Martin / D-28 Herringbone VTS Custom Shop / 2016 / Indian Rosewood / Guitar For Sale
This is an amazing very special ordered Martin Herringbone VTS model & a truly 1-of-a-kind build w/the help of Emily from Martin’s Custom Shop for 1 very picky client. It was ordered w/so many very specific options to emulate a true historically important mid-30’s D-28 Herringbone also having some of Martins special trim inlays. What started out as a nice high line D-28 Reissue w/all the ’37 features became this behometh of Abalone & fancy wood selections. All woods were hand picked using Emily’s expertise so 1st she picked out a 100+ year old unusually grainy Adirondack Spruce Top using Martins special VTS Premium time machine process to age it appropriately just like it was 1937 again. Its was not only adorned by its Bold Herringbone around its tops border, but also in the D-42 style w/Bold Herringbone around its lower fingerboard w/matching Soundhole Rosette. It also has Adorondak scalloped forward shifted braces 1″ from its sound hole. Its pickgard was done in the proper Faux Tortoise. On to its fabulous neck…a 1 piece mahogany neck has a soft V shape that we all love. Its got gold Grover stay-tune tuners. Its headstock has another piece if wild Rosewood veneer w/Alternate Flower Pot inlays done w/super colorful abalone but no Martin logo. She sports its old style C.F.Martin logo on its headstock backside which is an Authentic feature. Its Black Ebony fingerboard has an intricate “Tree of Life” done w/select abalone also matching its headstock. Its dark ebony belly bridge finishes her off just right. Emily then picked out some solid “Flat Sawn” Indian Rosewood for its back & sides w/incredible wild swirly figuring on its book matched back panels. The she picked out some straight grained matching Rosewood side panels & inlaid a delightful B/M/B center strip symetrically separating both curved side panels in the style of the early 1900’s. Its inside heel block has its serial # & Custom Shop logos. Its 2 build sheets tell the whole 2 year process of this very involved build. NOW as far as its tone goes…this is 1 of if not the finest sounding newer Martin build having its VTS system in place. Its bottom bass tone & mids are absolutely phenomanal even when finger picking. Its sound if HUGE & has nothing short from its original older 30’s D-28 siblings. Finally its literally dead mint & had a $9100. list price 5 years ago. Today it would have an $11K.+ list or more. She’s comes equipped w/its original Black Gator Custom Shop hard case w/silk guitar liner.
The Martin VTS works in conjunction with Martin’ skilled luthier s almost like a time machine. Martin’ team can target a decade in time and closely mimic key tonal properties for the top and braces of that era based on the observed changes a wood’ cellular structure will experience over time. This focused method helps Martin to re-create not only the pleasing aesthetics of an old guitar, but more importantly to reproduce the amazing tones previously reserved only for prized vintage instruments.
The Back Story is as you walk into the Martin Guitar Museum in Nazareth, PA, one quickly gets a sense of the history and the reverence those vintage instruments deserve. The first thing you want to do is play one and you quickly realize how precious they really are. Why are they so special? Well there are many opinions, but several terms start to rise to the top of the list as you ask more and more people the same question. “Look,” “Feel,” and “Tone” are the consistent responses from the players in the group and history and tradition from those who appreciate the contributions Martin guitars have played throughout the acoustic guitar development history.
This desire to own a vintage Martin without having to take out a 2nd mortgage compelled Martin to focus on ways to improve stability and tone. In the case of tone, you never really find it as much as you are always searching for something better. Sound is subjective and every musician tends to favor things a bit differently than others. However, it’s fairly agreeable amongst players that a 1937 D-28 has a special tone they all like. That two-year search led Martin down an interesting and enlightening path.
Martin VTS (Vintage Tone System) is a process developed in-house which has its foundations in the very old torrefaction process. Torrefaction is a thermochemical treatment of wood at very high temperatures. It is carried out under atmospheric pressure and in the absence of oxygen. During the process, water contained in the wood is released, and the biopolymers (cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin) decompose, leaving behind the remaining solid, dry, and much more stable material wood. While natural aging is different, there are many similarities between the two and the end results are similar as well.
These revelations led Martin to closely inspect a guitar top from a 107-year-old Martin and compare it to the torrefied tops they had run under the standard process. To their surprise, the similarities were astonishing. As they looked closer, they realized they had stumbled upon a way to reproduce some of the key properties that contribute to how an old guitar sounds vs. when it’ compared to a brand new guitar.
Looking to fully exploit the potential of this process, they focused their efforts on modifying the industry-wide torrefaction process so that they could not only change the color hue impact of torrefaction, but also capture several key properties that impact tone to better hone in on the properties of the 107-year top they used to benchmark. They found that they could get results consistently matching 200-plus-year-old guitar tops with the standard torrefaction method. While this made Martin very happy and the guitars sounded great, they really wanted to see just how far they could push the advantages of torrefaction to an earlier time period.
The VTS process for soundboards and bracing came from analyzing tops from key decades throughout Martin’ history and developing a new torrefaction process to more closely match the time periods and properties of the samples. These developments gradually progressed during a two-year period until they hit upon the perfect combination of tone, stability, color, and cell structure. They began to test and verify until the process allowed Martin to closely replicate the cellular structure of tops and braces to within a selected time period. In other words, they could closely replicate key properties of a top, for example, from the 1930′-1940′ or from the mid-1800s. They could do this in incremental time periods from 50 to as much as 200 years! Being able to target a historical era and infuse key properties of an actual vintage top led Martin to focus this project initially on their Authentic program. These instruments target the instruments from years that were groundbreaking at that time or have since been adopted by musicians as the holy grail instruments.