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Author Topic: Martin Performing artist serise / Richlite?  (Read 4498 times)
mas music
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« on: February 28, 2011, 04:15:37 AM »

I made a post last year about Martin shamelessly copying Taylor with it's new Performing Artist series. Martin has now expanded this series with more affordable guitars. I played a GPCPA4 the least expensive solid sappele model and I must admit was really impressed with the sound of this guitar and the price was nice. One way Martin keeps the prices down is using Richlite for it's finger boards and bridges on all but the very top of the line CPA1. I know using richlite as opposed to Ebony offends purists but practically is there any down side to using this material? What say you?
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AZLiberty
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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2011, 05:38:43 AM »

It's not wood.  The reason I did not buy what I thought was an absolutely fabulous guitar (the Martin JC-16RGTE) was because the fretboard was not wood.
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L07 Shooting Star
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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2011, 06:59:17 AM »

It's not wood.  The reason I did not buy what I thought was an absolutely fabulous guitar (the Martin JC-16RGTE) was because the fretboard was not wood.
It wouldn't matter to me what the fretboard was made of provided it looked, played, felt, like wood or better than wood.  I guess I'm saying I wouldn't reject a guitar just because it didn't have a wood fingerboard.  Same as I wouldn't reject one with a nut that wasn't bone or frets that weren't a certain metal alloy or braces that were not made of spruce.  If the guitar sounded and played awesome, and was well constructed, and I liked how it looked, that's all that would matter to me.

AZLiberty, is your reasoning based on a belief that acceptable instruments and their parts should only be made of certain materials, period?  Or is it based on man-made materials VS natural materials?  For example would you refect an Ovation guitar with a man-made back based on the same principle?
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AZLiberty
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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2011, 08:08:34 AM »

Actually I have an ovation 12-string around here somewhere.  I'm pretty certain the fretboard is wood though.  It might be too damn narrow, but its wood.

I don't like micarta/richlite/bakelite etc.  It doesn't feel like wood, it feels like cheap plastic.  Saving $5-10 in construction cost on a $1600 guitar just seems petty to me.
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L07 Shooting Star
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« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2011, 08:36:02 AM »

OK, I think I understand where you are coming from.  I gather you're not opposed to any particular material being used in a guitar provided it has the properties you would expect that part should have.  Don't know if I explained what I mean very well, but I think we are on the same page in that regard.  I guess what I'm saying is that you aren't a "purist" and neither am I.

Regards, Kurt
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"Badges?  We don't need no stinkin' badges."

Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
mas music
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2011, 03:21:08 AM »

 The performance artist sappelle series ( PA4) is selling for around $1,200. A great deal for A solid wood, cut away, acoustic electric Martin. It would appear that using Richlite bridges and fret boards keeps the cost down. It seems Martin is committed to using alternative materials in there latest offerings.
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L07 Shooting Star
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« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2011, 03:39:32 AM »

I think I'm correct in saying Martin has always been an innovator in guitar design and construction since way back when.  So I'm guessing introducing alternative materials is carefully evaluated by the company before they are incorporated in their guitars.  So if these materials have the required qualities and/or even make the guitars better at lower cost, then I'm all for it.

Kurt
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"Badges?  We don't need no stinkin' badges."

Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
AZLiberty
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« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2011, 05:30:09 AM »

The performance artist sappelle series ( PA4) is selling for around $1,200. A great deal for A solid wood, cut away, acoustic electric Martin. It would appear that using Richlite bridges and fret boards keeps the cost down. It seems Martin is committed to using alternative materials in there latest offerings.

LMII sells ebony fretboards for under $10 in quantity.  It's not keeping the cost down much.
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ewalling
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« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2011, 02:02:12 PM »

I raised a very similar question on the UMGF a week or so ago under the title of 'What is "Richlite"?'. I was prompted by having played a superb sounding and playing Martin ovanbgkol/sitka OM in the 16 series. The consensus on UMGF was that not only is the difference between richlite and ebony imperceptible, but that richlite may even be preferable on account of its increased resistance to unsuitable humidity levels.
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mas music
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« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2011, 11:05:05 PM »

 Martin uses a mortise tension neck joint on it's performance artist series. Only the Traditional and vintage Martin lines use a Dove Tail neck joint. Truth be told I have no idea what any of this means. It's intresting to me that all Larrivee's use a Dove Tail Which Martin reserves for it's very highend guitars. But in the end does it really matter???
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teh
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« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2011, 02:25:55 AM »

mas music asked "But in the end does it really matter?" I think he answered his own question.

The Mortise and Tenon joint is less expensive to make and uses different bracing. Even though my two standard series Martins have dovetail neck joints, I would buy a guitar with that M&T neck in a heart beat if it spoke to me.

Think about it. Martin has been in business for 178 years and even an old f@#t like me can recognize talent and skill when I see it. If you added up the time that Taylor and Larrivee have been building guitars and doubled your answer, you'd still come up well short of 178 years. How many times have other big makers like Gibson, Fender, Guild and Ovation changed hands over the years? FWIW, Yuengling Beer is a family owned operation too and I now quality when I taste it too.

I have a friend who has 8 Martins as well as some Larrivees, and a Weber and he loves the neck on the Performance Artist Series which looks similar to the Taylor line. Then again, the OM and Dread are Martin's contribution to guitar design just like the L Body is Larrivee's contribution.
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« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2011, 04:27:12 AM »

LMII sells ebony fretboards for under $10 in quantity.  It's not keeping the cost down much.
Which indicates to me they chose to use richlite for technical reasons (perhaps superior properties?) and not cost cutting reasons.
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"Badges?  We don't need no stinkin' badges."

Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
AZLiberty
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« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2011, 04:31:57 AM »

Which indicates to me they chose to use richlite for technical reasons (perhaps superior properties?) and not cost cutting reasons.

Oh, don't get me wrong, saving $5 a guitar probably adds up to a quarter million dollars a year to the bottom line. On the other hand I think just about anyone in the market for a $1500 martin would be willing to spend an extra $5 to get a real wood fingerboard.
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« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2011, 06:08:58 AM »

But why?
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"Badges?  We don't need no stinkin' badges."

Became a Shooting Star when I got my 1st guitar.
Back in '66, I was 13 and that was my fix.
Still shooting for stardom after all this time.
If I never make it, I'll still be fine.


 
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