A guide to Martin acoustic guitar body sizes

Types of guitar
(Image credit: Future)

In a world of sweeping generalizations where “everything tastes like chicken” you might be tempted to say, well, when it comes down to it, an acoustic guitar sounds like an acoustic guitar. 

But there’s a lot more to it than that, although maybe not as much as you think. While it’s important to think about body dimensions when selecting an instrument – after all, you need to be comfortable with your guitar – the actual difference in body size and width among the bulk of acoustics out there is only a matter of a couple of inches.

Arguably, it’s true to say that every body size currently on the market is based upon one of CF Martin’s designs and, as such, here’s a thumbnail sketch of what body sizes you can expect to find – and their fundamental tonal fingerprint – when you go shopping.


Martin 0-28

Martin 0-28 (Image credit: Future)
  • Body length: 19.1 inches/485.8mm
  • Body width: 13.5 inches/344.4mm
  • Body depth: 4.06 inches/103.2mm

Originally a 12-fret to the body design and currently in and out of Martin’s catalogue, the 0-size body is the mighty mite of the bunch. Small size doesn’t mean small sound – see the comments from the virtuous knights of our round table, on the pages opposite.


Martin 00-28e

Martin 00-28e (Image credit: Future)
  • Body length: 18.9 inches/479.4mm
  • Body width: 14.3 inches/363.5mm
  • Body depth: 4.13 inches/ 104.8mm

Back in 1931, $45 would buy you a Martin 00-18 Grand Concert guitar, whereas the slightly more voluptuous 00-42 would ring up $115 at the till. A favourite body size of Yes guitarist Steve Howe – expect tight, controlled basses and sweet trebles.


Martin 000-28

Martin 000-28 (Image credit: Future)
  • Body length: 19.3 inches/492.1mm
  • Body width: 15 inches/381mm
  • Body depth: 4.1 inches/ 104.8mm

For many the definitive shape, the OM shares its body size with the 000 but has a different scale length: the OM is 25.4 inches (645mm), the 000 is 24.9 inches (632mm). Favoured by fingerstylists for their 1.75-inch (44.5mm) nut width and even sonic temperament.


Martin D-28 acoustic guitar

Martin D-28 (Image credit: Future)
  • Body length: 20 inches/508mm
  • Body width: 15.6 inches/396.9mm
  • Body depth: 4.8 inches/123.8mm

Known colloquially as the singer-songwriter’s best friend, the dreadnought’s powerful midrange was the perfect accompaniment for players such as Joni Mitchell and Neil Young in the days when stage sound was produced by a static mic. Power and finesse combined.

Martin GP-28E

Martin GP-28E (Image credit: Future)
  • Body length: 19.7 inches/501.65mm
  • Body width: 15.7 inches/400mm
  • Body depth: 4.5 inches/114.3mm

Martin describes the GP-28 as “boom and chime for those who walk the path less travelled”. It packs a punchy bottom-end with “blossoming arpeggios and throaty chords”, making it an alternative battlewagon for those seeking power combined with good looks.


Martin J-40

Martin J-40 (Image credit: Future)
  • Body length: 20.1 inches/511.2mm
  • Body width: 16 inches/406.4mm
  • Body depth: 4.8 inches/123.8mm

You’d think that the mighty jumbo would be the brute of the pack but the Gibson J-200 – probably the most popular jumbo size acoustic – is known as ‘The Whispering Giant’, which, roughly translated, means a full-spectrum sound without overbearing power.

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David Mead

With over 30 years’ experience writing for guitar magazines, including at one time occupying the role of editor for Guitarist and Guitar Techniques, David is also the best-selling author of a number of guitar books for Sanctuary Publishing, Music Sales, Mel Bay and Hal Leonard. As a player he has performed with blues sax legend Dick Heckstall-Smith, played rock ’n’ roll in Marty Wilde’s band, duetted with Martin Taylor and taken part in charity gigs backing Gary Moore, Bernie Marsden and Robbie McIntosh, among others. An avid composer of acoustic guitar instrumentals, he has released two acclaimed albums, Nocturnal and Arboretum.