Premier Guitar features affiliate links to help support our content. We may earn a commission on any affiliated purchases.

1890s Martin 0-28

An early Martin small-bodied acoustic

When someone refers to acoustic guitars, few names resonate like Martin. Martin guitars have been in the hands of everyone from Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams to Eric Clapton and Beck. The historic Nazareth, Pennsylvania-based company—formerly of New York City until 1839—has helped write some of America’s most important songs and shape integral musical genres during the 20th century. But Martin’s guitar history in the 19th century was a bit murkier.

Acoustic historians highlight 1898 as an important year because Frank Henry Martin—grandson of C.F. Martin and then owner and CEO—introduced the serialization process still used on Martin’s guitars. According to the Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars, Martin estimated that 8000 guitars had been built between 1833 and 1898, so he commenced the serialization with number 8000—and it still continues today. One of those 8000 guitars is this 1890s Martin 0-28 flattop.

It’s a 0 concert body size with a 28 Series styling. The 0-28 was the smallest in the 28 Series, while the dreadnought D-28 is currently the largest. It has Brazilian rosewood back and sides with a solid spruce top. The cedar neck matched with an ebony fingerboard and has an ice cream cone-style volute at the 12th fret neck joint. The body features herringbone purfling and a stripe on the back, ivory binding, and a C.F. Martin & Co., New York stamp on the inside of the body.

During this period all of Martin’s guitars were built in the Nazareth shop, but up until 1897 the company still had financial ties with their New York sales agency. While the pre-1898 guitars aren’t sought after or revered as much as the pre-war 1930s flattops, this 0-28 is still a pretty unique instrument.

A special thanks Jeff Sadler of for sharing his photo of this antique Martin.

Full Slash Interview
Full Slash Interview on New Blues Album, S.E.R.P.E.N.T. Festival, Guitar Gear, Pedal Steel & More

The guitar icon shares what went into making his chart-topping blues album and what gear fans can expect to see at the S.E.R.P.E.N.T. Blues Festival tour.

This 1968 Epiphone Al Caiola Standard came stocked with P-90s and a 5-switch Tone Expressor system.

Photo courtesy of Guitar Point (

Photo courtesy of Guitar Point (

The session ace’s signature model offers a wide range of tones at the flip of a switch … or five.

Hello and welcome back to Mod Garage. Not long ago, I came home late from a band rehearsal, still overly excited about the new songs we played. I got myself a coffee (I know, it's a crazy procedure to calm down) and turned on the TV. I ended up with an old Bonanza episode from the ’60s, the mother of all Western TV series. Hearing the theme after a long time instantly reminded me of the great Al Caiola, who is the prolific session guitarist who plays on the song. With him in mind, I looked up the ’60s Epiphone “Al Caiola” model and decided I want to talk about the Epiphone/Gibson Tone Expressor system that was used in this guitar.

Read MoreShow less

Slinky playability, snappy sounds, and elegant, comfortable proportions distinguish an affordable 0-bodied flattop.

Satisfying, slinky playability. Nice string-to-string balance. Beautiful, comfortable proportions.

Cocobolo-patterned HPL back looks plasticky.


Martin 0-X2E


Embracing the idea of an acoustic flattop made with anything other than wood can, understandably, be tricky stuff. There’s a lot of precedent for excellent-sounding acoustics built with alternative materials, though. Carbon-fiber flattops can sound amazing and I’ve been hooked by the sound and playability of Ovation and Adamas instruments many times.

Read MoreShow less

The GibsonES Supreme Collection (L-R) in Seafoam Green, Bourbon Burst, and Blueberry Burst.

The new Gibson ES Supreme offers AAA-grade figured maple tops, Super Split Block inlays, push/pull volume controls, and Burstbucker pickups.

Read MoreShow less