December 13, 2023

Martin HD16-AD

For the vintage tone-a-phobes out there, the Martin D16-Adirondack is a model that reproduces classic dreadnought tones of the likes of Martin’s D18 model but is set at a more affordable price than their other vintage re-issues.

The D16-Adirondack features a mortise and tenon neck joint and slightly different bracing than the D18 but produces a full rich bass that can dominate the rest of the guitar’s range. Having said that, you’re probably not going to get a fatter bass sound for open tunings or dropped D tunings.

The Adirondack (or red spruce) top, is unique in that it has an excellent stiffness-to-weight ratio and a “springy” quality that together enable it to be used on a variety of sizes of guitars while still maintaining good head room and a dynamic range as well as kicking out a decent volume.

Its striking good looks come from the much wider grain which is often at odds with conventional wisdom about what makes a great piece of spruce. Martin have created a distinctive look by using a gloss finish with a yellowish toner which make it stand out even more from their other models.

Admittedly, it’s not a guitar that will suit every style. Dreadnoughts are commonly thought of as a bluegrass ax. However, there is a diverse group of players that prove the dreadnought’s versatility.

Tommy Emmanuel & Bill Mize prove dreadnoughts are just as good for finger-style where Tony Rice and Grant Gordy show that they can also be used for Jazz. They have also been just as at-home in the hands of singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.

To hear how the Martin D16-Adirondack performs, check out the following video review from Acoustic Magazine’s Scott Nygaard.

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