Name: Michael Anderson
Band: Calvary Community
Model Year: 1999
Price Paid: The D2R is a factory replacement for a D-28 Shenandoah
This review is an update for a factory replacement Martin D2R for a D-28 Shenandoah that I bought in mid 80s. The D-28’s bracing failed after 15 years and the factory could not repair it. I was concerned that Martin wanted to replace my beautiful Shenandoah with D2R (a laminate). Since I did not have a choice in the matter and needed an instrument that would play, I asked that they provide the same appointments on the D2R replacement that I had on my original Shenandoah (to include an internal pickup and gloss finish (most D2Rs come with a satin finish.) I have owned the D2R for about three years and use it regularly performing before large groups in church settings. The guitar looks and plays exactly like a well set-up D-28. The finish is flawless and the neck is traditional D-28 comfortable. You would have to look inside the instrument at the neck joint (where D2R is printed) to tell that it is not a standard D-28.
Performance Rating: 10
I have not been impressed with the sound of my D2R, but then an instrument’s sound quality is a very personal matter which often differs among individuals. One should always A/B instruments in the same price range prior to buying. While I am very satisfied with the build quality and appearance of my D2R, I have been consistently dissatisfied with how this guitar sounds (and sound means everything to me). The D2R does not possess the same ringing sustain, clarity or woody texture of my old D-28. In comparison to the Shenandoah, the D2R lacks crispness. I have been a loyal Martin player for many years. After Martin replaced my Shenandoah with the D2R, my loyalty has waned.
Most of my playing is through a PA. After using the guitar for a couple of years, I added an internal mic and an off-board LR Baggs mixer. This setup, in conjunction with the Martin 332 Piezo, allows the guitar to make credible acoustic sounds. Still, it lacks the distinctive character and sound quality of my initial Martin purchase.
The D2R is priced around a thousand dollars. My factory upgrades add probably three to four hundred dollars to the base cost. My internal mic adds another one-fifty and mixer one-eighty. A solid Taylor or Gibson can easily be found at this price. I have played a number of solid guitars (including a wonderful Rosewood Tacoma) and each has sounded better than my D2R. While I have had a number of people comment on how good my D2R sounds — to my ears it lacks. For these reasons, I again strongly recommend side-by-side comparisons of solid wood guitars with Martin laminates. Some would certainly choose the Martin over another brand, but to my ears, the Martin falls short. While this guitar is functional, I find the sound lacking.
Sound Quality Rating: 6
This guitar is holding up well. It has fallen off stage a couple times and I have slightly nicked the finish. Structurally, it is very strong (probably stronger than my old Shenandoah). I eventually plan to buy another solid wood acoustic, but at this time my D2R it is my primary gigging acoustic. It works (but I think there are many better choices on the market today.)
Construction Rating: 10
- Performance: 10
- Sound Quality: 6
- Construction: 10
- 10: Excellent
- 0: Useless