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Author Topic: Another Martin in my future (Custom Shop build)  (Read 1251 times)
Mikeymac
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« on: December 09, 2017, 05:19:14 AM »

Did I really just do this?! I have an Emerald carbon fiber guitar on order (should be done around March), and today I ordered an(other) all wood guitar...

Here's what I dreamed up:

Martin J-18
Left-handed
J/0000 size body
D-18 trim and neck specs (1 3/4" nut, ebony board, Old style logo, open gear Grover tuners)
Sitka Spruce top (Grade 5-6), aging toner on top
Forward shifted scalloped braces
Genuine Mahogany B/S (Grade 3-4)
Large sound hole, no pick guard
Rosewood bridge, 2 5/32" spacing

The Sitka grade (5-6) is typically used on the 42/45 series and up guitars
The hog grade (3-4) is reserved for Authentics

I'm going after the tone of a discontinued signature model, the DPJ II (Diane Ponzi Jumbo), which sounds huge, clear and open - but with more traditional Martin aesthetics.

Here's a video clip of that model: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6pLqcsB8ek

I decided not to spring for the slotted headstock - which kept this build very reasonable, just north of $2,500.

Now the wait begins - probably 5-7 months based on others' current experience.


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All guitars are left-handed:
1979 L-19  |  1992 OM-05  |  2010 RS-4 in Candy Blue  |  2013 C-10 Italian Spruce/Silver Oak  |  2016 L-05 Custom
AZLiberty
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2017, 05:40:35 AM »

Traditional Martin aesthetics to me would mean a matching ebony bridge and fretboard at least to me.

Given the new CITES issues I might even spring for an ebony headstock overlay.  Martin will do this, I saw a custom 00-15M with ebony headstock overlay, bridge and fretboard that looked killer.
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Mikeymac
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2017, 03:39:11 PM »

Traditional Martin aesthetics to me would mean a matching ebony bridge and fretboard at least to me.

Given the new CITES issues I might even spring for an ebony headstock overlay.  Martin will do this, I saw a custom 00-15M with ebony headstock overlay, bridge and fretboard that looked killer.

The reason for the rosewood bridge is tonal; it (supposedly) gives a more open, airy sound than ebony. So while it looks different to have it mismatched, Martin does this on a couple of models for tonal reasons (like the M-36 and some custom models based off of the J and M bodies, like Jorma Koukonen's signature guitar and the above mentioned Diane Ponzi signature). Then there are those guitars which have rosewood bridge and finger board standard, like the D-21, 00-21, etc (the 21 series rosewood b/s Martins).

I remember somewhere that Jean Larrivee said something about the tonal difference of rosewood finger board and bridge when Larrivee was using it on the 02 series for a brief season...
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All guitars are left-handed:
1979 L-19  |  1992 OM-05  |  2010 RS-4 in Candy Blue  |  2013 C-10 Italian Spruce/Silver Oak  |  2016 L-05 Custom
AZLiberty
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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2017, 06:34:55 PM »

like the M-36 and some custom models based off of the J and M bodies,

You know, I never noticed that the M-36 has a rosewood bridge.

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Mikeymac
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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2017, 11:14:09 PM »


You know, I never noticed that the M-36 has a rosewood bridge.


I agree it can look a bit odd, especially if the rosewood is quite light in color...I suppose a little oil can help darken it if needed...
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All guitars are left-handed:
1979 L-19  |  1992 OM-05  |  2010 RS-4 in Candy Blue  |  2013 C-10 Italian Spruce/Silver Oak  |  2016 L-05 Custom
George
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« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2017, 01:30:34 AM »


I remember somewhere that Jean Larrivee said something about the tonal difference of rosewood finger board and bridge when Larrivee was using it on the 02 series for a brief season...

My D-02 MH is all rosewood trim, fretboard, headstock overlay, bridge, heel and end.  Recently I heard that they also had 40 series bracing.  I do not know if it is the combination of Rosewood or the enhancement of 40 bracing, or both, but that little guitar absolutely resounds with tone and cast.  I have two Gibsons with Rosewood fretboard and bridge, and they too sound loud and clear.  Gibson bracing these days is pretty much the same as Martin, there must be something to it...
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George
Mikeymac
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« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2017, 03:30:41 AM »


My D-02 MH is all rosewood trim, fretboard, headstock overlay, bridge, heel and end.  Recently I heard that they also had 40 series bracing.  I do not know if it is the combination of Rosewood or the enhancement of 40 bracing, or both, but that little guitar absolutely resounds with tone and cast.  I have two Gibsons with Rosewood fretboard and bridge, and they too sound loud and clear.  Gibson bracing these days is pretty much the same as Martin, there must be something to it...


"tone and cast" - what is "cast"?

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All guitars are left-handed:
1979 L-19  |  1992 OM-05  |  2010 RS-4 in Candy Blue  |  2013 C-10 Italian Spruce/Silver Oak  |  2016 L-05 Custom
mike in lytle
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« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2017, 04:27:46 AM »

"tone and cast" - what is "cast"?
Projection or "throw", I do surmise. The guitar's ability to produce an articulate tone at a distance.
Of course, I may be wrong on what George meant. He may have talking about fishing.
Mike
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George
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« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2017, 02:16:19 PM »

You are correct MIke, it is volume projection forcefully thrown in a specific direction... It may not have been meant as a musical term, but it is the closest thing I could think of that represents what I attempted to describe...
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George
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« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2017, 06:56:54 PM »

 
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1979 L-19  |  1992 OM-05  |  2010 RS-4 in Candy Blue  |  2013 C-10 Italian Spruce/Silver Oak  |  2016 L-05 Custom
dorisroberts
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« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2018, 10:50:56 PM »

Do you have photos of your guitars? Or something like sketch? It is very interesting to see them
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Mikeymac
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« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2018, 02:06:40 PM »

Do you have photos of your guitars? Or something like sketch? It is very interesting to see them

If you're referring to the custom J-18, no - no pics yet; it's still being built. No sketches either...I envisioned the J-style body (which is Martin's 0000 size with dreadnought depth) with Martin D-18 cosmetics and the current D-18 neck, which I like (1 3/4" nut "modified low oval" shape). Those were my basic criteria.

To those specs I added two custom options that are different from normal:

1) a rosewood bridge (instead of ebony bridge with ebony fingerboard), which comes from their M-36 model and is said to have a slightly different, more open tone than an ebony bridge, and
2) an enlarged soundhole, which is said to give the guitar more volume and more pronounced mids - we'll see.

I'm really looking forward to comparing this J-18 to my Larrivee L-05 Custom, since they will have similar body sizes and woods (plus a few differences, obviously).

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All guitars are left-handed:
1979 L-19  |  1992 OM-05  |  2010 RS-4 in Candy Blue  |  2013 C-10 Italian Spruce/Silver Oak  |  2016 L-05 Custom
Mikeymac
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« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2018, 08:10:30 PM »

Well... a couple weeks ago (as we were leaving the country for Japan for 10 days to visit family there) I stopped into the shop in Omaha where I ordered my J-18 last December, and the store owner gave me some bad news that he had just learned: my J-18 order was never turned in by Martin's regional rep - MY GUITAR WAS NEVER ORDERED!

That very morning there had been a call on my cell phone from a # I didn't recognize, so I ignored it - turns out it was that very Martin rep calling to apologize for screwing up my order! AUGH...!!!

So - I waited SIX MONTHS thinking Martin was building my guitar (supposed to take around 6 months to complete), and nothing was happening. Zip. Zero. Nada.

So after talking to the store manager, I finally listened to the message on my phone - sure enough, it's the Martin regional rep calling to apologize profusely for messing up - he said when he got the order from Tim, the store owner, he accidentally archived the e-mail before placing the order, then forgot all about it...

...so Martin offered that if I would reorder the guitar, they would give me a lefty X-series Martin for free immediately (giving me something else to play while they did the build - another 5-6 month wait). I didn't want some cheap laminate pretend Martin! I wanted the guitar I ordered! And had put down a big deposit for, thank you very much! I told the rep this, and asked if they could expedite the build if I reordered, and he said he couldn't guarantee that - it would still have to be considered a normal build with about 6 months wait.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

I told Tim, the store owner (who I've done business with for over 20 years, and who was also very apologetic - he said he was pissed when he found out and wanted to call Chris Martin himself to have this rep fired - he said this rep has been worthless in other ways)...I told Tim I'd have to think about it, and I'd let him know.

Thing is, I still wanted the guitar - it's something that I think would sound and play awesome.

So before I got on the plane for Japan the next morning, I e-mailed Tim and made a counter offer: Sell me a Martin 000-15SM at or below dealer cost, and I'll order the J-18 again.

He sent this request up the chain of command to the Martin Custom Shop administrator, and he said they would do this, but the 000 would also take 3-4 months, since it's a lefty, and they didn't have one in stock at the time. I still agreed to it, and said I hoped they would do all they could to expedite these builds still, so that I might see them closer to the 3 month and 4-5 month mark (I've heard of other customs being built in as little as 4 - 4-1/2 months).

So they've restarted the order. I have the Custom Shop Administrator's e-mail (because Tim forwarded me the string of e-mails discussing the rebuild), so I'm going to e-mail him directly on Monday (Martin was closed this past week for the July 4th holiday) and confirm that both orders have been placed, and also ask him if there's any way to move things along.

I'll let you know what I hear back from him early next week.

First a Larrivee custom order misfire (back in '16), now a Martin one. I must have a target on my back... 
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All guitars are left-handed:
1979 L-19  |  1992 OM-05  |  2010 RS-4 in Candy Blue  |  2013 C-10 Italian Spruce/Silver Oak  |  2016 L-05 Custom
ducktrapper
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« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2018, 10:17:34 PM »

Can't wait to see it! As a retired guy who has likely bought his last guitar (at least, my wife hopes so) I have to live vicariously off of other's NG's.   
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tuffythepug
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« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2018, 12:56:26 AM »

Me ?  I"d ask for a refund and chalk it up to experience.  Do you really need that Martin ? 
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2018, 01:01:20 AM »

Me ?  I"d ask for a refund and chalk it up to experience.  Do you really need that Martin ? 


Hey! Since when did "need" come in to play?   
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AZLiberty
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« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2018, 02:01:28 AM »

If it were me?

I'd specify no aging toner, either clean sitka or I'd go with the amberburst.  I hate the fake orange toner.  This is your opportunity.

I'd probably ask them up upgrade to a 3-piece back like on the M-36 to make up for my trouble.  (But I'm a sucker for a Martin 3-piece back)

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Mikeymac
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« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2018, 02:36:49 AM »


Me ?  I"d ask for a refund and chalk it up to experience.  Do you really need that Martin ? 



Hey! Since when did "need" come in to play?   


That's the correct answer, Tom! And, as I mentioned early in this thread, I'm looking forward to hearing the Martin up against the Larrivee L-05 Custom (which, if you'll recall, I ended up buying later even though they screwed up and put a spruce top on it instead of mahogany. It is opening up and sounding very strong and wonderful.)


If it were me?

I'd specify no aging toner, either clean sitka or I'd go with the amberburst.  I hate the fake orange toner.  This is your opportunity.

I'd probably ask them up upgrade to a 3-piece back like on the M-36 to make up for my trouble.  (But I'm a sucker for a Martin 3-piece back)


Yeah - I thought about deleting the aging toner... but one change I did make was the bridge spacing - from 2-5/32" to 2-5/16". That will be more finger-style friendly, and close to the same as the Larrivee (which I believe is 2-1/4").

Instead of a(nother) 3-piece back, I'm also a sucker for the Martin 000-15SM, so I got a very good price on that as part of the reorder bargain. I'm good with that, since I was planning to get one some day anyway.
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All guitars are left-handed:
1979 L-19  |  1992 OM-05  |  2010 RS-4 in Candy Blue  |  2013 C-10 Italian Spruce/Silver Oak  |  2016 L-05 Custom
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« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2018, 03:42:11 AM »


Instead of a(nother) 3-piece back, I'm also a sucker for the Martin 000-15SM, so I got a very good price on that as part of the reorder bargain. I'm good with that, since I was planning to get one some day anyway.

I'm not buying a slot-head until I have a roadie to change my strings.  I HATE bleeding all over my guitars. 
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« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2018, 02:18:27 AM »

Sounds like it worked out. You found an excuse to buy 2 guitars instead of just 1.
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