Instruments & Gear: New Gear

Martin D-16E Rosewood

Sponsored By

A dreadnought with a shallower-than-standard body and Fishman electronics.

by Teja Gerken
January 06, 2020

Martin’s dreadnought design is by far the most popular body shape for steel-string guitars. The company offers many models that have the original dimensions, but it has also experimented with variations. Martin’s D-16E Rosewood is the latest, combining the traditional, non-cutaway outline of a standard 14-fret dreadnought body with the shallower depth of a 000. We had a chance to check out the guitar in the Peghead Nation video studio. 

Like other models in Martin’s 16 series, the D-16-E Rosewood is built with a streamlined manufacturing process that helps keep the cost down. Our demo guitar was built with beautiful Indian rosewood back and sides, and its Sitka spruce top has the wider grain often found on Adirondack tops. The guitar also has a herringbone rosette, white body binding, and style-28 dot position markers in the ebony fingerboard, giving the instrument a mostly traditional appearance. 

Martin has been using Fishman’s Matrix VT Enhance electronics, which are included in the D-16E Rosewood, for a while now. This flexible system consists of an undersaddle Acoustic Matrix pickup, a soundboard transducer mounted to the bridge plate, and controls for volume, tone, and blend inside the soundhole. 

Playing the D-16E Rosewood, it was undeniable that the shallower body leads to greater playing comfort, especially for the right arm and shoulder. Tonally, the guitar delivered a full dreadnought voice, good volume, and a dynamic character. Without having an otherwise identical guitar with a full-depth body for comparison, it’s hard to say what the shallower body’s impact is, but it’s likely that it’s a contributing factor in the D-16E Rosewood’s controlled bottom end. Plugged into a Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge amp, the guitar sounded big and rich, and I got a very satisfying sound as soon as I hit the amp’s power switch. 

Like nearly all 16-series models, the D-16E Rosewood is an incredible value. It’s no-frills approach to appointments means you’re paying for great materials rather than looks and it sounds great acoustically and plugged-in. If you’ve been looking for a dreadnought that’s more comfortable to play than the standard model, this is definitely one to check out. 

SPECS: Dreadnought body with 000 depth (4⅛ inches). Sitka spruce top with forward-shifted X-bracing. Indian rosewood back and sides. Select hardwood neck. Ebony fretboard and bridge. 25.4-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. 2⁵/₃₂-inch string spacing at the saddle. Nickel open-gear tuning machines. Fishman Matrix VT Enhance electronics. Made in USA. $2,199 (list).


Category: Instruments & Gear

Related Instruments and Gear Videos

Martin DC-X2E Mahogany

A cutaway dreadnought with Fishman electronics

The Guitars of “Duets”

Teja Gerken and Doug Young discuss the guitars used on their recent album of fingerstyle duets.

Martin GPC-X2E Macassar

An affordable mid-size acoustic-electric.

Martin D-18E Modern Deluxe

A great mahogany dreadnought with state-of-the-art electronics.

Martin OM-28E Modern Deluxe

A great OM that blends vintage design with state-of-the-art technology.

Martin 000-28E Modern Deluxe

Martin’s recently revised rosewood 000 now comes with state-of-the art Fishman electronics.

Comments and Discussion

Leave a Reply

Captcha Code

Click the image to see another captcha.


Article Thumbnail
Nov 24, 2020
A great mandolin duet of Sarah Jarosz’s original tune, recorded live at the Marshall Mandolin Summit.

Start Learning Today

One Course: $20/month or $200/year
Two Courses: $30/month or $300/year
Access to All Courses: $100/month

Peghead Nation’s String School is your source for roots music instruction, bringing you full courses in guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, fiddle, and Dobro, featuring talented instructors, high-quality video instruction, accurate notation and tab, and fun songs to play right from the beginning. Enroll and become a Peghead today!