Not every acoustic needs to blow the walls out with volume and projection; there are critical styles of guitar that require subtlety and nuance. The Martin 00-28 Modern Deluxe is just the box for that job. In contrast to the big-personality D-42 Modern Deluxe dreadnought reviewed in the July ’22 issue, this Grand Concert-styled acoustic is its quieter cousin, blending warm tones with the kind of understatement best appreciated with fingerpicking or light strumming.
The “modern” part of the Modern Deluxe series offers contemporary technology inside a traditional-looking guitar. There are Liquidmetal bridge pins and a composite carbon-fiber bridgeplate that increase volume, tonality and sustain without diminishing those timeless looks. The inviting neck profile is called Vintage Deluxe with High Performance Taper, meaning the fretboard goes from 13/4″ wide at the nut to 21/8″ at the 12th fret. Martin also offers a variety of acoustic/electric preamps, including Fishman’s Gold Plus Natural I, Infinity Matrix, Presys+, and Ellipse Matrix Blend, as well as the LR Baggs Anthem.
With a 00-14 body size (meaning the neck joins the body at the 14th fret), the 00-28 has a Sitka spruce top that has been baked with Martin’s VTS (Vintage Tuning System) method and supported with Adirondack spruce bracing in an X pattern. Its sides and back are East Indian rosewood with beautiful, chocolate-brown graining. Its ornate binding is flamed maple, with a herringbone inlay and Style 28 multi-stripe rosette around the soundhole. A mahogany neck, ebony fingerboard, and gold frets complete the picture, replete with diamond-and-square abalone inlays. Also look for open-tuning gears with butterbean knobs and gold hardware.
In hand, the 00-28 Modern Deluxe has stellar tone. If you strum a big chord, you won’t get the big boom of dreadnought, but start fingerpicking and the warm, balanced tone is beautiful. Miked for recording, the 00-28 will render great results but also sound gorgeous when you’re pickin’ on the porch. While the electronics sound good, it’s hard to argue with the natural, unamplified voice of a well-built Martin. The box is also incredibly light, thanks to its titanium truss rod and elegant construction.
If you’re a guitarist who wants tonal nuances mixed in with superior construction, the 00-28 Modern Deluxe will satisfy connoisseurs and collectors, as well as pickers and strummers. It’s a simple joy to play.
This article originally appeared in VG’s November 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.