Build Quality:4.8 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.7 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.7 out of 5 stars
Value:4.8 out of 5 stars
Average:4.8 out of 5 stars

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  • Wonderful tone
  • Perfect volume
  • Well-balanced lows and highs


  • Too much low end for recording

I remember vividly the story of the Tower of Babel described in the Old Testament and repeated throughout the religious books. As people infuriated the Lord with their arrogance, he took away the common language and everybody started to speak different languages. According to this story, since then we’ve been unable to understand each other. Though I’m not a huge believer in religion, I always remember this passage when I come across Martin guitars. This brand has turned into a common language for everybody – the word that any guitarist will understand regardless of their origin.

There are no Towers of Babel anymore, as Martin has been sent upon us to unify the guitarists all over the world. Metaphors and religious references aside, the notion that Martin is known everywhere is an accurate one. Those who are lucky own their guitars, but those with less money can’t stop dreaming about having them. Whether you belong to the first or the second category, I’m sure you’ll be interested in the following article. Custom D is a wonderful piece that will fancy up your collection and force many guitarists to feel envious. It’s rather affordable compared to other models from Martin and happens to be an amazing opportunity for tasting the feel of this brand. Let’s begin reviewing the best acoustic guitar under 2000.


I don’t think you need me to tell you how much impact Martin has had on the world of instruments. I also assume that you know what quality they offer to the customers. There are many reasons why their guitars are so appraised, and one of them is the construction and design. Custom D, in particular, has a simple appearance. One could even say that it looks quite basic and mainstream. Yet the decision to go for a well-known design isn’t a bad one by any means.

This guitar still looks fantastic and you can feel the quality of the woods just by looking at it. The natural finish is combined with a tortoise pickguard, which protects this expensive instrument from the damage that can occur from your fingernails or picks. The back and sides are darker and add a contrasting touch to the appearance. The headstock has a Martin logo and a classic design. A simple, yet beautiful rosette surrounds the soundhole. As you can see, there’s nothing extraordinary about Custom D in this sense, but trust me, everybody will know it’s a Martin guitar even with a glance.

I think it’s high time to move on to the tonewoods. The top is made from solid Sitka spruce, while the back and sides are constructed with solid mahogany. You can feel their quality through the touch, but once you emit your first notes, you start to really understand the worth of these woods. Solid mahogany neck and Indian rosewood fingerboard naturally extend from the body. The mortise-and-tenon neck joint makes sure the neck is securely attached to the frame. Pickguard isn’t the only place where you’ll encounter tortoise – this material is used for the binding i.e. it connects the top to the sides. It’s clear that Custom D was built with attention to detail and Martin didn’t save some money on smaller parts of the guitar. In fact, they made sure this fella was a fancy piece through and through and the results are mesmerizing.


Speaking of the details, Custom D is equipped with top-notch hardware. It’s like a puzzle – you can see the full picture once you put all the pieces together. But you have to choose those parts carefully and make sure they go with one another. That’s exactly how everything works here.

I’d like to start with the nut, which is crafted from White Corian. The bridge is made from solid Indian rosewood, which means it won’t wear out easily. The pins are attached to the bridge securely, so you can stay assured that your strings won’t snap off if you get a little overboard and play heavily. Chrome tuners are included so that you can easily tune your strings. They have smooth action and steadily hold the chosen position. Dot inlays mark the fingerboard and ease up playing and learning. Martin Custom D has nothing to write home about, yet its components are so wonderful that it’s really hard to say no. In the end, all that matters is quality and those weird features lose relevance once you notice how they compromise the sound.

Martin Custom D Sound

Am I even worthy of talking and discussing the sound of any Martin guitar? This question does spring to my mind from time to time, but let’s be honest, everyone is worthy of reviewing products and that approach is utterly wrong. With that in mind, let me tell you how stunning the sound of Custom D is. The low end is so thick and saturated that it might even be too much for certain scenarios, for instance, recording. It adds body and texture to the overall tone and balances out the rest of the spectrum. Clean sounds are pristine – you won’t hear any buzz or noise. Highs are shimmery, sparkly, and bright – they have all that’s needed to round up a perfect instrument. As a dreadnought, Custom D is extremely powerful and loud. It will motivate you to play the pieces you didn’t know you could play. The acoustic sound is punchy and dynamic here. In other words, the tone is better than you would ever imagine.


Our imaginations, desires, and dreams rarely get fulfilled in reality. Unless we work really hard, it seems impossible to achieve the goals that we set to ourselves as kids. Those goals can differ from one musician to another, but one thing remains unchanged: a Martin guitar is something we all desire. Their Custom D is an instrument everybody should get their hands on. If you want to understand what acoustic music is all about, this is the one you should try out. And in case you don’t have the means to afford it right now, work really hard and one day you’ll pay for it as if it were a cheap piece. Good luck! 

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  1. I agree that this instrument has wonderful build quality. I did trade out the stock tuners for Grover Rotomatic 18:1 tuners. Probably not necessary but I wanted to remove any possible doubt of tuning stability. I also added a K&K Pure Mini Pickup W/Volume Control to cover all possibilites for playing out or recording. I currently own four other Martins including an HD-35, but I wouldn’t feel under-equipped with this guitar. If you read the specs, you know it has excellent quality components. The sound is quite close to the legendary D-18 and that is very, very good indeed! If anyone tries to plant doubt about the M&T neck joint, ignore them. That’s feeble at best. If you’re on a budget, check this guitar out. They’re still available USED! It’s everything you need and nothing you don’t.


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