Martin D-35E Retro - Natural

6-string Acoustic-electric Guitar with Solid Spruce Top, Rosewood Back and Sides, Ebony Fingerboard, and Onboard Electronics - Natural
Martin D-35E Retro - Natural image 1
Martin D-35E Retro - Natural image 1
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Martin D-35E Retro - Natural
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Vintage style and modern playability merge to create the Martin Retro series. Within the Retro series, you'll find a who's who of Martins past, with new incarnations of the legendary HD-28, D-35, D-45, D-18, 000-18, and OM-28. Each proves to be historically accurate aesthetically, but tweaked to meet today's gigging guitarist's needs.

Everything Old Is New Again!

A quick, casual glance at any member of the Retro series, and you'd think you were looking at an extremely well-preserved vintage Martin, not unlike some of the guitars that fill the Martin Guitar Museum: the tops are finished with aged toner, the appointments echo the classic stylings of 1930s- and 1940s-era Martins, and the body styles are among the most revered in all the guitar world. Even on the inside, these Martins exude vintage, boasting forward-shifted scalloped braces just like they used to.

But Martin wasn't content to simply reissue these legendary instruments, equipping the Retro series with Fishman F1 Aura for incredibly authentic onstage amplification and a reshaped neck to give players a fluid, comfortable playing experience.

Martin D-35E Retro

The Martin D-35E Retro dreadnought acoustic-electric guitar gives you the timeless style of the legendary D-35, exquisite tonewoods, and top-drawer electronics. If you've always wanted the most exquisite Martin you could get your hands on, then don't miss out on this amazing D-35E Retro. From the classic warmth and projection of solid East Indian rosewood and Sitka spruce, to the looks of the black and white binding, this is one drool-worthy axe.

The D-35E Retro is a flawless reissue of the legendary bluegrass and folk workhorse, outfitted with the choicest tonewoods. You get it all with this guitar — warm and wide-open sound and the kind of playability that makes you want to pick it up again and again.

Vintage Tones, Unplugged

When you close your eyes and imagine the sound of an acoustic guitar, chances are that you're hearing the sound of a Martin D-35 in your head. That's no coincidence. The fact is — the sound of a D-35 is the result of the perfect balance between its dreadnought body style and the classic tonewoods it's made from. The Martin D-35E Retro features a back and sides made of solid East Indian rosewood, topped with premium solid Sitka spruce. The result is that, from day one, your D-35E Retro will give you the sweet and full sound you'd expect from a well-aged D-35. Ratcheting the bar even higher, the D-35E Retro features a lusciously playable modified low oval profile/Performing Artist taper neck topped with with a buttery solid black ebony fingerboard. Acoustic guitars don't get any better than this!

Rounding out the vintage vibe is the lack of a cutaway, despite these guitars all being equipped with Fishman pickup systems for awesome onstage sound. Purists will love the look, and the neck is so comfortable, you won't mis the cutaway at all — but more on neck in a minute.

Vintage Tones, Plugged

That's a rundown of the "retro" side of the Retro Series, so lets take a look at what Martin tweaked to meet the demands of today's player. The first time you pick up a Retro Series, you'll notice the neck. It's slimmer, more comfortable, and built for incredible playability. Martin equipped these beauties with the Modified Low Oval profile with a Performing Artist neck taper, giving you a comfy feel that is equally suited for rhythm playing or higher-fret runs. Whether you're onstage or in your living room, you'll love the way you can effortlessly cruise up and down the neck. Acoustic players will find it familiar, but electric players will be right at home on it, as well.

But the neck isn't the only thing drawing from modern inspirations. The Fishman F1 Aura system is both unobtrusive and incredible. The F1 Aura Plus gives you the option of using the undersaddle pickup, a variety of modeled acoustic sounds, or a blend of both, on top of onboard EQ, feedback suppression, and compression.

Modeled, you say? It's not what you think! These models aren't conjured in a lab, they're sonic recreations of real vintage Martin guitars from the hallowed halls of the Martin Guitar Museum. A vintage version of each model was meticulously miked up using only the finest studio gear, and then reproduced inside the F1 Aura Plus system.

The Aura system defaults to "Easy Mode," which gives you the choice of three image presets and a built-in tuner (the tuner can also be used when the guitar isn't plugged in, super handy for strumming around the house!). When you enter performance mode, you have access to six more images, along with the aforementioned EQ, feedback suppression, and compression. This may seem like a lot of extras for a purist, but we put these through their paces here at Sweetwater, and believe us, they meet our excruciatingly high standards.

Martin-standard Dovetail Neck Joint

Like the originals, the Retro Series guitars come standard with the classic dovetail neck joint. Lightweight and sturdy, the dovetail joint is the go-to construction methodology for Martin guitars, as the area of direct wood-to-wood contact is increased. The thinking is that the increased contact provides better tonal transfer between the neck and body. Martin has done it like this forever, and there's no reason to fix what's not broke.

The mechanics of the standard dovetail neck joint dictate that merely fitting the neck to the body and stringing up the guitar should provide more than enough strength to hold the neck to the body. But to make sure every Retro Series Martin (or any other Martin for that matter) is built to last a lifetime, the neck joints are throroughly glued for maximum structural integrity.

Why Buy Your Guitar from Sweetwater?

See how Sweetwater goes to great lengths to give you the very best online guitar buying experience. From our online Guitar Gallery that allows you to see and select the exact instrument you want to our 55-point Evaluation process and our in-house guitar techs, we take the guesswork out of buying your next guitar online.

Additional Media

Acoustic Guitar Buying Guide

Tech Specs

String Type Steel
Number of Strings 6
Body Shape Dreadnought 14-Fret
Body Style No Cutaway
Left-/Right-handed Right-handed
Color Natural
Finish Polished Gloss with Aging Toner
Top Wood European Spruce
Back & Sides Wood Solid East Indian Rosewood
Body Bracing Standard X
Binding Grained Ivoroid
Neck Wood Select Hardwood
Neck Shape Modified Low Oval Profile with Performing Artist Taper
Fingerboard Material Solid Black Ebony
Fingerboard Inlay Style 28-MOP Dots
Number of Frets 20
Scale Length 25.4"
Tuning Machines Chrome Enclosed with Large Buttons
Bridge Material Solid Black Ebony
Nut/Saddle Material Bone
Nut Width 1.75"
Body Length 20"
Body Width 15.625"
Body Depth 4.875"
Overall Length 40.5"
Electronics Fishman F1 Aura Plus
Strings Martin SP Lifespan Phosphor Bronze Medium Gauge
Case Included Yes
Manufacturer Part Number 10D35ERETRO

Customer Reviews

Based on 7 reviews
Write your review

Superb guitar!

I recently had a chance to sit down and play a D-35 standard for a while at a local shop and was totally blown away. I've been playing acoustics of all varieties most of my life but I finally decided I had the means and the need to get a Martin (or two). I purchased an OM-28 retro last year and haven't able to put it down until I just received the D-35 Retro. The low oval profile with artist taper is so easy on the hands. And having the Fishman Aura Plus electronics onboard is a dream. The tone and feel on both are unrivaled in my book (except for maybe the OM-45 GE Brazilian (which I had the opportunity to play last month). As always, my sales engineer, Kevin Samuel was very helpful in getting the order set up and shipped out to me asap. Thanks for all the help Kevin!

Beautiful Beyond Words!

The Martin D35E Retro is the best purchase I've made in years, and it's definitely the most fun. It's a beautiful-sounding guitar, as Martin D35s invariably are, but the "Retro" electronics enable me to travel back in musical time and transform the guitar into an amazing array of pre-World War II Martins. (Fortunately, you do not have to understand this technology to enjoy it--all you have to do is press a button.) I would add that the re-invented Martin neck plays easily and is everything people say it is. I couldn't be happier with this guitar!


It was back in the early 1970’s that I became aware of the Martin acoustic guitar brand. I struck an early bond with the model D-35, I played one that imprinted on my brain at age 16, the smooth and even frequency response from bottom to top. Back then there was no truss-rod (Martin swore you did not need one). Flash Forward 30 years: Since I’ve been able to afford a D-35, when I played them at dealers I was always disappointed with the setup of the guitar, the action was high, the strings were too fat and dead. I own a pretty good D-28 copy I bought in the early 1970’s, it’s an ok guitar, not what I really wanted for recording, but it has helped sustain my 50+ years of guitar playing experience questing after the perfect acoustic guitar. I lived in LA for the last six years and fondly remember a Christmas shopping adventure with my favorite human (GF), we hit every music store in Hollywood, I caught her playing a 1962 Gibson Acoustic with a $12K price tag on it (Yikes). She wanted to buy me my dream acoustic guitar as a Christmas gift (how sweet is that) but we left empty handed, nothing the big name Hollywood stores had justified the cost. I was desperate, I went to the Carvin factory, uggggggh not even close. I searched high and low, up and down the west coast for a cool Martin D-35’ish guitar that sounded and played great and would be somewhat affordable. Up to San Fransisco and down to San Diego and all points in between, nada, nothing, I found no acoustic I wanted. Some are too bass heavy, some don’t seem to have any bass, I was chasing that tone imprint from my early formative years. TODAY: I’ve been buying stuff from this guy at Sweetwater for over 12 years and he is like a friend. I thought, why not have them go through the Martin guitars they have and find me one that sounds like what I want, then set it up with my favorite strings. My GF was in horror that I might let someone else pick THE acoustic guitar I want to use live and record with. This process does fly in the face of traditional acoustic guitar buying but what the heck, they have a money back guarantee, right? While I love the traditional D-35 I always dreaded installing an after-market pickup system on the guitar. This delayed my purchase for years because I had no way to test the sound quality of any third-party pickup system. The traditional Martin neck shape is fatter than I really like but I would put up with that for the good sound. The D-35E Retro solved two huge problems. It has a really nice, factory installed, inbuilt pickup system for live use and it has a neck which is much more like an early ’70’s Gibson electric guitar than any acoustic. The frets feel like medium-large. I’m basically an electric guitar guy but this Martin acoustic feels great to me. I asked Sweetwater to find me the guitar and set it up for the specific light gauge set of strings I use (.009 high E) due to arthritis conditions in my hands. The guitar arrived a week before I thought it would and that scared me a little. After letting the case adjust for a few hours, we finally got a chance to see my new D-35E Retro. It was in tune. It played great. It sounded fantastic. My GF and I sat in the kitchen, sang and played songs for hours, one of the best days of my life. My quest was finally over. My GF thought this could never work but she was wrong and she would be the first to admit this is one fine sounding guitar. It plays like a dream, easy action, no fret noise, the neck is perfectly straight, it’s some of the most fun I’ve ever had playing guitar, finally the tone has come home. Smooth, even tone, from low to high, no drop outs, no frequencies TOO LOUD or too soft, great full-sounding acoustic guitar tone, incredible, finally, thank you Jim and whoever the tech was that set up my guitar. BTW, custom set up by a Sweetwater tech was an additional charge on top of the purchase price, it was very fair and worth every penny. I restrained myself from writing this review too soon, I wanted to see if the guitar would really continue to impress and delight me after the initial rush wore off. It’s my favorite acoustic guitar on the planet. It will be all over our upcoming album. It plays fantastic and competes with vintage boutique acoustic guitars that SELL for over $11,000 in NoHo. I’m so glad I finally gave this option a try. At my age I have no time to waste, I’ve still got songs to write and this guitar is going to be all over them. I’m very happy to confirm that Martin is still building some of the best sounding acoustic guitars on the planet. Sweetwater has your back with their money back guarantee, you won’t need it for this guitar, you won’t be able to stop playing it. Good music to all!
Music background: Engineer

Uplifting experience!

First thank you Sweetwater the D-35 arrived packaged perfectly with a label reading do not open due to the cold and even though I wanted to I waited for 5 hours as instructed and there it was. Played my first gig with the new D-35 with our band Unsung Heroes and man the electronics are a wonder to behold. I'd like to thank Ikes Taylor for the follow up each time I've purchased something from Sweetwater and I have recommended Sweetwater to anyone who has asked me where I purchased that sweet playing D-35!
Music background: Semi Pro

A Perfect Harmony of Old and New

I struggled with two sides of myself when I was considering purchasing this guitar versus the standard classic D-35. There's the purist in me who wants that classic guitar, untouched by the modern world, ready for me to tell my own unique story with years of passionate playing and road wear. Then there's the stage performer side of me that wants something practical and updated, ready to go from case to stage as soon as it arrives at my doorstep. If you are strictly in the purist camp you've probably made up your mind about the Retro series, though I would implore you to reconsider. If you are in any way a stage performer, you want, nay you need the Retro in your life. Trust me, your life will be much easier. At it's core this is still the classic D-35 except with two killer upgrades. 1.) The top wood is a beautiful aged european spruce which is sonically and asthetically better than the sitka spruce IMO. 2.) The original neck has been replaced with the performing artist taper neck. I LOVE this neck as it makes playing feel like an electric guitar even with a heavier gauge string and a higher action. Everything else is exactly what you've come to expect from a Martin instrument. Beautiful and elegant in sound, asthetics, design and craftmanship. The electronics is what really sets this guitar apart. The Fishman AURA system is really exceptional. I won't go into too much detail but suffice it to say you will have a hard time finding a better plugged sound for your acoustic. The thing I love most about this particular AURA system is that not only does it sound amazing but it was designed specifically for this guitar. That's something you can't get anywhere else. It also has features that most onboard electronics don't have, such as compression, anti-feedback settings and an onboard tuner. If I had to give one complaint it would be that doing any fine tuning with the AURA system can be a little cumbersome and confusing at first. However I'm okay with it since the controls are designed to be unobtrusive and have little modification to the guitar. I would rather have that than have a giant hole cut into the side of the guitar for preamp controls. Besides if you find digging through the menu system annoying you can just keep it in "Easy Mode" and just plug in and play and it will still sound great. If you are a stage performer at all and are in the market for a D-35 this is the way to go, no doubt about it. If you are a purist this may not be for you but I would ask to at least check it out and if nothing else I think you can appreciate what Martin has accomplished here.
Music background: Singer Songwriter, Live Performer/Worship Leader, Live Sound Engineer
See also: 6 string acoustic guitars, Martin, Martin 6-string Acoustic Guitars, Martin Acoustic / Electric Guitars