FRETS.COM New Instrument Review
January 28, 2000

"M" for Maple
Martin SPD-16M

© Frank Ford, 2000; Photos by FF

I think Martin is running out of letters and numbers. Seems to me the last D-16M I saw had the "M" for Mahogany. Well, no problem. This Special Production version has figured maple for the back and sides, and is a great guitar.

You know, maple is venerable wood in the stringed instrument world. It's no coincidence that maple is chosen for the backs and sides of the bowed instruments in the classical orchestra. In addition to having an elegant appearance, maple imparts a fine, balanced tone.

Not to mention "Brand-X," but a lot of the celebrated early Gibson acoustic guitars were made with maple backs and sides. Think J-200, J-185, L-5 and Super 400, to name but a few. For some reason, Martin never really got into maple. Since the mid-70s, Martin has made a few maple models, but they've generally been rather pricey.

Here, then, is an economical Martin maple dreadnought. Pretty cool.

Please click on the small photos

Tortoise celluloid bindings and pickguard accent the blond maple finish.

A bit of fancy work, too, including "diamond and square" inlays, and the backstrip usually reserved for expensive models.

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