new acoustic (martin) could use some advice

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by MightyMilk, Jan 3, 2006.

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  1. MightyMilk

    MightyMilk Guest

    I haven't purchased a new guitar in quite a few years, and I don't remember much of anything when it comes to technical specs of these things. What wood types tend to give off what types of sounds as opposed to things that are just there for cosmetics.

    I think I'd like to keep my price range around $400-$800, although I guess i'd be willing to go up to $1,000 if it ment a big improvement in sound.

    I have my mind set on Martin because i've always liked their unique sound, they never seem too bright and tend to resonate the wood of the guitar very well. Also the individual strings when strumming a chord seem to be more distinguishable.

    I've gone to some local music stores to try them out, but most of these shops dont change the string regularly. So I pick up a $2,600 Martin with strings that we're probably over a year old, and the guitar ends up sounding like crap next to the $500 Martin with new strings.

    Some of the models that seem to be in my price range with the body shape I like are:


    Any advice would be helpful, or info from people who have owned or played them.
  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    I don't know how old you are, but I'd guess that you are no kid, right?
    Time was, you could walk into a decent music store and plop down your hard-earned $500 and walk out with a decent steel-string guitar. One that was made from REAL solid woods, in this country! No more, baby!
    The Martins you are looking at are NOT made from solid wood. Or even REAL wood, but a"simulated woodgrain laminate" (words from their ad copy). Martin (and others) have learned from the foreign manufacturers that a NON-solid wood guitar can initially sound pretty good-better than the "real thing". That's because the laminated sections freely resonate easier. Until the plywood construction pulls apart or "bellies-out" after 10-15 years. A solid wood guitar has to age, just like a fine wine, before it reaches its optimum tone. Ask anyone who has owned an older Martin D18 or a Gibson Hummingbird. It takes several years for them to mature into a resonant, sweet-sounding instrument. I personally own a 1967 Martin D18 I bought from some hippy-chick for $200.00 at a bus stop on the FSU campus (sorry about the other night, Bobby!). It has continued to get better-sounding every year (though it needs a neck re-setting) since I got it in '75.
    I don't think that those $500-800 Martins are even made in this country (I may be wrong,though). Nothing wrong with that, but if you're paying for the name...Anyway, that's why the cheap-o models sound better sitting around the store. That's also why brands like Takamine and Taylor have been able to make a better guitar. They make guitars from real solid rosewood and mahogany bodies, with solid spruce tops. This yields a clearer, more defined tone, especially as they age. A Martin with those woods is, like,$$$ more. During the 70's, Martin lost out on the international exotic woods market, not to mention weathering a crippling labor strike. I don't think they really fully recovered from it. Sorry to rant...
  3. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2005
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    When I was shopping for my Martin I thought I knew exactly what I wanted based on the tonal woods I favored. Boy was I wrong. IMHO it's best to visit all the shops in your area and play what they have and hear for yourself. The feel of the guitar is important too, which is another reason to actually play as many as you can. You're looking for that WOW factor and you'll want to feel it and hear it and then make up your mind how much you want to spend.

    I'm in love with the OM models right now and really enjoy my OM-16GT. In the price range you're talking about I happen to like the tones from the D-15 (on the high end of your budget) and the DX-1 (low end). I also have a tendency to favor the 000 Auditorium models over the dreadnaughts just because they're alot more balanced, for recording with and for fingerstyle work. To be honest, I almost bought a DX-1 just for the tone because I like the tone. To my ears though, the OM models provide the most balanced tone. Not too boomy, not overly dynamic, and they fit up against the body nice and snug. They just sing real sweet.

    Get out and play as many different models as you can. Listen and feel and begin to hone in on what model and woods you like and dislike. Compare them to a few Gibsons and Taylors. And don't let the HPL (high pressure laminate) models turn you off until you hear them. You make actually like the tone.

    To be honest, Martin is my pick over any other guitar. But everyone's style of music and tonal taste is different.
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