A cool re-creation of Martin’s first dreadnought.
by Teja Gerken
November 14, 2016
The Martin dreadnought is arguably the most influential steel-string guitar ever made. While most dreadnoughts are based on the 14-fret design originally introduced in 1934, the first dreadnoughts had 12 frets to the body. Martin’s new D-1 Authentic 1931, part of Martin’s celebration of the dreadnought’s 100th anniversary this year, is a faithful reproduction of the very first dreadnought produced under the Martin name (the company had built some as custom orders for the Ditson company as early as 1916). Like all of Martin’s Authentic-series instruments, the D-1 Authentic 1931 adheres closely to vintage specs. The guitar has genuine mahogany back and sides and an Adirondack spruce top that is treated with Martin’s Vintage Tone System. Like the original, the D-1 Authentic 1931 has a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard, bridge, and headplate. It is built with hide glue and finished with Martin’s ultrathin Vintage Gloss finish.
The guitar’s vintage specs include very wide neck and string-spacing dimensions. Measuring 1⅞ inches at the nut, the neck has a slight V profile; players who favor chunkier vintage-style dimensions over modern low-profile necks will feel right at home. The guitar’s string spacing of 2³/₈ inches at the saddle is unusual on a dreadnought, but is similar to vintage OMs and similar guitars.
The D-1 Authentic 1931 is a powerful guitar with a huge dynamic range. Played softly, the guitar has a more direct response than many dreadnoughts, and it has a beautiful fat tone when played fingerstyle. Digging in harder demonstrated its potential for great volume and its wide dynamic range. Regardless of how the guitar is played, it offers complex, multi-dimensional tone.
SPECS: 12-fret dreadnought body. Solid Adirondack spruce top with Vintage Tone System treatment. Scalloped X-bracing. Solid mahogany back and sides. Mahogany neck with dovetail joint. Brazilian rosewood fingerboard and bridge. Hide glue construction. 25.4-inch scale. 1⅞-inch nut width. 2³/₈-inch string spacing at saddle. Golden Age Relic brass tuning machines. Made in the USA. $6.999 (list). Martinguitar.com
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