Martin D-41 Dreadnought Review (2019): The Holy Grail

4.8 out of 5 stars

Owning a high-end Martin is a dream of many guitarists. It is an iconic brand which produces many models which possess exceptionally high quality, and the Martin D-41 Dreadnought is a classic example of what could be considered the holy grail of acoustic guitars. The models that are being created today still have the same elegance as when the first ones were produced in 1969.

Martin D-41Body and Neck

All it takes is just a few seconds to see that the D-41 isn’t your typical acoustic. The dreadnought-shaped body is stunning right from the first glance. The top is constructed from solid Sitka spruce, with East Indian rosewood making up the sides and the back. An elegant abalone pearl binding commands attention with the same being used for the inlay around the soundhole.

The D-41 has a mahogany neck with a true ebony fretboard that contains 20 frets. Elaborate modified hexagon-shaped inlays make up the fret markers, and white binding exudes a sense of richness. The headstock has the same binding, and the logo is the more elaborate Martin vertical inlay that is a hallmark of their more prized models.

HardwareMartin D-41

Even though the Martin D-41 is firmly at the upper end of the price range, the hardware is decidedly minimal. There are no onboard electronics at all, so if you are wanting to use it in a live setting, you will have to settle for either placing a microphone in front of it or using some form of removable pickup. Sure, you could have a pickup installed, but in our eyes that would be like putting a CD player into a 1953 Corvette – some things just don’t belong!  That being said, to each his own…we can’t deny that installing a good quality unit may enhance the Martin D-41’s flexibility.

What it does have to offer hardware-wise is fairly traditional. A real bone nut helps to sweeten the tone, along with the ebony bridge and compensated bone saddle. The gold open-gear tuning machines are extremely smooth and precise, as expected. Don’t let the lack of features keep you from thinking that the Martin D-41 lacks in any way, though — this is an instrument that is among the best that Martin has to offer.

Sound

The combination of the tonewood selection, the larger dreadnought body shape, and the hand-carved scalloped bracing gives the D-41 a tonal palette that is in a league of its own. Note definition is impeccable, the bass is full without being overly boomy, and the overall rich and balanced tone is a perfect example of why Martin guitars have long been prized by guitarists across all styles and genres.

Playability on the Martin D-41 is incredibly smooth and silky, allowing chords to be fingered with ease and single-note lines that seem to almost play themselves. For country players, flatpicking is a breeze. You wouldn’t — and shouldn’t — expect anything less than the best from a guitar at this level, and the D-41 certainly does not disappoint.

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that the Martin D-41 is a professional guitar that can command a professional price. Taking into account the amazing attention to detail, impressive craftsmanship, striking good looks, and – most importantly – that classic Martin tone, we’d even dare to say that it could be considered a prized heirloom to be passed on for generations to come.

For more info about the Martin D-41 Dreadnought, click here.

For more of the best country acoustic guitars, click here.


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