The Martin D-28 Acoustic Guitar and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin

Updated on February 5, 2018
Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

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.

Jimmy Page With Led Zeppelin Playing His Martin D-28

Source

Jimmy Page And The Martin D-28

Pretty much everyone knows who Jimmy Page is, and pretty much everyone knows exactly why he's famous. Of course, he was only the founder and guitarist of one of the world's most famous and successful musical acts of all time, Led Zeppelin. Besides all the heavy blues, heavy metal, and thundering crunch combined with Robert Plant's high pitched cathartic blues busts, Led Zeppelin recorded quite a lot of acoustic music, and if you haven't heard it, then you are probably deaf.

Look around on the web and you'll find a never-ending number of pictures of Page holding that big double neck Gibson SG of his. He only used that thing for three songs, and he only used it on stage. Were the photographers of the day more on the up and up, they'd have taken a lot more photos of James Patrick Page with his Martin D-28. The Martin D-28, of course, is a much more practical instrument, and besides that, Jimmy Page recorded and played the thing on stage a heck of a lot more than the double-necked beast.

Jimmy Page in the 1990s With His Martin D-28

Jimmy Page And The Martin D-28

Of course Jimmy Page will probably forever be remembered for his Les Paul playing, but he also was a heavy practitioner of the Fender Telecaster and the Fender Stratocaster too. On the first Led Zeppelin album, Page's acoustic compositions featured a big Gibson J 200. The second Led Zeppelin album was almost entirely heavy electric blues, but when the band got ready to record their third album, Jimmy Page bought himself aMartin D-28

Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin debuted the Martin D-28 at the Bath Blues and Progressive Music Festival on June 28, 1970 when the band played "That's The Way," and "Bron-Y-Aur," for an adoring crowd, the second tune he managed to always throw in some clever musical references to the great Doc Watson, which is also completely fitting for the D-28 guitar, especially.

The Martin D-28 reappeared for Led Zeppelin's 1973 European tour for all acoustic songs, but by then Jimmy Page had his Martin fitted with a Barcus Berry Model 1355 transducer and pre-amp for improved sound, as it beat just playing into a microphone as he'd done before.

In 1977 Jimmy Page squired a second Martin D-28, and the purpose of having two was that page often played songs in various and sundry alternate tuning on stage, and so he needed one tuned to standard tuning, and one set up for whichever tunes the band intended to play in whatever alternate tuning the songs were recorded in.

After the death of John Bonham in 1980, and the subsequent breakup of Led Zeppelin, the 1990s resurgence of the band's music brought page and his Martin D-28's out of retirement, as he'd use them in a 1990 live interview, and in 1994, he'd record "The Rain Song" with Robert Plant on the two's No Quarter album.

Now the exact year models of the two Martin D-28 guitars that Jimmy Page owns and has used on stage and in the studio, I can't find that information, however, it is likely from the specifications that both instruments were purchased new, and that one is a 1970 model, and the other a 1977 model. Both instruments are standard models, and are not herringbone models, and this is probably preferable as the herringbone instruments are more fragile, and wouldn't be so great to tour rigorously with, or keep in the stresses of alternate tunings.

Both guitars feature Sitka spruce tops and East Indian rosewood backs and sides, have ebony bridges and fretboards, and chrome tuning machines.

Jimmy Page always kept his original D-28 for standard tuning, and he used a tiny white star placed in the middle of the pick guard in order to differentiate between the two.

Martin Standard D-28 guitar features:

Body

  • Body type: D-14 Fret
  • Cutaway: Non-cutaway
  • Top wood: Sitka Spruce
  • Back & sides: East Indian rosewood
  • Bracing pattern: Non scalloped X-type
  • Body finish: Gloss
  • Orientation: Right handed

Neck

  • Neck shape: Low profile Standard Taper
  • Nut width: 1.69" (43mm)
  • Fingerboard: Ebony
  • Neck wood: Select Hardwood
  • Scale length: 25.4"
  • Number of frets: 20
  • Neck finish: Satin

Other

  • Headstock overlay: East Indian Rosewood
  • Tuning machines: Chrome Enclosed Gear
  • Bridge: Ebony
  • Saddle & nut: Compensated/Bone
  • Number of strings: 6-string
  • Case: Molded Hardshell
  • Country of origin: United States


Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin Featuring The Martin D-28 Acoustic Guitar.

Jimmy Page with a Martin D-28 Marquis made especially for him.
Jimmy Page with a Martin D-28 Marquis made especially for him. | Source

Jimmy Page and his 'Zoso' Martin D-28 Marquis

In later years with seen performances and photos of the great Jimmy Page playing a Martin D-28 which apparently had been made especially for him. You can see the guitar has very unique inlays on the fingerboard. Jimmy is a very unique guy, and is very well known to like to have symbols and such related to himself.

The guitar is a Martin D-28 Marquis. What is that? It is a HD -28 with all the herringbone one expects, but with a Adirondack top instead of a Sitka top. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Sitka. I've owned Martin Ds with both Sitka and Adirondack, but Adi is thought to be the superior tonewood for the top of any acoustic guitar.

The top runs the price up quite a bit. The back and sides of these guitars are still solid east Indian rosewood. Everything is the same except for the top. They are available in natural or sunburst finishes. The following specifications list is for a production D-28 Marquis. Jimmy's guitar, of course, has his own personal 'Zoso' inlays.

Martin D-28 Marquis Guitar features:

  • Solid Adirondack spruce top
  • Scalloped 5/16'' Golden Era solid Adirondack spruce braces
  • Forward-shifted X-bracing
  • Solid East Indian rosewood back
  • Sitka Golden Era back braces
  • HD Zig Zag back purfling
  • Solid East Indian rosewood sides
  • Old-style wood fiber inlay rosette; Style 28
  • Grained ivoroid endpiece
  • Black/white wood fiber endpiece inlay
  • Grained ivoroid binding
  • Fine herringbone top inlay
  • Black/white fiber back inlay
  • Genuine mahogany neck
  • Mahogany blocks/dovetail neck joint construction
  • Modified V neck shape
  • Fossilized ivory nut
  • Solid/long diamond/tapered headstock shape
  • Solid Indian rosewood headplate
  • Grained ivoroid heelcap
  • Solid black ebony fingerboard
  • 20 frets
  • 25-2/5" scale
  • Neck/body joint at 14th fret
  • 1-3/4'' nut width
  • Diamonds and squares long pattern fretboard inlays
  • Solid black ebony bridge
  • 1930s style belly - long saddle bridge
  • 2-5/16'' string spacing at bridge
  • 16'' radius/fossil ivory bridge saddle
  • Nickel open gear tuners w/butterbean knobs
  • Fossil ivory w/black dots bridge and end pins
  • Martin SP 4200 Medium Phosphor Bronze strings (recommended)
  • Tortoise color/beveled and polished pickguard
  • Polished gloss/dark filler body finish
  • Polished gloss/aging toner top finish
  • Semi-gloss/dark mahogany stain/dark filler neck finish
  • 545 Geib-style case
  • Paper label signed by CFM IV

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Wesman Todd Shaw

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      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        2 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        Jimmy Page was always one of my very favorites!

      • ladyguitarpicker profile image

        stella vadakin 

        3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

        Hi Love Led Zeppelin the best and your hubs. Will read and listen to more. I use to steal my sons music.

      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        Very cool!!!

      • texshelters profile image

        texshelters 

        6 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

        Well, I found this Wes:

        Martin MC-38 Steve Howe Limited Edition

        I guess that is like having Air Jordan shoes if you own a Steve Howe Martin guitar.

        http://stevehowe.com/sh_guitars.html

        Here's his guitar site:

        http://stevehowe.com/

        PTxS

      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile imageAUTHOR

        Wesman Todd Shaw 

        6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        Ah! Nice Tex! I should find out what acoustic guitar, exactly, Steve Howe played! Thanks for the tip!

      • texshelters profile image

        texshelters 

        6 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

        Page really shows his chops on the acoustic on LZ 3. Like Steve Howe, he was adept at all types of guitars, electric and classical.

        Thanks for the post, and don't forget John Bonham, top notch drummer for LZ.

        PTxS

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