Acoustical Guitar Review: Martin HD-35

Martin HD-35 Acoustic Guitar - Review

Review, specifications and similar instruments available for this quality acoustic guitar.

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  • Guitar Specifications
  • Martin HD-35
  • Similar Guitars
Model: Martin HD-35 Acoustic Guitar

Construction: Mahogany Blocks/Dovetail Neck Joint
Body Size: D-14 Fret
Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
Rosette: Style 28
Top Bracing: Standard X Scalloped
Top Braces: Solid Sitka Spruce 5/16"
Back Material: Solid Easy Indian Rosewood - Three Piece
Back Purfling: HD Zig Zag
Side Material: Solid East Indian Rosewood
Endpiece: Black/white Boltaron
Endpiece Inlay: none
Binding: Black Boltaron
Top Inlay Style :Bold Herringbone
Side Inlay: none
Back Inlay: Black/White Boltaron
Neck Material: Select Hardwood
Neck Shape: Low Profile
Nut Material: Bone
Headstock: Solid/Square Taper
Headplate: Solid East Indian Rosewood /Raised Gold Foil
Heelcap: White Boltaron with Multiple Black/White Boltaron Inlay
Fingerboard Material: Solid Ebony
Body Finish: Gloss Polished
Neck Finish: Satin
Scale Length: 25.4"
# of Frets Clear: 14
# of Frets Total: 20
Left Handed Option at No Cost
Pickguard: Black

List Price: $3,549.00 (incl. Case)
Warranty: Limited Lifetime

Martin HD-35 Front Martin HD-35 Acoustic Guitar Guitar

The tone of the Martin HD-35 Acoustic Guitar is what separates it from all other guitars. It has a solid Sitka spruce top with glossy finish, special East Indian rosewood for the polished back and sides, and genuine ebony fingerboard and bridge.

What sets this guitar apart from it's closely related D-35 is the scalloped bracing. In true vintage tradition Martin has carefully scalloped the bracing on this guitar to improve the tone and balance of the guitar.

With its rich, resonant warmth and punchy volume, the HD-35 is particularly well-suited to music styles requiring loud, powerful rhythm accompaniment. Includes Martin deluxe hardshell case and limited lifetime warranty.

Martin HD-35 Acoustic Guitar $3,549.00

Martin HD-35 Acoustic Guitar Features:
    Solid Sitka spruce top
    Solid East Indian Rosewood back and sides - 3 piece construction
    Solid Ebony fretboard and bridge
    25.4" scale length
    Mother-of-pearl fretboard inlays
    Limited lifetime warranty
Martin D-35 Dreadnought Guitar
Martin D-35 Dreadnought Guitar:The Martin D-35 Dreadnought Guitar gives you unsurpassed tone. Massive, solid Sitka spruce top produces a strong bass tone, ideal for rhythm playing.
Martin HD-28V Vintage Dreadnought Guitar
Martin HD-28V Vintage Dreadnought Guitar: Grained Boltaron bindings, forward-shifted scalloped bracing, butterbean tuning machines, and diamond-and-squares fingerboard inlay.
Martin D-28 Marquis Acoustic Guitar
Martin D-28 Marquis Acoustic Guitar: Premium-grade solid Indian rosewood for the back and sides and an Adirondack spruce top, the Guitar delivers powerful sounds with scalloped Adirondack spruce braces and forward-shifted X-bracing.
Martin D-28 75th Anniversary Edition Acoustic Guitar
Martin D-28 75th Anniversary Edition Acoustic Guitar: Features a solid Adirondack spruce top for excellent resonance and response, and solid Madagascar rosewood back and sides to get that legendary balanced Martin tone.
Martin D-28 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
Martin D-28 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar:With its rich, resonant warmth and punchy volume, the D-28 is particularly well-suited to music styles requiring loud, powerful rhythm accompaniment.
  • Front
  • Side
  • Back
  • Bridge
  • Fretboard
  • Head
Martin HD-35 Front
Martin HD-35 Side
Martin HD-35 Back
Martin HD-35 Bridge
Martin HD035 Fretboard
Martin HD-35 Head

Features: 8.5

This is a very nice, very impressive acoustic guitar. The fingerboard is ebony and is trimmed with white boltaron purfling. The Martin HD-35 is known for its' herringbone trim around the top and back edges, which is trimmed with white boltaron purfling as well.

The Martin HD-35 guitar comes with a 3-piece East Indian Rosewood back, with the East Indian Rosewood sides, which is very unique to the 35 Martin series. The Rosewood gives this guitar more tonal capacity toward the bass sound, while keeping the treble notes loud and clear.

The solid spruce top has a nice tight grain pattern with quite finely space lines. There should be at least 16 grain lines/inch and most of the Martin HD-35's I've seen meet this criteria.

What separates this guitar from the D-35 is the use of scalloped bracing, which was a hallmark of Martin Guitars during the pre-war era, or from the mid 1930's to the mid 1940's. This guitar still won't out-perform a pre-war Martin, but give it a few years to age and I think it will come very close.

Gotoh Chrome tuning machines work very smoothly and they allow you to keep this guitar in tune very easily. Also, the masters at Martin really know how to setup a guitar, by paying careful attention to the nut and saddle setup, which was perfect. This is what we have come to expect from Martin.

Sound Production: 8.5

The Martin HD-35 sound is very even, with more punch than that of the Martins with conventional or un-scalloped bracing. It still does not compare to the old pre-war Martins, but that is not possible by any new guitar. This will prove to be a very solid guitar for flat-picking and has a nice "fat" tone for finger style playing.

When strumming the guitar, the sustain is very good and it rings for a long time. The harmonics were "right-on" and the sustain of the harmonics was very good.

I believe the only Martins better are the historic era reproduction guitars they are now producing.

Action: 8.5

The Martin HD-35 plays great as delivered. I would however prefer to put light gauge strings on this guitar. The way this guitar was delivered, was perfect for my light fingerstyle playing. It would also make a great flatpicking guitar with it's loud voice throughout the dynamic range.

This is definitely a guitar for the advanced intermediate guitar player to a seasoned pro.

Durability: 9.0

The Martin HD-35 is very solid and well made. As with nearly all the top end Martins, it does not feel frail in the least bit. The top is solid and will withstand the tension from medium gauge strings very well.

Please do NOT put heavy gauge strings on this guitar. The scalloped bracing is a bit more susceptible to top warping with heavy strings.

The Martin HD-35 guitar was put together in a humidity controlled atmosphere and you should keep it in that same type of atmosphere to minimize cracking or wood movement. A good humidifier for your room or home and guitar case is essential to minimize repair bills.

Be sure to visit our page on Guitar Humidity Control for detail information of keeping your guitar in tip-top shape during the dry winter months.

Customer Service: 10.0

Be sure to register your guitar. If you treat your guitar right you will be able to keep it in great playing condition for a long time. The biggest enemy of a hollow body acoustical guitar is the lack or the excess of humidity in the air. If you develop problems, a Martin repair center will take care of you.

Overall Score: 8.9

The C.F. Martin HD-35 is one of the lesser-known guitars from Martin, but this guitar can certainly hold it's own as a great bluegrass flatpick guitar. It is also used often by folk artists, country artists and for soft rock. The three-piece back is a unique and beautiful alternative to the typical 2-piece back construction.

With the use of the scalloped bracing, the tone of this guitar is set apart from that of the D-28's and D-35's. It is truly a great sounding guitar and one you would be proud to own..

This guitar was born out of the need to conserve wood, and to use smaller back flitches of Brazilian Rosewood. The back flitch could be between 5.5" and 6.0" wide vs. 8" for a typical 2-piece back.

With the banning of Brazilian Rosewood from exportation, Martin has reverted to the use of East Indian Rosewood. This is still a great sounding wood, but does not compare to the original Brazilian Rosewood of the pre-war guitar era.

Interested In Making A Martin HD-35?

Are you interested in making your own HD-35? Visit our Plan Shop, purchase our detailed plans and make your very own!

Martin Dreadnought  Guitar Plan

I love this guitar so much that I've introduced an Martin-Style Dreadnought Ultimate Guitar Plan based on the Martin HD-35 It will be the Dreadnought sized body, 14 fret neck, 25.4" scale, and similar brace configuration to the Martin.

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