First made in 1955, the D-21 is a rosewood dreadnought that’s just the same as a D-28 except for a few cosmetic elements. Where a D-28 has ebony fingerboard and bridge, the D-21 has rosewood. The D-21 has plainer soundhole rings, and black or tortoise colored binding instead of the white or ivoroid featured on the D-28. In all other regards, including playability and tone, the D-21 is the equal of the D-28. Basically, the D-21 has all the
appointments of the D-18, with Brazilian Rosewood back and sides instead of mahogany. The only exception is that the center decoration on the back of the D-21 and D-28 are identical.
The D-21 was discontinued right at the time the Brazilian rosewood supply ran out in early 1969, so all of the D-21s except the very last 24 were made of Brazilian rosewood.
Interestingly, because of the bridge and fingerboard a D-21 has far more Brazilian Rosewood
than a D-28. Less than 3000 D-21’s were made.
In today’s market the D-21 remains an underappreciated model. If you’re looking for a vintage Martin dreadnought made of Brazilian rosewood, the D-21 is the one to consider if you’re watching your budget. Whereas a 1950’s D-28 will cost as much as $10,000, you can
purchase a D-21 for far less.