A Beautiful Martin D-45 Madagascar Rosewood Guitar!
Since the very beginning of production of the famous Martin dreadnought guitars, the D-45 has been their flagship instrument. When one sees the "45" after any letter used to describe a guitar produced by C.F. Martin & Company, one knows the guitar is going to be rosewood body, spruce top, all solid woods, and dressed up as if it were going to a wedding. In the beginning all Martin rosewood body guitars were of Brazilian rosewood, but after a time and the un-sustainability of the deforestation in Brazil, that peculiar and special wood was replaced by a different species of rosewood, and to this day East Indian rosewood is the most common rosewood used for such instruments. While East Indian rosewood is a very fine wood, it is now to the point to where there are untold thousands of fine instruments with bodies made from it; and persons who seek to stand out from the crowd with their guitars have demanded more options.
Everyone loves options. Having more options is generally a superior situation than having fewer options. With the Martin D-45, there are many options available to the consumers of such fine instruments, and the Madagascar variety of rosewood in the body of a D-45 is now one of them.
Insofar as solid spruce tops go, the most D-45 Madagascar instruments will ave the Adirondack spruce top. Sometimes Adirondack is referred to as "red spruce." There are some rarer D-45 Madagascar instruments that have Italian alpine spruce tops. These D-45's with the Italian alpine spruce tops and the Madagascar backs and sides are available as a special order, and are commonly called the 1968 D-45 replica. A Martin D-45 Madagascar is only available with Italian alpine spruce tops or with Adirondack spruce tops. If one wanted a very similar guitar with a sitka spruce top, then they could purchase a D-42 Madagascar which does have a sitka spruce sound board as a standard with an option for an Adirondack top.
A very good photo of a Martin D-45 Madagascar guitar's backside
You can see in the photo above the fabulous binding and inlay around the back of the D-45, and the particular image above is of a Madagascar rosewood instrument. It is a lighter color wood than its East Indian cousin is in general terms, and there is a hint of orange or yellow in the grain. Like Brazilian rosewood, however, the Madagascar variety has a wide range of possibilities in how it will look whereas East Indian most always looks very similar from one instrument to the next.
There is a lot of talk on the web and around jam sessions about the difference between the sound produced by Madagascar's rosewood and the East Indian variety. I'm very certain there is no person who could, when blindfolded, consistently hear any difference whatsoever between the two woods. Once you've got an steel string guitar of all solid wood and a rosewood body, the defining things regarding how it sounds are going to be the internal bracing, the wood used for the sound board, and how old the instrument is, and how often it has been played. With Brazilian rosewood there may actually be some noticeable differences to the tone from either of the other two rosewoods; but one must take a great leap upwards in spending to own the Martin D-45GE with Brazilian back and sides.
Of course all new D-45 guitars feature Martin's famous pre war style forward shifted high X bracing. The necks of these guitars are solid mahogany with ebony fret boards. The width of the guitar at the neck has the option of being either one and eleven sixteenth inches at the nut, or you can order this guitar with a neck width at the nut of one and three quarters. You can even order this instrument constructed with Hyde glue.
Good frontal picture of a D-45 and all it's inlay and ornamentation
- Martin's original and timeless dreadnought body design 14 frets clear of the body
- Solid Madagascar rosewood back and sides
- Premium Adirondack spruce top or sound board
- Ivoroid binding
- "45" style abalone inlay featuring 900 separate pieces
- "45" style abalone Martin logo on headstock
- Solid mahogany low profile neck with "45" style large hexagon abalone inlay fret board positioning markers and ebony fret bard
- Forward shifted X bracing
- Ebony bridge
- Available in standard or hide glue construction
- Gold plated Waverly tuning machines
- Deluxe Martin hard shell case
- Limited lifetime warranty to original owner