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Author Topic: Martin Guitars  (Read 20515 times)
ffinke
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« Reply #60 on: July 18, 2010, 12:55:10 AM »

Welcome to the 'good guy' forum!  

Your perspective on Martin is pretty much consistent with mine except I was more in the fingerstyle folk  part of the 60s. My first 'real' guitar was a Gibson F25 which was traded for a Martin D-18 in about a year and a half. It stayed with me for about 15 years but I started playing more and more classical and the dread was just too big. Plus the sound just wasn't that endearing. I sold it!

After a few years I bought a Guild Maple Jumbo (JF30- I think) and, oh my, what a guitar! Sold it when I got more serious about classical through a store who specialized in vintage Martin repair and sales. I became friends with the owner and heard some old 0s and 00s. Even with the vintage age they just didn't have it for me.

After I got frustrated with the rigors of classical (I quit for 4 or 5 years entirely) I decided to go back to steel strings. My first was a Taylor (always wanted one) and it lasted 13 months. Read an article about JCL and bought an L-03. The original owner only had it for about 6 months and the set-up was not good plus the Sitka takes a while to open up. After the set-up though the guitar has come alive! I thought I wanted another Martin in the 000/OM size to compliment the L but everything in the price I could afford was exactly as you indicated. That's when I played an OM-09 Larrivee that ran circles around anything in the shop AND it had a comfortable neck (hate the V-neck of the GEs).

I ended up with a Collings OM that had not been played much and is finally opening up to its full potential. The other one I have is a Huss and Dalton 00-sp that is nothing short of incredible for fingerstyle. The top is European Spruce and the guitar is a light build which responds to ever nuance I can throw at it.

In short (my opinion only) Martin is selling way too many types of guitars from really nice high end musical instruments to the painted fake wood boxes that make you wonder if they forgot the hand crank on the side. I've owned a Martin. Didn't like it but had nothing else to go to (that I knew about at the time). Owned a Guild. If they were still a privately held company I'd consider going for another. Own a Larrivee and will either keep it forever or downsize slightly. They have the tone and build that rivals really expensive guitars: JCL does it right!!!

Only an opinion but at least it's mine!

f


ps/ again, welcome to the forum
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« Reply #61 on: July 18, 2010, 04:06:57 AM »

Welcome to the forum, Pickering_Picker. Thanks for sharing your experiences and perspective. My guitar-playing experiences have certainly been much less than yours, so you can use that proverbial grain of salt here. As a 50-ish geezer, I started right at three years ago and went through quite a few guitars before settling on my OM-21. I, along with several of my on-line friends, as well as a few space-and-time friends, consider the Larrivees that I owned (L-03R and OM-03R) as overbuilt. My OM-21, though, doesn't seem overbuilt at all.

Regardless, I love Larrivees and hope to have another L in the future when there are some funds available that don't need to go towards a more pressing cause. There was a sweet-looking LV-10 that went for a song a few days ago. It was torturous watching that one go!

Bill
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teh
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« Reply #62 on: July 18, 2010, 02:08:49 PM »

When I bought my first Martin in 1977 with it's "C" neck and non-adjustable truss rod, my personal assessment at the time and the conventional wisdom from a lot of people back them was that Guilds were the "Taylor" of the day because of their easy action (playability). I still went with a Martin because of the tone and while the blue fiberglass case may have been overbuilt, my D-35 certainly wasn't and it has only improved with age. That's my opinion and since it's not for sale anyway, it's probably a moot point that's not subject to debate. With it's scalloped bracing, my OM-35 built 30 years after my D-35 isn't overbuilt either and it's a nice contrast to the dread.

I thought the two Larrivees I have were both exceptional buys and I continue feel even better with my purchase decisions 5 and 6 years after the fact. My son has a Taylor 214 (solid wood) and I have first right of refusal if he ever decides to sell it. 

I just saw the GE Capital Commercial and it occured to me that if you put Chris Martin, Jean Larrivee and Bob Taylor in the same room for an evening it would be great to just sit back and listen. Bob Taylor is coming out with a new travel guitar and just introduced baritones which Jean Larrivee offfered a couple of years ago. Jean Larrivee has offered several forum guitars and special runs with wood choices like lacewood, bubinga and silver oak. Martin has experimented with HPL and signature models. I think the future is bright because of these three guys and others like them.


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TEH

Larrivee Parlor Flamed Maple
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Martin D-35 Shade Top
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Pickering_Picker
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« Reply #63 on: July 18, 2010, 03:00:33 PM »

FFinke: thank's for your welcome! I'm indeed impressed with the civility of this forum. Breath of fresh air. Like you, I do finger picking (especially John Fahey) instead of flat picking. 

I hope I will be forgiven for consistently mis-spelling Larrivée in my previous post. At least it was consistent. ;)

I was half-expecting to be roasted alive by Martin owners, but so far my hide seems to be at least mostly intact. ;)

> The other one I have is a Huss and Dalton 00-sp that is nothing short of incredible for fingerstyle

First time I've heard of Huss and Dalton, but that's probably because they don't have any distribution in Canada. Would love to try one.

> They [Larrivees] have the tone and build that rivals really expensive guitars

Actually, at this point I haven't heard any steel string at any price that I like better. Just yesterday I took a long trek to a guitar shop that specializes in high-end acoustic. I played several guitars at twice and three times the price of my L-09. While each of them had some wonderful qualities, I was unable to find even one that I definitely preferred to the Larrivée for finger picking (plenty of really great dreads, but that's a different story). What I mainly noticed is a tendency to produce lots of sound but without an equal measure of balance and control. Hate to sound like a fanboy but on the Larrivée L models I've played each string and each note seems to have exactly the same max amplitude and sustain. That's truly an impressive feat.

The only one that really tempted me was a Taylor DN custom, new at $4K. Taylor mentions on their web site that they've started routing a shallow channel on the underside of the sound board just in from the outer edge. The bass on all the higher-end Taylors I tried was mind-boggling and I suspect that routing idea is the reason.
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Broadus: thanks for your welcome, too! I'm glad to hear you're totally happy with the Martin OM-21. Ironic that we're on opposite sides of the fence as to Martin and Larrivée being over-built!
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TEH: I'm envious that you found a Martin you were totally happy with in the '70s and then another one later. If I could have found one back then, I'd still be playing it today, too. Martin makes a guitar that you really *want* to love.
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Danny
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« Reply #64 on: July 18, 2010, 03:14:59 PM »


I was half-expecting to be roasted alive by Martin owners, but so far my hide seems to be at least mostly intact. ;)

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Broadus: thanks for your welcome, too! I'm glad to hear you're totally happy with the Martin OM-21. Ironic that we're on opposite sides of the fence as to Martin and Larrivée being over-built!
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TEH: I'm envious that you found a Martin you were totally happy with in the '70s and then another one later. If I could have found one back then, I'd still be playing it today, too. Martin makes a guitar that you really *want* to love.
                Well we are not cannibals here, though we do like "roast duck" occasionally

   I have had 10 Larrivees I think. And one Martin. My Martin OM-21 is very definitely not overbuilt. It is very responsive and a nice RW fingerstyle guitar that can be strummed fairly hard as well. Mine was made in 93 and has aged well. A friend used it as his main gig guitar for 10 years, so I guess it may have some merit to it. blush
         
       So I suppose I will welcome you to the funny farm as well.
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« Reply #65 on: August 05, 2010, 01:37:49 PM »

                My Martin OM-21 is very definitely not overbuilt. It is very responsive and a nice RW fingerstyle guitar that can be strummed fairly hard as well.

 +1

Welcome to the Forum Picker. 

Cheers, Scott.
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Martin 00-18V.
Gibson SG Classic.
Dr.Z Mini Z.
Eastman 805V Mandolin.

Still no Larrivee.... :-(

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« Reply #66 on: August 05, 2010, 11:34:50 PM »

My experience is limited. I visit L&M store in town every Thursday night off and on and play guitars for an hour or two...whatever they got: gibsons godin epiphone larrivee taylor yamaha and martin....and I am always impressed by the martin I pick up...there is just something a little more refined in the sound....and its consistently that way. My favorite was an OM-21...woody balanced refined. But this: they got a Larrivee OM-50 in, and I liked its sound as much as and I think more than the OM-21. Martin sets a standard, but I thought that Larrivee was the best in the shop that day!     
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bearsville0
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« Reply #67 on: August 06, 2010, 01:09:42 AM »

Tony Rice

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMgeV5-DIs4&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xswwXOPhoTU&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_u964a0f38s&feature=related


Tell me that doesn't soften your jaw up.
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If it sounds good, it is good.

Richard III
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« Reply #68 on: August 09, 2010, 07:35:43 PM »

I'm coming late to this thread but here goes.  My Martin 00-21NY bought in 1961 always had a clear open tone for fingerpicked blues.  It's been worked over a couple of times at the factory in the last 50 years but is still a sweet, clear instrument with wonderful action. 

My 1983 HD-28 took years to open up but finally did and after a recent factory set-up plays better than it ever did.

On the other hand, my OM-O5 Larrivee, built in 2009, played better than either of the above mentioned guitars right out of the case.  It has a balanced tone from bass to treble with remarkable smooth actin.  It has become my favorite all-around guitar.

I woudn't  sell or trade my Martins. Each of them has grown up into a fine instrument.  However, if I were in the market for another guitar, I would work my way through the Larrivee catalogue to find what I wanted.
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J. Hunter
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« Reply #69 on: August 11, 2010, 03:24:38 AM »

It's funny what different people hear in a guitar.  I don't actually think that what we hear is really subjective, mind you--the neurophysiological evidence is to the contrary--but our perceptions certainly differ; we listen for different things when we hear an instrument, and we approach the experience with different background information.  It's strange to me, though, that Martins (over the 16 series, anyway) would tend to sound over-built to anyone.  To my ear, the "congested" quality pickering_picker refers to is better thought of a richness, or tonal complexity--it's what gives Martins their character.  I suppose one might like that character, or not.  I think that there are some makers who tend to achieve that tonal character better than Martin does (I'm a relatively recent Collings convert, for example), but Larrivee's don't have it at all.  They tend to have other virtues, of course--clarity, balance, a contemporary sparkle.  All nice, but they don't suit every style, IMO.  Martin's and Larrivee's occupy different positions on the tonal palate, and the question is just which colours one needs to satisfy ones musical ambitions.  The only reason to compare a Martin to a Larrivee is if one can't have both.  in that case, the question is which guitar will check more boxes at a given price, and that will depend on ones musical tastes, playing style, and budget (I would say, however, that I tend to prefer mahogany martin's to rosewood martin's).

As for over-built guitars, I can't think of any maker of all solid guitars this side of china that tends to produce instruments which are more over-built to my ears and eyes than Gibson.  I'm not sure that I've ever played one I've liked (a lot of them were pretty, though).  That being said, I'm still waiting for the day when my brain keys into whatever it is so many people like about them (besides the sunbursts).  It may never happen, or it may just turn out that Gibson offers a colour I don't have much use for.  
  
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bhika
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« Reply #70 on: August 11, 2010, 12:49:40 PM »

Well Said! +1

It's funny what different people hear in a guitar.  I don't actually think that what we hear is really subjective, mind you--the neurophysiological evidence is to the contrary--but our perceptions certainly differ; we listen for different things when we hear an instrument, and we approach the experience with different background information.  It's strange to me, though, that Martins (over the 16 series, anyway) would tend to sound over-built to anyone.  To my ear, the "congested" quality pickering_picker refers to is better thought of a richness, or tonal complexity--it's what gives Martins their character.  I suppose one might like that character, or not.  I think that there are some makers who tend to achieve that tonal character better than Martin does (I'm a relatively recent Collings convert, for example), but Larrivee's don't have it at all.  They tend to have other virtues, of course--clarity, balance, a contemporary sparkle.  All nice, but they don't suit every style, IMO.  Martin's and Larrivee's occupy different positions on the tonal palate, and the question is just which colours one needs to satisfy ones musical ambitions.  The only reason to compare a Martin to a Larrivee is if one can't have both.  in that case, the question is which guitar will check more boxes at a given price, and that will depend on ones musical tastes, playing style, and budget (I would say, however, that I tend to prefer mahogany martin's to rosewood martin's).

As for over-built guitars, I can't think of any maker of all solid guitars this side of china that tends to produce instruments which are more over-built to my ears and eyes than Gibson.  I'm not sure that I've ever played one I've liked (a lot of them were pretty, though).  That being said, I'm still waiting for the day when my brain keys into whatever it is so many people like about them (besides the sunbursts).  It may never happen, or it may just turn out that Gibson offers a colour I don't have much use for.  
  
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jeff

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« Reply #71 on: August 11, 2010, 02:13:00 PM »

    I totally disagree with the parts about Gibson. You just need to know the years they built them well and the model you want. Then you can find some really well made, great players. As well as vintage collectibles worth more than most guitar manufacturers.
     Just a side note.

                        Now let's get back to Martin
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obe-wan
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« Reply #72 on: August 30, 2010, 06:52:26 AM »

    I totally disagree with the parts about Gibson. You just need to know the years they built them well and the model you want. Then you can find some really well made, great players.

 +1

My 2001 Gibson J-45 was one of the most resonant, rich ,vibrant sounding guitars I have ever heard. really regret offloading that one. 

I also owned a '61 LG-2, same deal.

Cheers, Scott.
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Martin OM-21. 
Martin 00-18V.
Gibson SG Classic.
Dr.Z Mini Z.
Eastman 805V Mandolin.

Still no Larrivee.... :-(

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« Reply #73 on: August 30, 2010, 04:19:24 PM »

  Just made a deal today to trade my OM-21 for something else. This was a shot out of the blue. It will be an upgrade and I'm throwing in a set of open back Grovers as well as doing some work on a nice Webber mando for the swap.
                          News update at 10:00 
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« Reply #74 on: August 30, 2010, 07:29:22 PM »

Although I post infrequently here I am very active on the Martin forum.

My experience in guitar started about 40 years ago with one some sort of a cheap(don't remember the brand)tinny acoustic with that universal awfully high action.

Seemed like everyone in the late 60s and early seventies were really into electrics so my interest waned.I wasn't a very good player and just strummed a few chords.I always enjoyed singing songs but kind of negleted the guitar.Bought a decent yamaha in 1979 which sounded ok and owned it for 12 years.

About 20 years ago I started playing ,mainly for my kids and I wanted to play better.So I went into our local Guitar Center,which at that time was a smaller store with good staff attitude and products.

I knew absolutely nothing about brand names ,woods, laminates or anything like that.I told the sales guy I wanted an easy playing,nicer sounding guitar better than my all laminate Yamaha.

So I traded the Yam in for a Martin D-1.Well it was a busy time in my life and again my interest was not there.

I took some lessons for a couple of years on the Martin.I improved somewhat but not enough to feel like I had any capability.

About 7 years ago I was determined to become a "decent" guitar player.Bought a high end Takamine.It was a good guitar which I enjoyed and started to improve on.

My daughter wanted to learn so I traded my Martin D-1 for a small Seagull for her.(What a mistake!)

I then realized I was "missing" something  that was absent when playing the Tak.

So I sold the Tak and bought a new D-28 which has since lead to a serious case of Martin "G.A.S.)

 Over these past 10 years in my current guitar fanatic phase,I've really wanted to try buying a Taylor . Every time I try one (many times!) the sound does not seem to appeal to me.I truly like the Taylor look and design and think they are "cool" guitars .I always end up with a Martin despite my intention of really giving the Taylors a chance.

There aren't many Larrivee dealers in our area,but the several I have played to me again were unexceptional.

I think part of it is that one becomes used to a certain type of sound .Perhaps this gets ingrained somewhere in your grey matter.

So now I own 4 Martins and truly enjoy the sound of each.

For me it wasn't the brand name recognition but the type of sound a Martin creates....
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obe-wan
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« Reply #75 on: August 31, 2010, 08:58:47 AM »

  Just made a deal today to trade my OM-21 for something else.




 ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy ohmy
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Martin OM-21. 
Martin 00-18V.
Gibson SG Classic.
Dr.Z Mini Z.
Eastman 805V Mandolin.

Still no Larrivee.... :-(

Upwey, Victoria, Australia.
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« Reply #76 on: August 31, 2010, 10:22:49 PM »

I played over 100 guitars when I bought my Martin D-35 in 1977. Since then I have adopted that as a rule of thumb and find I enjoy searching for a great guitar as much as buying one. My D-35 would be the last to go but my OM-35 is an amazing instrument too.

My son just borrowed my Larrivee 12 string to record some Leo Kottke (Vaseline Machine Gun, Watermelon and Crow River Waltz from 6&12 String Guitar) at home. Also an exceptional guitar.

Over the years, I have heard the following crticisms about my D-35 during conversations about guitars in general:

1) Martins from the 70s are sub par
2) Shaded tops were used to cover defects
3) The Non-adjustable Truss Rod is inferior
4) The Blue Fiberglass case is too heavy and ugly
5) Martin's ain't what they used to be. From a former Martin Dealer who dropped the line in favor of Ovations in the 70's and is now back to selling Martins.
6) Martin's are overbuilt
7) The D-35 is inferior to the D-18 or D-28
8) East Indian Rosewood is not as good a Brazilian Rosewood
9) Grover Rotomatics are sub-par tuners


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TEH

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« Reply #77 on: September 01, 2010, 01:08:33 AM »

my OM-35 is an amazing instrument too.

Over the years, I have heard the following crticisms about my D-35 during conversations about guitars in general:

1) Martins from the 70s are sub par
2) Shaded tops were used to cover defects
3) The Non-adjustable Truss Rod is inferior
4) The Blue Fiberglass case is too heavy and ugly
5) Martin's ain't what they used to be. From a former Martin Dealer who dropped the line in favor of Ovations in the 70's and is now back to selling Martins.
6) Martin's are overbuilt
7) The D-35 is inferior to the D-18 or D-28
8) East Indian Rosewood is not as good a Brazilian Rosewood
9) Grover Rotomatics are sub-par tuners



never sell that OM-35.  IMHO the best OM martin ever made, and they stopped making them.

1) In fairness, Martin did have serious QC issues in the 70's.  I'd be leery of buying a mid 70's Martin without inspecting it first, I had no qualms about doing so when I bought my Mid 2000 D-35
2)That's always been the rumor for every manufacturer.
3)It's less adjustable, and thus less versatile.  It's probably more robust though.
4) they are Ulgy and Heavy. 
5) No comment. 
6) Compared to what?  Nothing screams "built like a main battle tank" like a Guild.
7) 3 pc > 2.  The -35s are much nicer and responsive guitars than the 28 or 18.
8) I can't hear the difference.  Braz is highly regarded due to tradition and expense.  All the dalbergias sound very similar.
9) Current Martins use Pings. 'Nuf said.  I'd take Grovers over pings any day.

 
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« Reply #78 on: September 01, 2010, 01:48:51 AM »

6) Martin's are overbuilt

Martin is one of the few guitar makers that offers you a choice of bracing.    So you can either get their overbuilt guitars that will last forever, or you can get their underbuilt guitars that will need a neck reset in a couple years.   

FWIW, I have a Martin 0-16NY that has got to be one of the lightest-built factory guitars I have ever seen.
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« Reply #79 on: September 01, 2010, 04:21:58 AM »

    Martins are not overbuilt and they hold their value very well. If not increase in value. Nuff said.
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Too many guitars... But I keep thinking one more may just do it.
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