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Author Topic: Martin Guitars  (Read 20530 times)
alvinlam
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« on: June 03, 2010, 08:57:43 AM »

What are the qualities of Martin guitars that endeared itself to players?  I'm not asking to spite Martin owners but sincerely wants to learn about its uniqueness.  For example, I like Ovation guitars because of its unique design and sound (but can't describe it in words).  Have some  and  before chiming in. Thanks.
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« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2010, 12:10:55 PM »

Well, among many other things, they pioneered the development of the steel string acoustic guitar back in the first half of the 19th century, so much of what we know to listen for is a result of hearing that famous Martin sound over & over again that has been a part of countless recordings in the music we love. There is a warmth from a Martin guitar and really good volume that has become not only its trademark but the qualities that so many others have attempted to copy.
Ovation in my estimation is responsible for advancing the amplified sound of an acoustic guitar. Their heyday was back in the 1970s and 1980s. They seem to be favored by electric guitar players who want an acoustic, but less so by those who primarily play acoustic.
I owned one in the past, but not for about 15 years now, so my information; even my opinion is rather dated.
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2010, 12:26:12 PM »

Now there's a subject we could cover quickly. 
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Queequeg
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« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2010, 12:33:01 PM »

Now there's a subject we could cover quickly.  
Indeed. My response was in no way meant to be comprehensive. This thread could conceivably outstrip the "Am I a Thread Ender?" thread by the time everyone has weighed in, challenged, rebuked or debunked previous posts.
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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2010, 01:09:01 PM »

Indeed. My response was in no way meant to be comprehensive. This thread could conceivably outstrip the "Am I a Thread Ender?" thread by the time everyone has weighed in, challenged, rebuked or debunked previous posts.

Man, I smile everytime I see the word "debunked!" It just sounds so cool when ya say it!
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alvinlam
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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2010, 01:23:01 PM »

That was helpful info,Queequeg . I've never tried Martin so I have to ask those who have or own one.  The only dealer here carries the attitude like if you are not really going to buy it, don't bother asking about it. So i didn't bother asking - given the attitude. 
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2010, 01:30:32 PM »

That was helpful info,Queequeg . I've never tried Martin so I have to ask those who have or own one.  The only dealer here carries the attitude like if you are not really going to buy it, don't bother asking about it. So i didn't bother asking - given the attitude. 

Retailers have become wary of the "info seeker but I'll buy cheaper" shopper (I know, I was in retail for a while). Once the low-ballers are out of the way the only place we will be able to get the information is on the internet and places like this forum. If you glean information from a store make sure you support that store!

Martins can be great, really good or so-so guitars. My D-18 was of the so-so variety and I don't have it anymore.

f
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alvinlam
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2010, 01:51:02 PM »

Retailers have become wary of the "info seeker but I'll buy cheaper" shopper (I know, I was in retail for a while). Once the low-ballers are out of the way the only place we will be able to get the information is on the internet and places like this forum. If you glean information from a store make sure you support that store!

Martins can be great, really good or so-so guitars. My D-18 was of the so-so variety and I don't have it anymore.

f
I agree with you except that one can only support the store if the owner/staff has been supportive in the first place. :-)  Information creates interest. the difference between stores really lies in service.  I was also in retail before. 
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2010, 01:54:25 PM »

Retailers have become wary of the "info seeker but I'll buy cheaper" shopper (I know, I was in retail for a while).

If a retailer gives me grief or attitude about asking ANY QUESTIONS they do not deserve my business at all. When I walk into a brick and mortar store, it is THEIR JOB to CONVINCE ME why I should buy their offerings. I, or anyone else, owe the retail shop NOTHING. They are there to try to sell their wares and I am there looking for product and service that meets my needs.  If staff treat me with hostility from the door, what can I expect later, post purchase? The lame line of complaining about lookie loos is simply the bitterness of the the failing business practices. I never understand why foolish customers  accept rudeness from sales people. Merely walking into the store and seeking information and trying out instruments does not mean someone has to buy something. Retailers who don't get that it is THEIR JOB to sell me on their product deserve to be run out of business by more efficient, helpful, better run businesses.
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Queequeg
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« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2010, 07:37:36 PM »

(IMHO)
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mas music
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« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2010, 08:31:32 PM »

I hope to add a Martin to my collection one day. The dreadnought more then any other model represents the Martin sound which is deep and warm. Critics would say it is bass heavy and not balanced as a Larrivee would be. I say the the bass heavy tone of a Martin is what gives it the Martin sound. Martin's are at the other end of the of the tonal spectrum compared to an Ovation which is clean and crisp as opposed to deep and warm & woody.
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« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2010, 12:25:56 AM »

Back in the 70s when I was looking for my first nice acoustic guitar, my primary choices were Martin, Guild, Gibson and Ovation. On the lower end of the scale were Yamaha, Conn, Fender, Alvarez Yairi, Hohner and a few others. At the time, Martins had a reputation for difficult action but I never saw that as a problem. I probably played 115 to 125 guitars from several manufacturers and narrowed my choice to a D-35S (12 fret slotted head stock), HD-28 and D-35 Sunburst. I also played several D-18 and D-28 models but liked the tone and playability of the 35 series better and my dread would be the last one to leave the stable.

This was my go-to guitar for over 25 years while raising kids, paying for college and other things until I bought my first Larrivee (Parlor) in 2004. I also had an Ovation 12 String Pacemaker (Deep Bowl) that I played for 10 years (77 to 87) and it's the only guitar that I ever sold. In 2005, I was set on a Taylor 12 string until I played a Larrivee and the rest is history. I think Larrivve makes the best parlors and 12 strings on the market for their price point which is why I have one of each. I would also like to order a flamed maple L body 6 string but can't get any other takers for a forum model with those wood choices.

Opinions are subjective but I haven't found any other OM models that hold a candle to my Martin OM-35 which is no longer in production and I have it insured for full retail plus a few dollars more because if anything happened to it, I would order another one with the same appointments from Martin's custom shop without hesitation. I know that Danny feels the same way about his Martin OM-21 and Fongie just bought an 0-16NY that is a beauty. The OM is a great fingerstyle guitar and has a really balanced tone from top to bottom where the D-35 adds the extra (sonorous) bass needed for Open G, Open D, dropped D and double dropped D.


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alvinlam
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« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2010, 12:49:46 AM »

Back in the 70s when I was looking for my first nice acoustic guitar, my primary choices were Martin, Guild, Gibson and Ovation. On the lower end of the scale were Yamaha, Conn, Fender, Alvarez Yairi, Hohner and a few others. At the time, Martins had a reputation for difficult action but I never saw that as a problem. I probably played 115 to 125 guitars from several manufacturers and narrowed my choice to a D-35S (12 fret slotted head stock), HD-28 and D-35 Sunburst. I also played several D-18 and D-28 models but liked the tone and playability of the 35 series better and my dread would be the last one to leave the stable.

This was my go-to guitar for over 25 years while raising kids, paying for college and other things until I bought my first Larrivee (Parlor) in 2004. I also had an Ovation 12 String Pacemaker (Deep Bowl) that I played for 10 years (77 to 87) and it's the only guitar that I ever sold. In 2005, I was set on a Taylor 12 string until I played a Larrivee and the rest is history. I think Larrivve makes the best parlors and 12 strings on the market for their price point which is why I have one of each. I would also like to order a flamed maple L body 6 string but can't get any other takers for a forum model with those wood choices.

Opinions are subjective but I haven't found any other OM models that hold a candle to my Martin OM-35 which is no longer in production and I have it insured for full retail plus a few dollars more because if anything happened to it, I would order another one with the same appointments from Martin's custom shop without hesitation. I know that Danny feels the same way about his Martin OM-21 and Fongie just bought an 0-16NY that is a beauty. The OM is a great fingerstyle guitar and has a really balanced tone from top to bottom where the D-35 adds the extra (sonorous) bass needed for Open G, Open D, dropped D and double dropped D.

Thanks for great informative input.  I was thinking about Larrivee 12 strings lately. Used to own a Yamaha FG512-II for 15 yrs before selling it away.  Used to own 3 ovations - Legend 1117; Concert Classic 1116; Country Artist 1124 and '97 Collectors Edition parlor for several yrs. 

BTW, this might be more suited for another thread - What are the Martin models that are generally well/highly regarded by enthusiasts as good value for money or really well-made guitar?  I know your OM is prob one of them.  
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« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2010, 01:31:55 AM »

I just have to say history, schmistory. The past is gone. On the whole, Larrivées are better guitars than Martins.  whistling
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Danny
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« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2010, 05:18:46 AM »

   I have not played any Larrivee OM that sounds as nice as my OM-21. I think it's due to the scalloped X- bracing and lighter build.
   The OM Larrivees are larger than my OM-21 also which causes shoulder trouble for me. Of course I have a LS Larrivee that is almost the same size as my Martin OM and I like it very much.
  
Martin has it's place of recognition for quality well earned and is keeping the tradition up as far as I can see.
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« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2010, 06:07:11 AM »

  I have not played any Larrivee OM that sounds as nice as my OM-21.

I've played a few OM-21s and still like my OM-03RE better.  Maybe it's because my Larrivee is 12 years old, or maybe it's the Englemann top, but the OM-21s I've played seemed to lack responsiveness in comparison.   I loved the OM-35s but Martin stopped making those for some reason.

For the Original Poster:

Martins are the guitars that all others are judged against for a good reason.  Martin basically invented the modern guitar.  They invented the OM, they invented the Dreadnought.  Most guitar sizes are referenced against Martin's size system (i.e. 0, 00, 000, D etc.)

But like any big name, part of the price you pay is for the name.
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alvinlam
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« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2010, 09:37:19 AM »

I've played a few OM-21s and still like my OM-03RE better.  Maybe it's because my Larrivee is 12 years old, or maybe it's the Englemann top, but the OM-21s I've played seemed to lack responsiveness in comparison.   I loved the OM-35s but Martin stopped making those for some reason.

For the Original Poster:

Martins are the guitars that all others are judged against for a good reason.  Martin basically invented the modern guitar.  They invented the OM, they invented the Dreadnought.  Most guitar sizes are referenced against Martin's size system (i.e. 0, 00, 000, D etc.)

But like any big name, part of the price you pay is for the name.
Good point.  Thanks so much for all your input. Thus far, hasn't seen any Martin that attracts me. I'll stay on the safe side of Larrivee world. :-)
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« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2010, 11:07:04 AM »

Well,
This is a pretty subjective thing I guess. I personally take each guitar on its merits regardless of brand.
Martin obviously has the reputation and history factor. But it doesnt mean every Martin is a great guitar. For me, my OM-21 is a great guitar. Its one of the best sounding guitars Ive ever played. But Ive played other OM-21s that weren't.
Martins for me have a certain link with the music that I love, and the players that I admire. But it did take me quiet a while to find the right Martin. Larrivees on the other hand are consistant in that nearly all that Ive played sound like what I expect a Larrivee to sound like.

Bottom line: Martin=  Great guitars, but you've gotta get the right one.
Larrivee=  Great guitars, consistently.

Cheers, Scott.

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« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2010, 11:51:40 AM »

I just have to say history, schmistory. The past is gone. On the whole, Larrivées are better guitars than Martins.  whistling

 
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« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2010, 11:53:41 AM »

I keep trying to find the right Martin for me.  A few months ago I sold a beautiful sunburst D-18V to help finance another purchase.  I kind of miss it now, but the thing was that I just didn't like it as much as my D-03R, even though it was gorgeous, sounded great and had vibe to spare.  It did have that V neck, which I'm not sure I like.

I helped a friend of mine buy a fantastic OM-35 that I secretly covet.
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