The sheer musical significance of Martin's deadnought cannot be underestimated. From Hank Williams, David Crosby, David Gilmour and Paul McCartney to Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Michael Hedges and countless more, this pretty much defined the sound of the American acoustic guitar as you know it.
The guitar first appeared in the 1930s and it's the pre-war (pre-1944) instruments that are most highly prized. While there were much fancier models, pre-war D-28s are Best In Show for many players thanks to appointments including an Adirondack spruce top, Brazilian rosewood back and sides, herringbone purfling, 28-style diamonds-and-squares inlays and forward-shifted scalloped X-bracing.
Arguably the most iconic of all acoustics and almost certainly the most copied guitar of all time. You need to experience one.
Price then: $100
Price now: from £25,000
Best new equivalent: Martin D-28 Authentic 1937 (£25,995)
Mid-price choice: Recording King RD-127 (£479)
Budget buy: Yamaha FG730S (£293) (BUY: Andertons Music Co. | Thomann | Soundslive | GuitarGuitar)