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#4655480 - 02/04/18 04:11 AM Thinking about a Martin guitar...
Indydriver Offline


Registered: 03/20/11
Posts: 2153
Loc: Indiana
After studying the plethora of choices, considering my needs and features to help potential resale, Iíve tentatively settled on the following must-have features:

Sitka top
Rosewood body
Scalloped forward X bracing
Solid mahogany neck

It adds up to a new HD-28.

What say you?
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#4655488 - 02/04/18 04:43 AM Re: Thinking about a Martin guitar... [Re: Indydriver]
skyactiv Offline


Registered: 03/02/13
Posts: 4399
Loc: The Midwest
Are you a professional musician? I don't like how Martins tend to stand out and be bright sounding in a small live show.
To each his own.
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#4655509 - 02/04/18 06:25 AM Re: Thinking about a Martin guitar... [Re: Indydriver]
Alex_V Offline


Registered: 04/10/16
Posts: 1155
Loc: Campbellsville, KY
I have a 2001 D35 that I'll never part with. I really lucked out when I picked it out - tone and balance is better than only a handful of guitars I've played. Stephen Mougin (Sam Bush's guitarist 2006-?) said it was the best sounding '35 he'd ever heard, and most people that pick it up have positive opinions, too.

The best sounding guitars I've played were Martins (HD28 Clarence White edition - oh man) and also some of the worst. That is to say, don't just order one or pick one off the wall at a music store - play a variety, don't pull the trigger early, and settle on the one that speaks to you regardless of what the specs are. If you don't feel you have the skill to make a choice on those criteria yet ^ then you may want to spend a little less money for a guitar to grow with, then get your Martin later. I've played a Taylor or two that really impressed me for the price. Though, I have to say, since mostly getting out of the pro scene of playing music about 5 years ago and moving to KY, watching the crop of semi-professional or aspiring folk/indie players around here I'm always disappointed how few of them display any real aptitude for tone or attack in their guitar playing - they're aspiring to Dylan, or Clapton, or Mayer, but only have the skill on guitar to create some organized noise to spread their singing over.

Martins can certainly be bright and loud, but as I said they can vary greatly. Strings also make a huge difference - I really don't like how Elixir or Martin strings sound on my guitar. I used GHS phosphur bronze (80/20?) mediums for a good while, then went to D'Addario EJ17's, then to EXP17's and I'm very happy with those. The difference between EJ and EXP's is subtle, but the EXP's (coated) will remain bright after one show or jam session where the EJ's won't.

What genre(s) are you playing?


Edited by Alex_V (02/04/18 06:39 AM)
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#4655562 - 02/04/18 07:59 AM Re: Thinking about a Martin guitar... [Re: Indydriver]
HoosierJeeper Offline


Registered: 11/23/16
Posts: 1276
Loc: WI
My Seagull Peppino D'Augusto meets all those specs...I love Godin stuff in general. Worth a look, I want to say they're like $1800-$2000, got mine used in good shape for $650.
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#4655628 - 02/04/18 09:09 AM Re: Thinking about a Martin guitar... [Re: Alex_V]
Indydriver Offline


Registered: 03/20/11
Posts: 2153
Loc: Indiana
Originally Posted By: Alex_V
What genre(s) are you playing?


I consider myself a novice. I purchased a 1973 Yamaha FG200 new in college, learned basic chords, bar chords and experimented with some adhoc leads. Then, got busy with life and didnít touch a guitar for years. Now I have time and have rediscovered my love for playing, and want to surpass my former level of ability. I primarily play by myself, for myself although I could see that changing with a certain level of accomplishment.

Now, I can afford a premium guitar. Martin is renown for making the best guitars in the world and by buying one of their standards, it will have decent resale value when the time comes. I have no experience playing Martins but when thinking about playing, I want the same anticipation and joy I receive every time I take my 480hp Ď14 Camaro SS Convertible out of the garage. I like playing the same music I did in college: Stills, Young, CSN, Eagles, Fogelberg-you get the idea.


Edited by Indydriver (02/04/18 09:19 AM)
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#4655641 - 02/04/18 09:21 AM Re: Thinking about a Martin guitar... [Re: Indydriver]
Indydriver Offline


Registered: 03/20/11
Posts: 2153
Loc: Indiana
Oh [censored]. I just noticed where this thread landed. It was supposed to go in the General forum.

MOD-Please move it.
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#4655663 - 02/04/18 09:44 AM Re: Thinking about a Martin guitar... [Re: Indydriver]
CT8 Online   content


Registered: 10/09/14
Posts: 10989
Loc: Idaho
What level player are you? You need to play the Guitar to see what it does for you. The feel of the guitar and the sound of the guitar.
For example my son has a bunch of guitars and my opinion his $650.00 Jackson semi v ? is the best sounding of all his electric guitars . His favorite and his love is his Jackon King v with the set neck. You need to go music stores and play the guitars to see how the necks feel and how the wood sounds. It is all up to you. Resale be darmed.
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#4655722 - 02/04/18 10:34 AM Re: Thinking about a Martin guitar... [Re: Indydriver]
69GTX Offline


Registered: 09/23/15
Posts: 3815
Loc: Connecticut
Buy a quality used, near to new specimen. Best bang for the buck. The for sale sections on Ebay, Craig's List, and your local music shops have tons of used guitars for sale. Buyer's market. If you want most or all of your money back, buy mint used, preferably ones already considered "vintage" in the 1990's or earlier that are already holding value....and in-demand by collectors/enthusiasts. Be patient. I play vintage drums and an surprised at how often great vintage drums show up for 20-50% of what they'd worth wholesale. Shouldn't be too much different for guitars.
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#4655744 - 02/04/18 10:52 AM Re: Thinking about a Martin guitar... [Re: 69GTX]
CT8 Online   content


Registered: 10/09/14
Posts: 10989
Loc: Idaho
YeahI My son wanted a bass guitar and thought of picking up a Squire and in the music store was a used Fender American made bass for $12.00 more that the Squire bass. He bought the Fender bass what a deal !
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#4655778 - 02/04/18 11:17 AM Re: Thinking about a Martin guitar... [Re: Indydriver]
Vuflanovsky Offline


Registered: 12/15/14
Posts: 1168
Loc: California
If resale is a particular concern and someone's not a professional endorser, I probably wouldn't spend more than $3000 on a guitar so an HD-28 is right in that ball park. If I bought a more expensive Martin for example, I'd be paying for the inlay and similar details more than the differences in the tone woods and IMO there'd be greater diminishing returns financially...at least that's my take on new Martins...but you might hear things differently.

Discussing these differences can get more protracted than a thick vs. thin debate on here with some players that don't hear things as you do and might not accept that possibility. You have to play them and see what differences ( real or perceived ) are important to you.

I think there are more than a few guitars that match your basic criteria. Everything being equal, if owning a Martin is something you've always wanted or would especially appreciate every time you pick it up, then that's worth a lot.

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#4655849 - 02/04/18 12:07 PM Re: Thinking about a Martin guitar... [Re: Indydriver]
HoosierJeeper Offline


Registered: 11/23/16
Posts: 1276
Loc: WI
I'd just go play a bunch and see what sounds/feels right. Guitar I never buy online, I like to spend a day at a shop. smile
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#4655856 - 02/04/18 12:12 PM Re: Thinking about a Martin guitar... [Re: Indydriver]
Alex_V Offline


Registered: 04/10/16
Posts: 1155
Loc: Campbellsville, KY
Originally Posted By: Indydriver
Originally Posted By: Alex_V
What genre(s) are you playing?


I consider myself a novice. I purchased a 1973 Yamaha FG200 new in college, learned basic chords, bar chords and experimented with some adhoc leads. Then, got busy with life and didnít touch a guitar for years. Now I have time and have rediscovered my love for playing, and want to surpass my former level of ability. I primarily play by myself, for myself although I could see that changing with a certain level of accomplishment.

Now, I can afford a premium guitar. Martin is renown for making the best guitars in the world and by buying one of their standards, it will have decent resale value when the time comes. I have no experience playing Martins but when thinking about playing, I want the same anticipation and joy I receive every time I take my 480hp Ď14 Camaro SS Convertible out of the garage. I like playing the same music I did in college: Stills, Young, CSN, Eagles, Fogelberg-you get the idea.


Ah, cool. I've spent most of my time in Bluegrass but I've messed with some of the old rock and such. If I ever get back into it I'll probably trend more toward acoustic rock/contemporary folk. I had a friend (in his late 40's, maybe 50) the winter of 2010/11 when I lived in St. Louis that had an occasional gig at a neat little pizza place/bar playing oldies and rock, and whenever I'd show up to listen he'd insist I get up and play/sing PPL's "Amie" with them. I also touch on Eagles, Seger, Fogelberg, John Denver, etc. a lot when I piddle around.

If you aren't concerned about every penny of cost and it's on your bucket list, absolutely go for a Martin. IMHO to say "Martin is the best" is too much a blanket statement as I've played some pretty mediocre ones, but some of the best are Martins. I still suggest playing many, and find the one that jumps out at you.

Most of the studio recordings of my D35 lack the quality (and were all in my first 6 years of playing) to do it justice, but if you can overlook the lack of quality of the house sound, etc., my leads from :24 to 3:00 in this give some idea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlCZhOCK-EY

Browse the related videos at your own risk. laugh


Edited by Alex_V (02/04/18 12:14 PM)
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'82 Mercedes 300CD, OM617 turbo, 167K
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#4656035 - 02/04/18 02:59 PM Re: Thinking about a Martin guitar... [Re: Indydriver]
Indydriver Offline


Registered: 03/20/11
Posts: 2153
Loc: Indiana
Thanks to all for the serious input. I really want a Martin or Iíll keep playing the Yamaha. When I see someone like David Crosby say theyíre the best in the world, I believe it. Iím a bit surprised by the comments that say some are good and some arenít. Iím not sure Iím experienced enough to tell the difference. How could any Martin sound bad after using an FG200 for 45 years?

I get the whole ďbuy used and save moneyĒ deal. But this isnít about saving money. This is about fulfilling a dream that will last the rest of my life. I really like the ďreimaginedĒ standards Martin is building in 2018 and like cars, I like the idea of being the one and only to experience this piece of equipment. If the cost of that experience is $3k, fine.


Edited by Indydriver (02/04/18 03:04 PM)
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#4656500 - 02/05/18 12:00 AM Re: Thinking about a Martin guitar... [Re: Indydriver]
sleddriver Offline


Registered: 02/06/10
Posts: 4607
Loc: Central Texas
I bought a new HD-35 back in '85 or '86 (I think) to replace my beginner Alvarez. I use light gauge phosphor-bronze strings due to the scalloped bracing. Used to play it and my old Guild 12-string quite a bit. Then life increasingly interveened and I got out of the habit and lost all of my calluses.

I'd keep it up if I had someone to play with. Used to play often in church. I do enjoy playing when I do however it seems actually doing so is harder. Odd that. Aging brain?

Recently sold both my banjo & piano but kept the guitars.

I remember decades ago playing some blonde-body with a long neck that just sung. Great sweat spot, neck fit my hand well, curvy body I remember. Should have bought that one! Wow......
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#4656555 - 02/05/18 05:03 AM Re: Thinking about a Martin guitar... [Re: Indydriver]
Indydriver Offline


Registered: 03/20/11
Posts: 2153
Loc: Indiana
Sleddriver: thanks for the comments. Good move keeping the guitars. One day youíll have time and the itch will come back. Get that D35 out of its case and put it on a stand in the room where you sit to watch TV. Pick it up for 10 min/day. Youíll get those calluses back in no time.
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