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gibson advanced jumbo vs martin hd 28


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I see a similar thread below re the rosewood j 45 but I was wondering if anyone had any input regarding the martin 28...never had a chance to play either yet ...I see they have some similarities with wood types etc but the martin is much pricier...anybody care to weigh in on the matter?

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I see a similar thread below re the rosewood j 45 but I was wondering if anyone had any input regarding the martin 28...never had a chance to play either yet ...I see they have some similarities with wood types etc but the martin is much pricier...anybody care to weigh in on the matter?


I own a Martin HD28, as well as a Gibson AJ (RW). The AJ wipes the floor with the Martin.

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quote: I own a Martin HD28, as well as a Gibson AJ (RW). The AJ wipes the floor with the Martin.


well that settles that:-#


seriously, it is hard to compare one particular model Martin to one particular Gibson


John Prine fingerpicks an old D28 and it sounds great


Tony Rice is the man on his old D28


an HD 28 would sound a bit different , but a great guitar in itself


btw....I have an AJ with adi top and a D42


neither "wins" , both are SUPERB musical instruments IMHO


I would just add that the Martin might have "rounder" notes, or more fullness


the aj is much drier with less overtones


both are great for flatpicking


I would lean towards the AJ for fingerpicking , and the Martin for strumming

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I own a Martin HD28' date=' as well as a Gibson AJ (RW). The AJ wipes the floor with the Martin. [/quote']


please, GS! i am but a humble man. i'm trying to save the AJ purchase for homecoming. if you keep talking like that i may make, in a moment of weakness of course, a decision that is not 'financially viable'.

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One must remember why the AJ has the nicknam "Bone Crusher".... It was the rival to Martins Herringbone HD-28 guitar back in the 1930's. At that time they made very few of them and to find one today would cost more than I could ever afford. I have a 2005 AJ and love it more than any Martin I have ever played. For me, not only the tone for fingerstyle, which is my favorite way to play, but the neck was much more comfortable. I am sure that some people will like the tone of the Martin more than the Gibson and visa versa. Tone is completley subjective and only YOU can decide when a guitar speaks to you. That said, have someone play both for you and make sure to listen from that side as well as playing it yourself.


The other nickname for the AJ is "The Acoustic Canon" and it certainly is that!


Good luck in your decision, both are very nice guitars that should become an awesome family heirloom after they are well worn from your playing!

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The AJ is indeed drier, more balanced --and punchier than rw Martin Ds, which tend to be bass heavy (they ace the bluegrass test). The AJ is a rare bird--it can pump the bass lines but can handle articulate picking. If you want an acoustic wall-of-sound, tho, its hard to beat an HD2vr. Think Stills/Young.

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I have an HD-28V and an AJ. I played a J45RW quite a bit before choosing the AJ instead.


There is a difference between an HD-28 and the HD-28V in that the V has forward shifted bracing.


The same is true between the AJ and the J45RW - with the AJ having the forward shifted bracing.


Forward shifted X bracing provides extra bass and overall resonance. Standard X bracing provides cleaner midrange and a better blend with other instruments.


The word on the street is that the HD-28V is a better solo act guitar and the HD-28 standard is better for playing in a group.


Essentially, the same is true of the comparison between the AJ and the J45RW.


So, what you play and how many people you play with might influence your choice. If you mostly play alone, I would encourage you toward a guitar with forward shifted X bracing, and if you will play in groups with the guitar you might want to consider the standard braced models.


If you go with forward shifted, I would encourage you to buy the Martin HD-28V.


If you go with standard bracing, the J45RW is the cream of the crop.


I attended a recent recording conference where some real high quality engineers were praising mahogany guitars for recording clarity. If this is something you want to consider, I would suggest trying a D-18V - again the vintage spec is very important as standard D-18s are rather rotten these days.


The J45RW is probably the best value for price. Here on the forum there is an AJ still for sale at $1500 - that is something I would snap up while the getting is good.


Hope this helps you.

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"what you play and how many people you play [should] influence your choice." So true!


Judging from the number of AJs up for resale, I wonder of some folks buy one expecting the ginormous sound of an HD28 and then come away disappointed by its (reletivly) dry articulation, which is a world apart from the Martin rumble. More like a D18 in that respect.

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Judging from the number of AJs up for resale' date=' I wonder of some folks buy one expecting . . .



My experience with the AJ is the same thing I discovered with my first Telecaster. The 'articulate' reproduction ability of this acoustic forces you to play in top form - every mistake stands front and center.


I have also found that the AJ does not work as well with my singing voice as the Martins appear to - especially my OM21.


The AJ can fill a room with sound, but has been difficult for me to record amicably. I can certainly get the sound of a resonant guitar, but my mics (Audio Technica 3035 with two 2021 condensers) aren't giving me what I think the AJ sounds like.


The AJ does not play well with others - it is like an aggressive child wanting attention in the grocery store.


Still, it is everything I love in a guitar because it can pitch out volumes of sound in a wide volume band and I love playing it finger style even though I bought it as a strummer for recording. I play solo gigs, so the guitar can be whatever I feel like dealing with on the EQ.


I think our first impressions of the AJ and our final determinations are very different. Some of us can be flexible and accept what we find the AJ to be, and others have to move it along and find something different. That is the best explanation I can find in my own experience. I couldn't part with mine - I would like to have a second one, actually.

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I have both a 05 AJ and an o7 HD-28 They are both great guitars They are comparable as far as the tone woods other than that they are different as night and day The martin has sustain that goes on forever where the gibson is more clipped You can play either one how ever you want and get what you want My HD has the sweetest sound you ever heard and more balanced than the gibson Where the martin sound comes from within the gibson sound is in the top. To say one is better than the other is just a persons opinion and we all have one. Play them both buy the one you like the best.


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"My HD ... more balanced than the gibson"


With all respect, Martin Ds are, well, doggone it, notorious, for having a huge bass response which overshadows the mids and trebles. Which is the flip side of balanced. Hear too much treble in the AJ? Maybe its has to do with being used to not hearing it in a Martin. Ive played both, own an Aj, and say with confidence that the AJ is more balanced (ie even volume/projection across the tonal spectrum) than a HD28. It just is.

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"My HD ... more balanced than the gibson"


With all respect' date=' Martin Ds are, well, doggone it, notorious, for having a huge bass response which overshadows the mids and trebles. [/quote']


Well, as much as I normally agree with your opinions jkinnama, because you are my favourite poster here . . .


My view is that this is a stereotype of Martin guitars which is more appropriate to the instruments Martin produced in the past than it is relevant to current production. I think some Martins do fit this description, but the vast majority don't.


I have a 2006 HD-28V that has everything you could possibly want in a guitar. The mids and trebles are in no way overshadowed by the bass and there is no indication after two years of daily playing that this will ever be the case.


I have a Martin OM21 which is a fine example of a balanced guitar with equal resonance across the board. If anything, it is weaker in the bass than mids or trebles.


Have you played current model Martins that fit your description?


I honestly believe the guitars we find from different eras with their individual quirks and trademark sonic reference points are a reflection of the music of their times and perhaps the recording technology that was available. I have a 1929 Martin 0-18K, for example, that fits ragtime finger style better than almost any other guitar in the world. Is it coincidence that it was produced when rag was still quite popular?


In the 1950s, 60s and 70s, I think adequate bass response in recordings was a big issue. I have every commercially available recording ever made by Hank Williams and many of these songs would never carry without his D28 having some thump on the low end. A 1960s J160E Gibson is rather thuddy plugged in as well.


I think today Martin is paying attention to the popularity of boutique guitars, brands like Taylor that are so technically sophisticated and the capacity of modern recording equipment to capture the actual voice of the instrument. I believe they are achieving much better balance in their average production guitars and exceptional balance in the higher end instruments.


I went to a concert of a brilliant acoustic duo two years ago and almost fell on the floor when I realized both of them were playing Martin D16-RGTE Premiums, because I basically felt those were kid's guitars compared to higher model Martins. Still, if you could hear these guys play them - well, it was amazing - and they just weren't guys who would buy guitars that were heavy on the bass with mid and treble limitations.


Like you, I am in love with my AJ. If I had to go with only one guitar (the day after my wife has sold her last purse with matching shoes and sunglasses maybe) it would probably be my AJ. But before coming to Gibson as my #1 brand, I had 25 years experience with Martins - owning, brokering and playing more than 3000 of them - and I am disappointed that stereotypes still exist for a company that has shown a capacity to respond to the needs of the market it tries to serve.


I feel the same way when someone pipes up on a Martin forum and says Gibsons are no good for recording - which I know you would never do, thankfully.

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I think part of Martin's rep for the big bass in rw Ds came from studio and stage experience, back in the day. That woofy bass would drive eq needles crazy and squawk through puny PAs. According to the "lore." True today? Probably not- modern recording and stage miking can mitigate that. Still, it's an adjustment to made, isnt it? Most any combo of RW and 25.5 scale tends to accentuate the low end (more "Conventional Wisdom"). Maybe not louder, actually (that's one for the sound engineers) but prominent to the ear. In a big box like the D, which moves a lot of air, the woof factor and overtones tends to be stronger. "Overshadows" the rest of the spectrum-no (bad word choice). Strong enough, tho, to make it (relatively) harder to get clear articulation? Closer to the point. Tho not impossible: Skip James did and Steve Mann and Tony Rice do. But enough so that some contemporary builders voice their rose D's to take a notch off the low end and accentuate the top (Dana Bourgeois comes to mind). Martin OMs are another story: smaller & shallower box= better balance, to my ear and that of the CW. Not better. Just different. Which takes us back to the top. An AJ, like an OM, would (tend to) sound more balanced, or, at least, drier that a D28. Or, to one's taste, flat and blah (lol). Cheers, J

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ps for a great CD of vintage D28 tones' date=' check out Blake and Rice (Norman Blake and Tony Rice) on Rounder. Bee-oo-tiful. Or maybe those California boys, Stills Crosby-Nash and that Young fella on 4-Way St. [/quote']


i played an hd-28 yesterday at herb david's in ann arbor and i have to agree with JK's assessment. the bass was monster - rolling like thunder and all though the highs were not buried. it reminded me of my SWD somewhat - a little smokier, though. it did not remind me of the AJ. everything i play now makes me think about just how unique the AJ is. insert dreamy-eyed emoticon here.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I must strongly disagree.. I own a 2006 HD28.. and 14 other fine acoustic & electric guitars.. The HD28 sounds like a "grand piano vs an upright" compared with all the others.. I was a devout Guild fan for over 35 years untill I played one. I bought it on the spot. I have never heard a better acoustic.


I had been on a quest for a Gibson to add to my collection.. and visited many stores.. The J45, and advanced Jumbo as well as the Songwriter models sounded like they had tee-shirts stuffed inside compared to the HD28.


I recently purchased the new Gibson Songmaker DSR-CE for a travel guitar.. (i wanted a poly finish all solid wood acoustic/electric guitar) It sounds pretty darn good.. The neck has a funky fit where the fingerboiard "rises" as it nears the Main brace across the top of the soundhole. It makes it look like a bowed neck, and will make measuring the neck angle a pain. I might ask Gibson to repair it.. I am tired of returning guitars to MF for factory screw-ups.


That being said.. The DSR CE sounds as good as any of the Songwriter series guitars I played, and for about half the cost. I own two other guitars with bolted necks, and the Taylor's ALL have bolt-ons as well as poly finishes.. and look what they sell for.. I would suggest to Gibson that they cover the bolts with a label or thin piece of wood like Taylor does.. simple to do.. and cheap! (even though I know its bolted.. I don't need to see the bolts..)


72 Guild D40

87 Gibson Chet Atkins CE

87 Guild D15

94 Guild D412

97 Guild Starfire lll

97 Guild JF30 Jumbo

98 Seagull Artist RW Cedar Duet ll

99 GUild S4CE

99 Guild DCE-5

2004 Taylor 415 Jumbo

2004 Godin Exit 22

2005 Ibanez Artcore AFS75T

2005 Martin JC16R GTE

2006 Martin HD28

2008 Gibson DSR CE

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I don't own an HD-28 or and AJ but I've played both. I would love to own either one of them. The AJ that I played impressed me so much that it almost derailed me from my quest for an SJ-200 vintage 'burst. I did end up getting the SJ-200 but was in agony over the decision for some time. You could have played one that sounded like an upright compared to your HD-28 but all guitars are different. The one I played was very loud and full and made my chest feel like my heart was in fibrillation. I did like the HD-28 also but it didn't speak to me the same way. It was, however a great guitar. It looks rather "vanilla' compared to a vintage sunburst Gibson AJ. Gibson makes the best 'bursts in the world IMHO. If I hit the lottery this weekend I'll be sure and run down and buy the AJ and the Martin HD-28!! ( or a CJ-165rw, Robert Johnson, Woodie Guthrie SJ, 000-EC, ...................................etc. etc. etc.)

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I have a Martin D41, a Taylor 814 CE and a house full of wonderful Gibson guitars. As I mature, I try not to judge guitars against one another, let alone, manufacturers' models against each other! Such makes little sense to me. And one's 'ear', budget and playing style are all primary factors of issue as well. I do know I had to go up to a D41 to find the Martin sound I am familiar with as "Martin quality sound". Seems one could make that contention with all makers' models. My Custom Shop Gibson acoustics say aloud that is just what they are when I play them. So, I guess I just like guitars and rate them by the sound, reasonable expectations of the model type and lastly by the maker. We all have a favorite guitar and manufacturer. This is the Gibson Acoustic Forum and Gibson still makes mighty fine acoustic guitars. Seems the higher up the line one goes, the more it is reasonable to expect of any maker. Think how much we could spend and how much we would expect from some of the 'boutique' models priced with two numbers before the coma!



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Back last winter I decided to buy my first top of the line guitar. I was willing to pay up to $4,000. I traveled around to every music store, Guitar Center Fleamarket, and garage sale I could find.


I played everything! I was online at different acoustic forums and everyone was talking about how good Taylor's were and how they were as good as Martins or better and blah, blah, blah.


Further research by myself found that of my favorite guitar players, and in many cases, my favorite acoustic recordings were performed with Gibsons however, not Martins, and certainly not Taylors, them being relatively new.


Well, when in stores I would play Gibsons right beside HD 28, Taylor 714s, etc. and the Gibsons ALWAYS sounded better.


And I say Gibsons, because it really didn't matter if it was the SJ, J-45, AJ, Hummingbird, Dove, even some of the CJ models......the Gibsons sounded better, and as a result I eventually settled with the Hummingbird because to me it had the best sound the the J-45 and the 200 (especially the 200) are right there.


Of all the acoustics I have played however Gibsons are best. Hence I'm here, but they really are, or I would not have bought one. In my humble opinion, Martins and Taylors, while quality instruments, are overpriced and over hyped for their sound.


Other acoustics I liked were:


Larrivee's - Very well made guitar.


Breedlove - Probably the one that comes closest to the Gibson sound, I would really like to own a couple one day.


Guild - Of course they make a good 12 string, but their 6 strings are pretty good too.



But again, if you want a quality acoustic go with Gibson.


I was in a store several months ago, and an older gentleman was discussing guitars with me when I mentioned that I bought a Hummingbird in January, but that I had almost bought an SJ 200. He congratulated me on my purchase, and said , "Well if your anything like me, if it doesn't say Gibson on the headstock, I don't want it!"


Kinda sums up my position.


Ovation - Yeah it's a different sound but I like Ovations for strumming. Couldn't have one as my only guitar though.


Blueridge - They make some very good entry level and mid priced guitars.


Washburn - Washburn has been around forever for a reason, they still make good guitars.


Epiphone - Of course Epiphone makes great ones based off of their big brother's. An Epiphone Masterbuilt is really something. I have an Epiphone AJ copy that has an incredible sound.

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