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Martin Owners

For those who own one or more Martin guitars, those who want to own a Martin, or those who just like talking about Martins

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A Family Affair at Martin Guitar 2 Replies

Started by Dave Fengler. Last reply by Jud Hair Dec 6.

Time for a Change 8 Replies

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anyone been to the exhibit at the Met Museum? 2 Replies

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Comment by J. D. Woods on February 5, 2011 at 3:34pm

Ginger - Ok, this just proves that the world is not fair - there's a fellow guitar player out there who has owned more Mustangs and Martins than myself. If you end up getting that Collings D1, then I really will be jealous!

Seriously, when I was looking for a small-bodied guitar, I tried out a Collings parlor model. I don't remember what the number was, but it was tiny. What utterly stunned me though was it's sound. That freakin' thing had more tone, clarity and richness than most full-size Martins I'd ever strummed. Frankly, I don't understand how Greg (I think that's his first name) does it. Of course the back & sides were east Indian rosewood, and of course it was tagged at $2,698, but still. How is it possible for that much sonic quality and almost every characteristic that you'd find in an upscale Martin be packed in that small a package?! After putting it back on the rack I came to the conclusion that there's evidently so much about guitar building that I will never understand.

Comment by Ginger on February 5, 2011 at 2:14pm
If I were a rich man, I'd have a vintage Mustang in my garage and at least one Collings acoustic guitar among all the Martins I could collect!

I think we could very easily live parallel lives. We used to have a 1964 and a half  Mustang. Then a '98, aaaah, I loved that old Mustang - "Fang the Stang". Then an '03 & presently an '07.

So I guess this means I should be looking at that Collings D1 that gives me pause?
Comment by Ginger on February 5, 2011 at 1:50pm

@Ed -  of course you're right! My error...they do still have that production down there - just doing different things. My D12X1 is one of the American made ones so I can't comment on the Mexican ones other than to say what they told us on the Martin tour. Their issue was they delaminated apparently.

 A friend of mine also owns one of the Sigmas & it's pretty impressive sounding. He has a virtual corral of Martins from the D28 to the D35 & D41...I think he has two of each...sigh...when I grow up I wanna be him. =)

Comment by Ginger on February 5, 2011 at 1:39pm

@JD - I think Collings is the Martin of our era...they are so expensive but what a wonderful guitar. They knew their competition & modeled what they believe is a better version of that competitor. You can judge for yourself by clicking HERE. If I'm honest, this guitar gives me goosebumps. But I don't have the money to add a sixth guitar to the house...lol!

 

Re: owning dreadnoughts...I love them, tho' they do tend to stress my, er, ribcage. The first guitar I owned was an OM type guitar & from there I moved to a Gibson LG1 which was a smaller guitar. I owned that one for about 9 years & in spite of having it looked at a million times, I could never get it to stay in tune for more than 2 songs at a time. I didn't even bother to keep it.

I then moved on to the Framus 12 string. It is mammoth & it is heavy! After playing that for som many years, all guitars are small! =)

I just love the sound a dread gives me...tho' I am eyeballing that Martin 000-28EC. It's beautiful!

Comment by J. D. Woods on February 5, 2011 at 1:02pm

Ginger - Ooops, I missed this with my previous post, sorry. Yep, you're right. The "little guy" guitar-maker is now trying to topple the 150-year old guitar making giant. Gotta be a jungle out there and don't know how Martin, Taylor, and Collings will all co-exist but I guess we'll see. Years ago, when I was in a bluegrass band, 1988 I think it was, I saw an ad in Guitar Player mag for Taylor. Their line was "Taylor, the OTHER American acoustic." I thought at the time, wow, is that a swipe at Martin or what?!

It's really interesting that you like the Dreadnoughts. I'm 6' 3" and I like the smaller bodied instruments. Don't know why it works like that. Some of my older guitar buddies like the smaller body because of arthritus issues in their right shoulder.  Anyway, yes, the D18 is a wonderful-sounding instrument. Some of my good friends own D18's. One of them plays bluegrass which is what most musicians of that genre play... well, that and D28's I guess. Oh, and I completely understand about being a woman and changing your mind. It took several years but my wife and daughter have trained me well! 

Comment by Ed Rhoades on February 5, 2011 at 12:42pm

They went the Mexican route briefly & regretted that almost immediately.

Actually, they still have the Mexican plant and have upgraded it now to do finishing. The new DRS1 is made in Mexico as is their X series. The workers in Mexico get training, technology and materials from Nazareth. They're just like the same models that were made in Nazareth. We have two Mexican made Martins and they're nice guitars.

Years ago, companies were copying Martin styles and selling them at a lower price. To get a piece of that market, Martin introduced Sigmas. I have an excellent top of the line Sigma dreadnought with a solid spruce top with scallop braces. When they opened the factory in Mexico, it took the place of the Sigma line. Unlike many other US manufacturing companies, no jobs at the main plant in Nazareth were sacrificed because of the Mexican factory.

 

Years ago, when I depended on my guitar for a living (not a well paid living), I had to sell one of my Martins to get a good electric guitar. I sacrificed the D28 and kept the D18.  It's a clean, clear sound...good for recording as well as jamming.

Comment by J. D. Woods on February 5, 2011 at 12:32pm

Ok, one at a time...

Chris - thanks for that info on Martin holding on to their premier tonewoods for higher quality models. That makes sense. Good to know.

Ed - My gosh, you've got a sweeeeet bunch of Martins in your backyard (or wherever you took that picture)! Wish my grass would grow guitars like that! Seriously, I'll bet that pic is the fruit of a longstanding tradition of pains-taking decision-making in your collecting career. Some years ago, I came within a hair's breadth of purchasing a D15 Mahogany. Really impressed with the tone that I was getting from it at the store. You're also on to something about playing different guitars through different sound systems. It's been my experience that it's at that point where cheap and expensive are kind of equalized (no pun). I've used a Crate CA-60 for years in smaller venue situations. Lately I've been playing through a sound system on a regular basis and I run that Martin 000X1 through a Baggs ParaDI and a Sonic Stomp to put some of the clarity and definition back into the sound. Probably not the best answer for amplification but it gets me by for now.

Michael - Hey, appreciate the info on the CNC thing. Always wondered about that. Also understand about the Collings phenomena. Those are dang incredible acoustics. If I were a rich man, I'd have a vintage Mustang in my garage and at least one Collings acoustic guitar among all the Martins I could collect!

Ginger - Like what you've just said about tone. I'm not opposed to owning and playing a beautifully appointed guitar, but for me, it has to sound just right first.

 

D 15 M

Comment by Ginger on February 5, 2011 at 12:28pm

@ JD - good question re: CNC manufacturing. I'm sure that has to have contributed a lot, but I think Martin wants to maintain their place in the market as top gun too. They went the Mexican route briefly & regretted that almost immediately.

I would think the pricing is a combo of a number things. There are other very good American guitars appearing on the scene where at one time there was only a few. Those few could pretty much ask whatever they wanted for their instruments & because they were so good, they got it. But with the advent of Taylor & Collings vying for the American market too, Martin is fully aware they have their work cut out for them.

I never thought I'd ever own a Martin. I wanted a D28 from the time I learned to walk I swear! But it was sooo out of the question. Now I have two & neither is a D28, go figure. When I finally did buy, I liked the sound of the D18 better. Hey, I'm a woman, I can do that!

Comment by Ginger on February 5, 2011 at 12:10pm

@ Ed, I would agree in large part to what Chris Martin said regarding the D15. Stripped of the bling, you're paying for the most important part of the guitar only - the tone!

Greg has had his approx 3 years now & it continues to get warmer & fuller...'the little guitar that could'! We got his thru' a friend who works at Martin & he used his discount - we paid $665. which is less than I paid for the D12X1. The guitar listed for $1400.00 at the time I believe.

I can't play the D15 because it's a lefty & Greg refused to try & learn to play right handed. He's so hard to get along with sometimes. ~*wink*~

Comment by Michael S. Jackson on February 5, 2011 at 11:15am

JD - I believe CNC has been a boon to all manufacturing sectors. The cost, and the advantage, of really good guitars has been the manual labor hand work involved and CNC saves a lot of that.

There are two ways it can be used. One is to fully manufacture the needed part. The second, the one most often used by luthiers of high end instruments, is to CNC 90% (just a figure) and do the rest by hand. This results in virtually the same part as before, it just doesn't have the investment in time and manpower. CNC equipment is not cheap, however, and a lot of the smaller shops are going to small business suppliers with CNC machining to get their parts made.

As you mentioned, wood also plays a part as does finish, gluing (type, application, etc) and a host of other things.

Ya'll might be interested in hearing what one of the Kruger brothers once told me. He used to play Martins but he wore them out in 6 months to a year. He now plays Collings guitars because he says they sound like a Martin but hold up much better.

I can't imagine wearing out any decent guitar but, then again, I don't have the schedule these guys have.

 

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