In praise of Martin guitars...

jellyrolljellyroll Frets: 2230
...really their Standard Series.

First off, I'm no Martin fanboy (do we even have them in the UK?). My first ever guitar was a used 1990s D1 (cheap dread)  which I never really got on with (nobody should have to learn to play on a dreadnought).

And for many years, Martin's "fill every single price point" approach seemed to me to be cynical and really put me off them as a company.

However....

Last year I acquired an OM21. It is bloody fantastic. 

Last month I acquired an HD28. Again, just a great instrument.

I get that not everybody wants the Martin growly bass sound but, if you like that tone, I truly believe Martins are wonderful sounding, good value instruments. I have more expensive guitars than these (Santa Cruz, Collings & single luthier handmade) which are great - but its the Martins which I pick up. 

YMMV...

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Comments

  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9584
    Completely agree. There are many other great guitar makers around, but to me a Martin (ie some sort of Dxx, OM or 000) is pretty much exactly what an acoustic guitar should sound like.
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  • KitsuneKitsune Frets: 227
    Frankly, its a Martin or nothing for my acoustic needs. I bought my Martin OM-0001 back in 2005 for what was then the EYE WATERING sum of £525 (my rent was £50 a week!) and its a stunning instrument, frankly. Even considering the shit I've put it through.

    So good, in fact, that I've never even given a glance at another acoustic.

    Martin = quality in my book.
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  • meltedbuzzboxmeltedbuzzbox Frets: 7845
    I went to Coda for the day and I must have played 30 - 40 acoustics, maybe more. 
    Gibson, Collins, Atkins, Lowden, Taylor and some absolutely mental high end Breedlove thing that had 808 levels of bass. 

    The best guitars for me on the day were Martin and that is what I left with. 
    The Bigsby was the first successful design of what is now called a whammy bar or tremolo arm, although vibrato is the technically correct term for the musical effect it produces. In standard usage, tremolo is a rapid fluctuation of the volume of a note, while vibrato is a fluctuation in pitch. The origin of this nonstandard usage of the term by electric guitarists is attributed to Leo Fender, who also used the term “vibrato” to refer to what is really a tremolo effect.
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  • randellarandella Frets: 1871
    I'm truly biased here, having been lucky enough to learn how to play on my dad's D-35.

    That particular guitar, bought sometime around the mid-80's, is still my favourite guitar of all time.  It sounds better every time I get the chance to play it.

    I've never played an acoustic that I like more - I've played some very nice ones, mind - just not *the* one that I like more.
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  • DB1DB1 Frets: 241
    I'm not particularly an acoustic player (my 1963 Gibson LG-1 is my only one), and I've tried a few lately without getting too excited. However, a Martin 000-18 that I tried last week really floated my boat, and now I'd like one!
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  • richardhomerrichardhomer Frets: 19114
    Owned my D28 for 25 years. It’s a wonderful guitar....
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33359
    My OM-21 was the best-sounding non-dreadnought guitar I've owned or played, with the exception of a very special vintage 000-28. Sadly I just couldn't get on with the neck width and string spacing.

    I also have a 1971 D12-35 which is probably the best-sounding 12-string I've played. It does have an issue with the nut placement, which was a bit of a known issue with 70s Martins, but I've developed my own method of tuning it which makes it sound right - and anyway, I often capo it at the 2nd since I keep it tuned a tone down as it was designed to be.

    But having played dozens of Martin dreadnoughts over about 25 years, I finally found the right one... and it was a Gibson Dove! I still like a good D-18 or 28, but there's something about the maple body that really works with a big guitar.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • randellarandella Frets: 1871
    ICBM said:
    I also have a 1971 D12-35 which is probably the best-sounding 12-string I've played.
    @ICBM - even among the abundant riches of tasty guitars on this site, that stands out as one I’d have in a heartbeat. What year did you acquire that gem, just out of curiosity?
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33359
    randella said:

    @ICBM - even among the abundant riches of tasty guitars on this site, that stands out as one I’d have in a heartbeat. What year did you acquire that gem, just out of curiosity?
    1989. It's the piece of music gear I've owned the longest. (Not counting my 'ICBM' pedal which I took my name from, but which I sold about then and only much later got back.)

    Sadly I can't actually play it at the moment because of my broken elbow, but I hope to be able to at some point and it's not for sale :). I've used it on every serious recording project I've ever done.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • randellarandella Frets: 1871
    Hah, even if I was in the market, I doubt the GAS funds would run to a vintage Martin dread :)

    That 35 of my dad’s has aged so beautifully. Even just the ebony on the fingerboard - it’s so dark it almost sucks in light. I used to play it in the bathroom, perched on the edge of the bath - that way I could hear it much better. Got a sore backside like, but the tone!

    Wishing you a speedy recovery with the elbow. 
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33359
    randella said:
    Hah, even if I was in the market, I doubt the GAS funds would run to a vintage Martin dread :)
    You'd be surprised how relatively little a Martin 12-string is worth - they don't command the prices the 6s do, even compared to the 70s ones. Obviously it wouldn't be 'cheap', but it wouldn't be as much as you might think.

    Also keep a look out for a D12-20 - the mahogany equivalent. A friend of mine sold one last year, and although it did have a headstock repair it only went for a little over a grand. In some ways I actually preferred the rougher/woodier sound to my 35, which is very 'beautiful', but I couldn't justify owning two!
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • CMW335CMW335 Frets: 178
    edited October 6
    I have had a few Gibson SJ-200 models but recently switched to a 1964 D28 and it wins all over the park for me with the exception of looks. Apart from the Brazilian Rosewood (pre 70) which isn’t always highly figured the D28 is pretty plain looking but who cares when it plays and sounds so good.
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  • randellarandella Frets: 1871
    @ICBM - That's an eye-opener. I wouldn't have bet that you could get any sort of nice Martin D for less than the price of a Yankee Strat. 

    Probably best for marital relations if I stay away from the dealers' websites for now. :)
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  • MistyMisty Frets: 98
    I have a D28 and an OM28V, both from '03 and I've owned them both from nearly new. The D28 is a great classic dread, but my OM is a canon, incredibly resonant, loud and toneful. I recently had the frets levelled and a new bone nut and saddle installed by a very reputable guitar builder, after a well known guitar shop messed it up, (another story). The luthier advised me never to sell it, and I completely understand why, it was a lucky find.

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  • Has anyone thought of keeping a Martin Smith at home (£50 Amazon starter guitar) and after a few years, replace it with the real deal? :)
    “Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?' 'Supposing it didn't,' said Pooh after careful thought. Piglet was comforted by this.”
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