The Martin D-28 and HD-28 are probably two of the most compared acoustic guitars on the market. They look very similar to each other and to the untrained eye, might even look identical.
However, there are a few cosmetic and structural differences between these two acoustic guitars which makes them look, and most importantly, sound different from one another. I’ll be comparing these differences in-depth in this article.
D-28 vs HD-28
The Martin HD-28 has scalloped bracing makes it slightly louder and gives it a warmer tone with more bass compared to the D-28 which does not have scalloped bracing. There body and fretboard inlay design is also slightly different. Both guitars use the same woods and have the same body and neck shape.
|Martin D-28||Martin HD-28|
|Non-scalloped bracing||Scalloped bracing|
|Tighter low-end||More bass emphasis|
|Sounds brighter and more focused||Sounds warmer and fuller|
|Mother of pearl dot fretboard inlays||Abalone diamond and square fretboard inlays|
|Black multi-stripe body inlay design||Herringbone body inlay design|
|Style-28 back strip design||Zig-zag back strip design|
Images link to Amazon
Bracing Pattern and Tone
Both the Martin D-28 and HD-28 have a forward-shifted X-braced top, however on the HD-28, the bracing is scalloped unlike on the D-28.
The scalloped bracing on the HD-28 makes the top of the guitar more flexible compared to the non-scalloped bracing on the D-28. Having a more flexible top has the following effects on the HD-28’s tone:
- More volume
- More bass-frequency emphasis
The result is that the HD-28 has a more “boomy” tone due to the bass-emphasis and increased resonance giving it a more open tone compared to the D-28 which has a more focused and balanced tone due to the tighter bottom-end. The HD-28 sounds warmer compared to the D-28 which has a brighter tone and sounds more articulate.
Check out my comparison between scalloped and straight bracing to learn more.
These differences are very subtle though and you really need to hear them both played one after another to be able to recognise the differences.
Check out this YouTube video to hear the HD-28 and D-28 being played back-to-back.
The HD-28 gets it’s name from the “herringbone trim” which surrounds the edge of the guitar’s top and makes it look more decorative compared to the black multi-stripe top inlays found on the standard D-28 guitar.
On the D-28 you’ll find mother of pearl dot inlays, whereas on the HD-28 you’ll notice abalone diamond and square inlays. The D-28 and HD-28 also have slightly different stripes on the back of the body with the herringbone trim being featured again on the HD-28.
As I mentioned at the start of this article, these two guitars are incredibly similar except for the bracing and some very minor cosmetic differences. Here’s a list of key similarities between the D-28 and HD-28:
- Body shape and size
- Gloss body finish
- Solid Sitka spruce top
- Solid East Indian rosewood back and sides
- Mahogany neck
- Ebony fingerboard
- 25.4″ scale
- Neck shape, size and satin finish
- Bridge, nut and saddle material
- Headstock design
- Tuning machines
- String gauge
- Molded hard-shell case comes included
Full Specification Comparison
|Feature||Martin D-28||Martin HD-28|
|Body Size||D-14 Fret||D-14 Fret|
|Bracing Pattern||Forward-Shifted X-Bracing||Forward-Shifted X-Bracing|
|Top||Solid Sitka Spruce||Solid Sitka Spruce|
|Back and Sides||Solid East Indian Rosewood||Solid East Indian Rosewood|
|Fingerboard Width (12th Fret)||2.13”||2.13”|
|Bridge String Spacing||2.16”||2.16”|
|Neck Shape||Modified Low Oval||Modified Low Oval|
|Neck Taper||High Performance Taper||High Performance Taper|
|Neck Joint Position||14th Fret||14th Fret|
|Bridge||Ebony – Modern Belly||Ebony – Modern Belly|
|Saddle||Compensated Bone||Compensated Bone|
|Binding||Antique White||Antique White|
|Top Inlay Material||Multi-Stripe||Herringbone|
|Inlays||Mother of Pearl Dots||Abalone Diamonds and Squares|
|Headstock Shape||Solid w/ Square Taper and Diamond||Solid w/ Square Taper and Diamond|
|Headstock Material||Solid East Indian Rosewood||Solid East Indian Rosewood|
|Headstock Logo||Script Old Style Overlay||Script Old Style Overlay|
|Tuning Machines||Nickel Open Gear||Nickel Open Gear|
|Strings||Medium (0.013)||Medium (0.013)|
|Case||Molded Hardshell||Molded Hardshell|
Here are links to both guitars so you can check the current prices on Guitar Center:
Check out my in-depth comparison between the Martin D-18 and D-28 acoustic guitars.