LD: This came from a dealer called Rick's on the Kings Road - we were talking one day and he said he had this lovely old D-28 and asked if he should bring it down for Eric to see. We were in Olympic Studios at the time. I said yes but Eric has a preference for smaller bodies...triple O double O size. As he came in, Eric was walking back from lunch and he said "Hi Rick is this it, let's see it"...and kind of vanished with it..."Yes, I'll have this" and he'd gone [all laugh] - It's a lovely sounding guitar.
EC: Didn't it belong to one of The Ventures?
LD: The name Mel Taylor's on the case...[Mel Taylor was drummer with The Ventures].
KK: I started out playing rhythm guitar on Dreadnoughts in bluegrass bands but ...have gravitated towards smaller guitars, as I've found them easier to play. Is this the process the same for you? Do you find the smaller guitars like the triple Os easier to get around?
EC: Not really consciously...I remember the first time I saw a Dreadnought popping out of a case when I was really young. At the time I had a baby Washburn, the same shape as a 00-45, that I'd bought for nothing in the market. It was a great guitar...then I saw someone open the case and they said "What do you think of that", it was a Dreadnought and I've never seen steel pegs before or anything like that...and I couldn't believe it. It was only later that I gravitated towards the more waisted look of the 000's. I think it was just a design thing. I've got a Dreadnought now that Martin gave me for their anniversary. It's got Martin handwritten where the signature goes...It's a D-45 and I play it all the time. I'd forgotten how big the sound is...so I go either way - I think it's a lot to do with the fact that subliminally my earliest visual connection was with Big Bill Bronzy who played a 000-28, and I thought well, that's the guitar [for me].
The Dreadnought got its name from the class of large battleships deployed by the British navy at the beginning of the 20th Century. The first Dreadnought guitars constructed by Martin were made for the Boston publishing house of Oliver Ditson and were sold bearing the Ditson name. All were made with mahogany back and sides similar to today's D-18 but were fitted with a 12-fret neck.
After Ditson's demise, Martin began producing D-series guitars under their own name in 1931. By 1934, the D-28 and D-18 were available with a 14-fret neck, as all are today.
They have become the standard guitar of choice for most bluegrass and flat-pickers because of the large sound they produce, and it is an outline that the majority of modern acoustic guitar makers employ to this day.