Wesman Todd Shaw started playing the guitar when he was 12 years old. He loves nothing more than to pick one up and pluck some strings.
The Martin D-16 Acoustic Guitar
Acoustic guitars have never been so widely available in so many diverse and high quality models as they are right here and right now. C.F. Martin & Co. has been the world's premier acoustic guitar manufacturer since the founding of the company, and despite the fact that their well established model guitars are sought after the world over, the Martin guitar company hasn't just sat on it's laurels and provided endless variations of what has been a product with unlimited potential,instead they continue to innovate, and innovate is just what they've done with their D-16 dreadnought guitar.
So what is a Martin D-16 guitar? It is a thundering success, a sound cannon, an infinitely playable and beautiful instrument by the legendary American acoustic guitar manufacturer. It is the equal to it's more established cousins, and it is yet more affordable than they are. The Martin D-16 also has many available features for discerning guitarist to choose from. Let's have a look.
The Martin D-16 Features
Originally designed as an experiment in order to offer a lower priced all solid wood dreadnought that lacked nothing of the Martin guitar's timeless looks, sound, and feel, the D-16 was an instant success. The guitar is sometimes stated to feature mahogany back and sides, but this isn't true. The back and sides of the D-16 are a more widely available and thus less expensive cousin of mahogany known as Sapele. With Sapele nothing is lost in tonality, and it would be very tough to distinguish the tonal differences between it and mahogany. Alternative tonewoods are here to stay, and they are, in fact, a very real blessing for persons seeking to own a fine solid wood instrument such as a Martin acoustic guitar.
The Martin D-16 features a solid Sitka spruce top as a standard feature just as all the more expensive Martin models do. A solid Adirondack or red spruce top (same thing) is available for an upgrade on this instrument.
The experimental portion of this instrument is it's bracing pattern. Martin made famous the outstanding but delicate "high X" bracing pattern, the 16 series guitars feature what is called a "hybrid X bracing" pattern. The neck of the Martin D-16 is also unique to the sixteen series instruments, it is made of solid Spanish Cedar.The neck joint of these 16 series Martin guitars is another thing unique not to Martin guitars, but to their all solid wood guitars, and it is known as the Mortise and Tenon neck joint, and this neck joint, like the hybrid X bracing, is a time saving technique used here to provide all solid wood Martin instruments to the consumer at a more reasonable or affordable price.
Other features of this guitar include a solid striped ebony finger board and bridge, polished gloss finish, chrome tuning machines, and a hard shell case.
I'm pricing this standard model D-16 at about $1,400 dollars on the web, and when you consider that it is a very similar guitar to the D-18V that sells for about a thousand dollars more, you can then see what a wonderful thing the Martin 16 series guitars truly are.
The Martin D-16GT
Now the Martin D-16GT is another of the sixteen series instruments, but this one does, in fact, feature solid mahogany back and sides, this guitar, however, features Micarta instead of wood for the fret board or finger board and bridge, but goes the extra mile in appointments by including a herringbone rosette as if it were a Martin HD-28.
This guitar might be the best priced of them all, as it will sound very much like the D-18, but looks quite a lot like the D-28. It is a total win on all fronts for a mere $1,100.dollars.
What does the "GT" stand for? Well, the letters stand for "gloss top," in reference to the guitar's finish on the top. The back and sides, etc, feature a satin finish. The standard D-16 is entirely a gloss finish guitar. This guitar is the ultimate in cost and labor cuts without cutting the kind of quality features that an amateur or professional musician has to have to have a sound that sells.
Martin D-16GT Features:
- Dreadnought body style
- Solid Sitka spruce top
- Mahogany back and sides
- Solid Spanish cedar neck
- Micarta fretboard and bridge
- Herringbone rosette
- Hybrid D1 bracing pattern
- Nut width 1-11/16"
- 25.4" scale neck
- 20 frets
- Includes hardshell case
The Back Side Of The Martin D-16RGT
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The Martin D-16RGT
Of course C.F. Martin & Company is forever faithful and willing to please its millions of customers across the world, and the facts are that a lot of guitarists prefer rosewood as the tone wood for the back and sides of their instruments. Never fear, Martin is here with the Martin D-16RGT, which of course, is the exact same thing as the D-16GT, but with rosewood back and sides instead of mahogany. I shouldn't have to point this out, but I will, the rosewood used for virtually every rosewood guitar these days is East Indian Rosewood, and of course that is the rosewood used here.
For all intents and practical purposes this guitar will look near to identical to a Martin HD-28, and by and large, it should sound so similar that only the most trained ears on the planet would be able to tell the difference, but this guitar costs only about $1,300 dollars.
I'm absolutely positive these three instruments are top notch professional instruments, I've played a few of them myself in Dallas, Texas Guitar Centers, and they really are the bargains they were made to be, my thoughts here are that Martin is doing it's best to compete with the Chinese Blueridge guitars, and you can bet they compete quite nicely too.
Martin D-16GTR features:
- MODEL D-16RGT
- CONSTRUCTION: Mortise/Tenon Neck Joint
- BODY SIZE: D-14 Fret
- TOP: Solid Sitka Spruce
- ROSETTE: Bold Herringbone
- TOP BRACING PATTERN: Hybrid ''X'' Scalloped
- TOP BRACES: Solid Sitka Spruce 5/16"
- BACK MATERIAL: Solid East Indian Rosewood
- BACK PURFLING: none
- SIDE MATERIAL: Solid East Indian Rosewood
- ENDPIECE: White Boltaron
- ENDPIECE INLAY: Black/White Boltaron
- BINDING: White Boltaron
- TOP INLAY STYLE: Multiple Black/White Boltaron
- SIDE INLAY: none
- BACK INLAY: none
- NECK MATERIAL: Select Hardwood
- NECK SHAPE: Modified Low Oval
- NUT MATERIAL: White Corian
- HEADSTOCK: Solid/Square Taper
- HEADPLATE: Solid East Indian Rosewood /Raised Gold Foil
- HEELCAP: Solid Indian Rosewood
- FINGERBOARD MATERIAL: Black Micarta
- SCALE LENGTH: 25.4''
- # OF FRETS CLEAR: 14
- # OF FRETS TOTAL: 20
- FINGERBOARD WIDTH AT NUT: 1-11/16''
- FINGERBOARD WIDTH AT 12TH FRET: 2-1/8''
- FINGERBOARD POSITION INLAYS: Style 28
- FINGERBOARD BINDING: White Boltaron
- FINISH BACK & SIDES: Satin
- FINISH TOP: Polished Gloss ; Sunburst available at additional cost.
- FINISH NECK: Satin
- BRIDGE MATERIAL: Black Micarta
- BRIDGE STYLE: Belly
- BRIDGE STRING SPACING: 2-1/8''
- SADDLE: 16'' Radius/Compensated/White Tusq
- TUNING MACHINES: Chrome w/ Small Buttons
- BRIDGE & END PINS: White w/ Black Dots
- PICKGUARD: Tortoise Color
- CASE: 345
- INTERIOR LABEL: Paper Label
- ELECTRONICS: Optional
- OTHER OPTIONS: Available left-handed at no additional charge
- OTHER COMMENTS: All prices & specifications are subject to change without notice.
I love this guy!!! Very Enthusiastic! D16RGT and D16GT Review.
Final Thoughts — The Martin D-16 Guitars Are A Bargain
Martin Guitars are the standard and the holy grail at the same time, everyone wants to own one and Martin wants you to own one too. Not only does the world's finest acoustic guitar company want you to own their instruments, they've gone out of their way to make all solid wood construction instruments that are more affordable than are their more famous traditional models. These sixteen series instruments are designed to look, sound, and feel as close to the famous D-18 and D-28 guitars as they possibly can - only time saving construction techniques were used, and of course these guitars, as all Martins do, come with a limited lifetime warranty to the original owner. You can not lose here, you can only win.
Of course my suggestion is to always go shop around, pick up as many guitars as you can, and play them all. Compare as many instruments in your price range as you can until you find the one that suits you and your budget the very best. Seagull Guitars out of Canada are now making some fine instruments in this price range that the shopper should be aware of, and never ever should the guitarist forget about the other great US acoustic guitar manufacturer, as Taylor Guitars embraces new technology, techniques, and tonewoods as well.
As a consummate enthusiast and fan, I'm always here to answer questions or give advice if I can, thank you for reading.
Questions & Answers
Question: What materials are a Martin D-40?
Answer: I'm afraid there isn't a straight answer to this question. The Martin D-40 has been built with Brazilian rosewood back and sides, Indian rosewood back and sides, and quilted mahogany back and sides. I've yet to hear of one with anything but a spruce top, and I hope I never hear of one with other than a spruce top, but it's highly likely there are D-40s with Adirondack, and also (most of them) with Sitka.
Because of all of this, I'd not at all be surprised to hear of a Martin D-40 with Koa back and sides. I've not seen or heard of it, but I wouldn't rule a Koa D-40 out of the possibilities of what is out there.
A lot of the D-40s have absolutely spectacular abalone inlay on the fingerboards. Production ran from 1997-2005. They came with Corian nut and Micarta saddle, but on something that nice, one should only ever be using bone, in my opinion.
Question: Are the D-16’s made in the USA ?
Answer: Nazareth, Pennsylvania is where the D-16s are produced. I can't find any information which states otherwise. So far as I'm personally aware, only Martin guitars which incorporate high pressure laminates are NOT produced in the USA, but rather, in Mexico.
© 2012 Wesman Todd Shaw
James faulkner on September 27, 2016:
Very good review. Thank-you
Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on February 14, 2013:
Larry, I'm sure you are right! The use of Sapele is a much more current thing.
I could be wrong, but I don't know if any of the big guitar makers was using that wood then.
Larry on February 13, 2013:
My Martin D16M is from the mid '80's and I don't believe Sapele hardwood was being used at that time. The original paperwork that came with it also states that the sides and back are solid Mahogany. The wood on mine certainly doesn't have the look of Sapele either, and I've looked and played many of them.