Who are some Martin D-35 famous players? Despite its reputation as a singer-songwriter guitar, the reliable Martin D-35 had been in the hands of music icons like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Seth Avett, and Jim Croce.
It’s the 1970s, and the stock market in the United States is in shambles. It has dropped about half in the last 20 months, and for the first time in nearly a decade, few people wanted to invest in equities.
As a result, you’ve undoubtedly heard that most guitar-producing corporations had a rough decade in the 70s.
Having a bad reputation throughout those years placed Martin under a lot of stress, and their valuations are perhaps as weak as they’ll ever be. This isn’t to say that 1970s Martins should be shunned. Indeed, they may be some of the finest guitars available, and they can be purchased at affordable costs.
Fast-forward to today, C.F. Martin & Company‘s lengthy tradition of collaborative artist partnerships has resulted in a number of legendary trademark guitars, including collaborations with icons like John Mayer, Eric Clapton, and Stephen Stills.
So, what is it about the Martin D-35 that makes it so unique? Who are some of its most well-known users?
Martin D-35 Profile and History
“Well, it’s definitely a brave new world! That said, we recognize that this is the reality we’re in today and this is what we have to do and how we have to do it.” These were the words of the vice president of product of Martin, Fred Greene, when asked about the challenges brought about by the new climate amid the pandemic.
Indeed, just like all success stories, Martin has been through a rollercoaster ride.
C.F. Martin & Co, a family-owned firm based in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, has been the world’s finest acoustic guitar manufacturer for roughly two hundred years. Martin guitars have retained a dominant podium on performances all around the world since the business was started in 1833 by German migrant Christian Friedrich Martin. All this was made possible due to how Martin’s guitars have persisted by adjusting to changing situations along the journey.
Continuing, Martin guitars have had several moments of increased popularity when they have gotten greater attention. Despite this, Martin has stayed faithful to its roots, never really pursuing the electric guitar industry or abandoning its goal of creating the perfect acoustic guitar (that many of us dream of having today).
The 1966 Martin D-35 we know today was born from this mentality.
Since the early 1930s, the Martin D-35 was the first new Dreadnought model to be introduced. The D-35 was introduced in late 1965 and was designed with a three-piece back to enable C.F. Martin Guitars to employ rosewood sets that are just too undersized to be utilized in the manufacture of a Dreadnought. In addition, by the mid-1960s, Brazilian rosewood had been in low supply, and it would have been a pity to waste such fine and beautiful wood due to it having an incorrect size—talk about sustainability!
A Grover Rotomatic tuners, multi-layered side purflings, bonded ebony fingerboard, and volute-less neck were all included in the revised D-35 model. The top’s bracing was drastically decreased under the hood, making the D-35 the most bass-end sensitive Dreadnought, considering that scalloped bracing was phased out back in the year 1944.
Here’s a sound test video of Martin D-35:
Notable Martin D-35 Players
As mentioned earlier, the long history of C.F. Martin & Company’s creative artist relationships has resulted in a number of iconic signature guitars. As an outcome, seeing prominent names beside the Martin emblem was never unusual.
Now that we’ve delved into the profile and history of Martin D-35, let’s set our eyes on some of the most famous names that yielded the masterpiece.
● Elvis Presley
Does the king of rock and roll really need any introduction?
He became one of the most known artists of the twentieth century due to his energizing renditions of songs and overtly sexual performance delivery, as well as a strong blend of inspirations spanning color boundaries.
His fame is undeniable, boasting past 20 number one albums in the Billboard charts, more than 30 chart-topping songs, and an astounding 600 million records sold worldwide (Guinness World Records recognizes him as the best-selling solo music artist of all time).
Presley’s D-35 may be one of his most well-known instruments, despite being acquired late in his life, due to appearing in numerous promotional images from his farewell tour. However, this guitar’s moment in the limelight was brief, as it was flung past the stage by an enraged Presley on 1977’s Valentine’s Day.
● Johnny Cash
Of course, how can we forget the Man in Black?
Cash’s songs often featured themes of sadness, spiritual difficulty, and salvation, although this was not the case for his rise to fame. Over the course of his career, Cash recorded past 50 solo albums, navigating the tough shift from a typical country performer to a worldwide renowned icon.
He also boasts one of the most well-known live albums in existence, as well as being one of the music artists with the most sold records of all time, with an estimate of 90 million albums of global sales.
Cash has always been a devotee of Martin instruments and has played a wide range of them during his nearly 50-year tenure. Martin helped him modify his black D-35, which has a polished black finish on the neck and its body. Undoubtedly, Cash’s number one guitar for the rest of his career would be this black D-35.
● Seth Avett
He was noted for fusing classic Bluegrass and Country stylings with tougher Punk and Rock influences as one of the main singers and founding members of the American folk-rock band The Avett Brothers.
For his entire public career, Seth Avett has played a D-35, beginning with an off-the-shelf regular D-35 and subsequently cooperating with Martin on his own unique D-35 Seth Avett.
Instead of Sitka spruce, he uses a High Altitude Swiss top and Adirondack bracing on his trademark model, which deviates from the typical D-35 formula. The guitar has a sharper attack than the normal model, which suits Avett’s aggressive strumming and plucking technique nicely.
He released five solo albums and various songs from 1966 to 1973. Croce worked a variety of odd jobs to pay his expenses throughout this time, but he continued to compose, record, and play concerts – eventually gaining his first chart-topper Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.
Croce began creating songs on 12-string guitars, but in 1970 he switched to a Martin D-35, which a buddy had built with a thinner neck – helping to shape the clear, delicate fingerpicking sound he would become known for.
Everyone is unique. People have idiosyncrasies, and when it comes to playing a musical instrument, there will undoubtedly be some oddities. Despite this diversity, the Martin D-35 is incredibly well-liked.
From your average Joe to even the King of Rock and Roll, himself, this guitar had certainly found its place. This can be greatly attributed to Martin’s roster of partnerships and collaborations.
In the end, it is inspiring to think that such an achievable masterpiece was once used by the people you adore.
Joyce Ann graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies at New Era University. She especially enjoyed her journalism class and was nominated for Photojournalist of the Year. Joyce Anne loves music; she is a self-taught piano player. When she's not writing (or baking or watching documentaries), she's probably playing songs on the piano, mostly by ear.