Martin D-1r

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The D1-R: That Martin Dreadnaught Sound at an affordable price

Dec 19, 2001 (Updated Dec 19, 2001)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Sweet Sound, Low Price, easy to play

Cons:Made of liminated woods, not as solid sounding as Martin's solid wood models

The Bottom Line: A very good sounding guitar, that lives up to the Martin Reputation. Good for beginners and intermediate players but also a good backup guitar for advanced players.


I remember a Martin advertisement that said that there are two kinds of guitarists in the world. Those who own a Martin and those who wish they did. I was in the latter catagory for years and now I own three: an HD-28, a DX12-1, and the D1-R. Even though I have the high end HD-28, I still use the D1-R quite a bit. If someone told me I had to choose between the 2 guitars, the HD-28 would win hands down, but the D1-R is still a nice guitar and I would hate to give it up.

I think that it speaks volumes on the quality of this guitar that C.F. Martin put its company name on the headstock. Martin has manufactured cheaper guitars in the past (or licensed their manufacture) but rather than the Martin name they carried names like Sigma and Shenandoah. Martin apparently felt that their lower end guitars in the One Series were not going to embarrass them. I've talked to many other guitarists who love these guitars, and I have to agree with them.

So, what is the Martin D1-R all about and what are you giving up when you opt not to spend the extra thousand dollars or so for one of their standard series guitars.

Well, first there are the woods that are used. The "R" in the D1-R stands for rosewood. The back and the sides of the guitar are made with rosewood (its sister the D1 is made with mahogany) but not solid wood like the more expensive Martins. A three ply rosewood laminate is used for the D1-R. The Rosewood in not simply cosmetic but tone producing as well. I've played both the D1 and the D1-R and the rosewood gives the D1-R a deeper, sweeter tone.

The top is made of solid spruce, pretty much like the high end Martins. The one series has its own unique bracing pattern, called the A frame X bracing. The bracing allows a nice rich open tone.

No fancy inlays on this guitar. Plain mother of pearl dots on a rosewood fretboard. And no fancy finish. It has a very nice satin finish with a honey toner. Its a pretty guitar that you won't be ashamed to take out on stage.

The overall look of the guitar is pretty much like any other Martin Dreadnaught. 20 frets, 14 free of the body. The guitar is loud, but not as loud as the standard series dreadnaughts. The biggest difference you will notice when you pick this guitar up is that it is very, very light.

I had a bit of difficulty in deciding whether or not to give this guitar 4 stars or 5 stars. The D1-R is certainly outstanding within its class and this little Angel is every bit a Martin in playability and sound. Its just that I have that HD-28 to A/B the D1-R against so I opted for a 4 star rating. It really is a nice guitar and a good investment for someone who likes the Martin Sound but doesn't have the money for one of their standard models.


Recommend this product? Yes


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