Benchtalk #2: An Ode To The Martin D35

For our second episode of Benchtalk, we're not looking at just one guitar. In our vintage room we counted no fewer than six vintage Martin D35s. That's a perfect time to dive into the features and history of this particular Martin model!
December 27, 2023 by
Jurgen Bakker
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The introduction of the D35

The D35 was first introduced by Martin in late 1965. During that time, Martin (and the rest of the world) was dealing with rosewood shortages, which is one of the reasons why the D35 eventually got the famous three-piece back.

By using three smaller pieces of rosewood, Martin could use op rosewood sets that were deemed too small for dreadnought construction. Brazilian rosewood was already in short supply by the mid 1960's and it would have been shameful to leave such fine wood unused just because it was of the wrong dimensions.

It was the first time since the 30's that Martin released a new dreadnought model and it certainly didn’t do any harm to Martin’s sales numbers. Within a few years the production numbers of the D35 already approached those of the D28 and it became the company’s best selling instrument by 1974.

The bracing of the D35

Some specs that attracted guitarists to the D35 were the lighter top braces compared to the D28 specs of the time. The difference was about 20% and it reminded players of the scalloped bracing that was abandoned in 1944.

The D35 became known for its big and firm sound with a powerful low end, something that dreadnought buyers at the time were looking for.

Martin D35S from 1969

Among all the D35 models in this Benchtalk episode there is also a D35S. This D35S is a rarer 12-fret version of the 'normal' 14-fret models. This 12-fret construction allows the bridge to be placed slightly further back, which in turn benefits the volume. It is also notable for its slope shoulder design and slightly wider nut.

Martin stopped with Brazilian rosewood in 1969 at serial number 254497. However, this D35S from the same year, serial number 248255, still has the Brazilian rosewood back and sides!

The D35 Reimagined

If you are not looking for a vintage D35, you can also buy a new one. Martin still makes the D35, but 'reimagined'. Martin currently offers two D35 models: the D35 Reimagined and the HD35 Reimagined.

Both models have a back and sides made of Indian rosewood with a Sitka spruce top. The difference between these two guitars is the bracing. The D35 Reimagined, like the vintage ones, has non-scalloped bracing while the HD35 has scalloped bracing. In addition, the HD35 also has the well-known 'herringbone' purfling.

At The Fellowship of Acoustics we have both models in our range and you can take a look below. If they are out of stock, please send us a message and we will make sure one comes your way as soon as possible!

How does the D35 sound?

Of course we also took the opportunity to make a demo of all the D35 guitars from the episode.

Curious about what the D35, vintage and new, sounds like? Then quickly watch our Benchtalk episode!

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