Martin’s new Authentic Series guitars

Martin D-28 Authentic 1941Flatpickers and aficionados of dreadnaught guitars take note. C.F. Martin & Co.has introduced a number of prewar replicas – copies of their own vintage classics – among their Authentic Series instruments.

During last month’s NAMM show in Anaheim, CA, Martin unveiled 2 D-28 models, plus a D-18, a D-45 and an OM-18 in the Authentic line. Each was designed through meticulous examination, measurement, and even CAT scanning of the prized prewar guitars on which they are based. Prototyping following initial design specs were set showed that constructing the guitars with hide glue also produced a notable difference in tone over modern glue, so all the Authentics are built that way.

Here is a quick run down of the new models:

D-18 Authentic 1939 – This replica is based on a ’39 model in Martin’s private museum, with the identical neck, heel and headstock shape and taper as the original 14-fret guitar. Like the old 18, it is made with an Adirondack spruce top and mahogany back and sides. List price, $6749.

D-28 Authentic 1931 – A 12-fret, slotted headstock guitar, built with Adirondack spruce and Madagascar rosewood. Purists may disagree, but many modern builders and vintage fans find the structural and sonic properties of this East African timber to be remarkably similar to the Brazilian rosewood so highly prized by collectors. With the South American wood all but unavailable for current guitar makers due to export restrictions, Madagascar rosewood is becoming the top choice for guitars of the finest quality. List price, $8499.

D-28 Authentic 1941 – The classic herringbone D-28, made with Madagascar rosewood and Adirondack spruce. Like the other Authentics, this one mirrors all the specs of the original museum instrument, including the bracing as determined through a CAT scan. List price, $7999.

OM-18 Authentic 1933 – This 14-fret, shaded top guitar is a replica of a vintage original on loan from a private collector. Again, all the specs and detailing are exact matches with the original. List price, $6499.

D-45S Authentic 1936 – Martin holds nothing back in this museum replica, with back and sides made from their reserve stock of Brazilian. The Adirondack top is taken from their highest grade of spruce, on a slightly oversized body, as per the original. Fingerboard inlays are snowflakes, with a style 42 rosette inlay and style 45 inlay on the top, back and sides. List price, $59,999.

The company has set aside a special portion of the shop for building Authentics, with one top luthier taking each instrument through hand assembly and shaping from start to finish.

More details on these new prewar replicas can be found at the Martin web site.

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John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.