar will sound like a rosewood guitar. The less denser specimens of koa wood  make for a guitar that sounds more like a mahogany guitar.

Snowflake Abalone Inlay on the D 45 Marquis

Prices Start at $7,500.00, and Up For Martin's D 45 Acoustic Guitar

Prices start out for this beautiful guitar at seven thousand, five hundred dollars. The base model comes with a solid Sitka spruce soundboard, high X bracing, and solid East Indian rosewood back and sides. The base model has over 900 pieces of abalone inlay found virtually all over the instrument. The deluxe case that this guitar comes in itself retails out at $190.00.

Martin D 45 Marquis

The next level up on the Martin D 45 ladder is the Marquis model, which features some "Golden Era" specifications not found on the standard model, such as the solid Adirondack spruce top, and "snowflake" style inlay. This guitar sells for a $10,000.00 The "snowflake" abalone inlay pattern essentially gives you a lot LESS abalone inlay. The pride and joy of the musician who owns THIS model of D 45 is the Adirondack "red" spruce top, Adirondack spruce is the premium, and often preferred soundboard for pickers, or soloist. This guitar is geared less towards beauty, and more towards sound.

The Golden Era D 45 with Brazilian Rosewood

Beautiful Brazilian Rosewood on the D 45 Golden Era
Beautiful Brazilian Rosewood on the D 45 Golden Era

The Martin D 45 Golden Era

The Martin D 45 Golden Era is the top of the ladder, the only way to get a guitar designed to be more beautiful in sound and appearance is to special order one from either Martin, or the luthier or your choice. What distinguishes the Golden Era D 45 from the rest is that it has both the solid Adirondack spruce soundboard and solid Brazilian rosewood back and sides. The beauty of Brazilian rosewood is not only in it's appearance, Brazilian rosewood has specific tonal characteristics that are completely unique to that tonewood. This guitar retails at $20,500.00

The D 45 By C.F. Martin & Co.



In conclusion, I'd like for you to understand that the Martin D 45 is a guitar built for beauty, and all Martin guitars built with solid tonewoods are built for premium sound, and are intended for a professional, or a serious enthusiast. Having said that, it's important to understand also that a guitar enthusiast is often mostly interested in the guitar's tone and playability. Because no two guitars, even guitars made from the same woods from the same trees by the same luthier will be "equal," a standard model Martin D 45 might very well be preferable to one musician over a Golden Era model-based on sound.

The opposite might be true for someone else. The Golden Era model, however, will always retain a higher value both new, and used to most any and every consumer. I hope that this has been interesting and useful to someone-and I haven't touched on some of the finer, less known and considered specifications for these types of guitars, but should you stay tuned-these subjects will also be addressed. As always, I'm happy to answer any questions that you might have. Till then, play your guitar!


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