Martin HD-28E Retro Bone Saddle Upgrade

Got to work on this amazing guitar last week.


The HD-28E Retro is truly a guitar to reckon with. The Sitka top provides the power and the Rosewood body gives the strong bass. When strummed, it gives a clear and crisp tone without any harshness. The bass is deep and open.

It’s like a champion fighter dressed in a bespoked suit. Very handsome, very refined, yet potent, strong and powerful. Guitarbear dropped his jaws the moment he started playing it.

Other niceties include neck volute and vintage open Grover tuners. The rosewood body and wood purflings are beautiful. It’s a pity they are so difficult to capture. Here’s a look at the volute and vintage tuners.


On to the project.

The idea is to swap out the stock tusq saddle and put in a Hosco Japan made bone saddle.


OK, here you can see the Fishman piezo after I removed the stock saddle. The saddle has already been shaved down before so I will just use the height as a reference.


As with most Martins, you have to shave off quite a bit of the saddle to achieve a comfortable action.

With patience and care, it definitely can be done. Just make sure the base is sanded perpendicularly and avoid uneven sanding.


Yes, it’s a good match. In fact it’s identical!


Thinned down slightly to fit the saddle slot nice and snug.

Bearclaw Special for that guitar TLC


Wombat comes by to inspect. We got the fretboard all moisturised and frets all cleaned.

Gave the body a good clean and polish. Pencil lead on nut slots and saddle crown.


Bumbu came out to pose with the Martin.


He’s intrigued to see his own reflection here. Such a sweet face. 🙂 And those are lovely chocolatey grains on the rosewood.


Final test and check. Pickups all working with the new saddle. The Aura 1 sounds killer!

Owner is happy with the improvement. In all honesty, this guitar already sounded awesome BEFORE the bone saddle. It’s usually true – you get what you pay for.

This Martin HD-28E Retro is a possibly a heirloom piece.


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