D guitar

The Model 2D is a long scale (28.5″ – 725 mm) guitar designed to be tuned one tone below standard.

Fitting a capo to the second fret gives standard pitch at standard tuning and standard tension. Played open without a capo it has a magnificent depth of tone; played with a capo higher up it blossoms as a different guitar, bright and ringing.

2020 German spruce and African Blackwood Model 2D.
Click on this photo for video link: ‘The House of the Rising Sun’ arranged by Mark Thomson, played by Jonny Moss on this guitar tuned CGCFGC, no capo.


A few guitarists keep their guitars tuned permanently low, sometimes a semitone below concert pitch, sometimes a full tone.  But tuning low on a standard scale has limitations, so in 2004 I built a long scale guitar to tune a tone down from standard.  In standard tuning the 1st and 6th strings drop from E to D – hence the name ‘D’ guitar.   (It turned out to be another case of re-inventing the wheel; there were already D guitars in existence).

My first D guitar was built on a 12 fret version of  my Model 1 guitar, and the next few built on 12 fret versions of Martin Simpson and New World models.

When Maurice Condie came to see me about having me build him a D guitar, he suggested I base it on my Model 2.  This has a longer body and was designed as a 12 fret, so needed no adaptation – a really good idea I should have thought of earlier.

The 2D has now become my standard D guitar.  It is available with a German spruce, figured Sitka spruce and now also Douglas Fir soundboard and Maysian Blackwood, African Blackwood and Brazilian rosewood back and sides.

Not only does it play a tone lower, but whatever the tuning the D guitar has a wonderful deep resonant sound, a sound you just don’t get from a standard scale guitar.

Darrell Scott in 2019 playing his 2D
Maurice and his 2015 2D ‘Still loving the guitar. It has become my most used live guitar.  It really does do everything.’  

Model D specifications

Scale: 725mm (28.5″)
Soundboard: German spruce, figured Sitka spruce or Douglas Fir
Back and sides: African or Malaysian Blackwood, Brazilian rosewood
Neck: Wengé
Fingerboard:  Ebony
Bridge: Ebony with bone saddles
Body shape:  Model 2
Max body width:  410 mm (16.14″)
Max body length  525 mm (20.66″)
Tuners: Gold plated Gotoh s, Gotoh 510s optional
Nut width:  45mm (1 25/32″)
String spacing at bridge: 60mm (2 3/8″)

Martin Simpson playing the original Model 1 Sicilian based D guitar in 2004
‘This is one of the very best guitars you’ve built, which means it’s one of the best guitars on the planet’   Martin Simpson with 2D July 2016