Martin’s recently revised rosewood 000 now comes with state-of-the art Fishman electronics.
by Teja Gerken
April 20, 2020
Released last year, the Modern Deluxe line of guitars is Martin’s most advanced take on creating contemporary versions of its most iconic models. Without altering the fundamental designs, wood combinations, or general vibe, Martin has introduced several noteworthy features, upscale looks, and a more contemporary feel and sound than the vintage-style approaches to these models (check out our demo of the D-28 Modern Deluxe here). This year, the Modern Deluxe instruments are available with custom Fishman electronics, and I recently had a chance to check out the 000-28E Modern Deluxe.
000-size guitars are a staple in Martin’s line, and the company has offered countless variations on this theme, ranging from vintage reissues to cutaway acoustic-electrics built with non-traditional woods. As with all Modern Deluxes, Martin has put significant new elements under the hood of the 000-28, while sticking to the model’s fundamental recipe. The 000-28E Modern Deluxe is built with top-notch materials, including a beautiful set of Indian rosewood back and sides and a straight-grained and evenly colored Sitka spruce top treated with Martin’s Vintage Tone System (a heat process that simulates ageing). The guitar has the standard short 24.9-inch scale, but with a 1¾-inch nut, its neck is slightly wider than many older 14-fret 000s. The guitar’s appointments include maple binding, abalone position dots in the side of the fingerboard, and a pearl Martin logo in the peghead, but regardless of these upgrades, the instrument retains its overall style-28 vibe.
Probably the most unusual aspects of the Modern Deluxe series are its carbon-fiber bridge plate and titanium truss rod. Light in weight and extremely strong, the new bridge plate performs its reinforcing duties with minimal dampening, potentially allowing the top to move more efficiently. Weight is also a factor with the titanium truss rod, which helps make the instrument feel quite light. Martin also included its new “Liquidmetal” bridge pins on the guitar.
Playing the 000-28E Modern Deluxe, I was immediately struck by its clarity and large range of tones, from bright highs to rich lows. 000’s tend to be great all-around guitars, and the 000-28E Modern Deluxe was a delight to play in different styles, both with a pick and fingerstyle, and its short scale and contemporary, relatively shallow, rounded neck profile made for easy playability.
The new Fishman Aura VT Blend electronics combine an Acoustic Matrix undersaddle pickup with a custom Fishman Aura “image” created specifically for each model in the Modern Deluxe series. A blend control in the treble side of the soundhole allows the addition of the Aura sound to the basic pickup signal, and the system also includes volume and tone controls mounted in the bass side of the soundhole. Plugged into a Fishman Loudbox Mini, the results were very impressive. On its own, the Acoustic Matrix sounded full and had excellent presence, and dialing in the Aura image not only added a more “airy” quality, it also injected a dose of the guitar’s acoustic character, resulting in one of the better onboard systems I’ve heard.
Overall, the 000-28E Deluxe is a wonderful new version of a classic Martin. Players who value tradition but also like a modern feeling neck, advanced features, and state-of-the-art electronics (though the guitar is also available without a pickup) will want to check this one out.
SPECS: 14-fret 000 body. Sitka spruce top with Vintage Tone System treatment. Scalloped, Adirondack spruce X-bracing. Solid Indian rosewood back and sides. Genuine mahogany neck. Ebony fretboard and bridge. Titanium truss rod. Carbon-fiber bridge plate. 24.9-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. 2⁵/₃₂-inch string spacing at the saddle. Gold Waverly tuning machines. Fishman Aura VT Blend electronics. Made in USA. $5,799. Martinguitar.com
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