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FDP Forum / Non-Fender Gear Reviews / Martin D-35/50 lefty

reverend mikey
Contributing Member

west Omaha, east NE

Life gets in the way of my G.A.S.
May 29th, 2015 08:59 AM   Edit   Profile  

I've included some info about this in the Lefty Forum and the Unplugged Forum, but will offer a little more on quality/fit 'n' finish here.

Some background:

I have been a Larrivee acoustic player (and lover!) for over 20 years (ordered/received my first, a lefty hog Larrivee OM in '92). I still love Larrivees, and always will, but I'd also been bitten years ago by the Martin D-35 bug - especially gassed for a Johnny Cash Signature D-35. But that wasn't going to happen at those prices (about double what a standard D-35 goes for).

I finally bit the bullet because this is the 50th year for the D-35, and every one made this year gets a special commemorative "D-35/50" sticker inside. Not a big deal, but just special to me.

First of all, my ordering experienced was awesome... I was told it would be around 4 months before my lefty D-35 arrived...

...ordered May 11th, arrived May 27th ... 16 DAYS!!! The only problem was I had to scrape up enough money to pay off the balance!

Anyway, the guitar is gorgeous, very nice silking in the spruce top, no really odd grain, no bearclaw (which I didn't want). The 3-piece back has just the right amount of contrast between the side and center pieces. The fretboard is a solid black piece of ebony (which they include as a spec for this model - no variations in the ebony wood fingerboard).

Overall, the quality of the top spruce and rosewood back and sides are very high; construction is very solid with a very clean, neat interior. I'm not crazy about the "Crest-white" Boltaron binding that Martin has started using (who is?), but I'm assuming it will eventually age and change color with the finish.

My one question for Martin - what is the D-35 neck wood, really? The specs say "hardwood" not "mahogany", and they do specify another wood somewhere else used for D-18/28/etc. necks. So that might be my only gripe, that on a guitar of this price and "quality" it probably isn't a mahogany neck.

It sounds great right out of the box - and I'm comparing it to my Larrivees. The D-35 has incredible volume, punch, ring and sustain already - it will be fun to listen to it really open up and go! I am looking forward to putting a set of John Pearse strings on it.

The set-up needs some minor tweaking (which I could do, but since it's included in the purchase, I'll have it done at the shop where I bought it) - lower nut slots a little, and maybe the saddle a little, but that's it - otherwise set up very well.

So far I'm happy to finally be a Martin owner. Can't wait to hear what she sounds like in 10 or 20 years (Lord willing I'm still around that long!).

More pics in profile

(This message was last edited by reverend mikey at 11:00 AM, May 29th, 2015)

Gene from Tampa
Contributing Member

Tampa, FL

âI'm a peripheral visionaryâ
May 31st, 2015 12:30 PM   Edit   Profile  

Beautiful guitar. My D-35 is eight years old now and really opened up. Make sure you use lighter strings on it - it has thinner bracing than say a D-28. That's one of the reasons I like it - you can play fingerstyle and get good volume from it. I got a second saddle for it from Maury's and sanded it lower for that purpose. I kept the original saddle unchanged and switch back and forth sometimes. If I'm going to hammer it with a pick I'll go with the original saddle.

reverend mikey
Contributing Member

west Omaha, east NE

Life gets in the way of my G.A.S.
May 31st, 2015 01:45 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks for that word of advice Gene, I may have to do that as well when I have it set up.

Hadn't thought about using lighter strings with the lighter bracing, I'll give that a try as well.

FDP Forum / Non-Fender Gear Reviews / Martin D-35/50 lefty

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