#1
Hey guys, I'm looking around for a new acoustic to buy between £400 and £600.

I've read the "How to buy an acoustic" thread, and it's told me to stay far away from the Martin X series, so I went into my local guitar shop this morning to have a go on some.

I'd tried the Martin DX1 a bit before I knew anything about them and remembered they had a lovely tone, but everyone has said the HPL makes it not worth buying. I went in and had a chat to one of the guys in there, who was quite surprised I was told to not get a Martin. Nevertheless, he handed me the DX1RAE, along-side a 000X1, a Guild GAD40CE, a Takamine TN10 and a Faith Saturn Hi Gloss Series.

Between the Martins (which I tried first), I preferred the deeper tone of the DX1. I was very unimpressed with all the others that followed; their tone lacked that overall tonal quality the DX1 had, especially since I tried hard to like the others over the Martin. They all lacked the oomph and richness, while the DX1 sounded astonishingly beautiful to my ears. I don't know if it's because my ears are untrained to the sound of a good acoustic, but the Martin definitely was top dog today.

My real question here is, if I love the sound of the Martin, surely I should get it? What is it about the HPL that makes it a worse guitar? I like the simple aesthetics, and I'm not really bothered by the fact that hardly any of it is real wood.

Cheers for your help in advance.
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#2
They do sound different, try playing a non x series series martin. They are only a couple 100 dearer which in the big picture isn't much. Might seem harsh what I'm saying but I did the exact same thing, had the intention of buying an x series, but I played both and wasn't attracted to the x series at all. The fretboard felt very different, the sound wasn't so good - I just didn't think it was what the other martins were.

Having said that, I do believe personal opinion is more important than forum reviews so if the guitar has a good sound to you and you like the playability etc, by all means get one.

Best of luck with your choices, do try and play more guitars if possible
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#3
There are no "cheap martins." Even if it's a poorly constructed guitar make from plastic and sawdust it is still expensive.

The X series of martin guitars are pretty rubbish. Some people like the way they sound and that's fine because tone is subjective. The problems with the X series are that they are built from cheap materials that can be difficult to maintain, if there is a problem with the guitar, it's likely that you won't be able to fix it like you could with a better guitar.
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#4
Let me put it this way, because I'm pressed for time.

If I was stranded on a desert island with Hitler, Mussolini, Carrot Top, and the engineer who designed the Martin X Series, and I had a gun with only one bullet in it, I would shoot the engineer in the goddamn face, then both myself, Hitler, Mussolini, and Carrot Top would smash his remains into the sand until he was a pulpy mess. Then, Hitler, Mussolini, and I would beat Carrot Top to death and eat his remains. Hitler would call for one of his badass zepplins, and we'd leave Mussolini there as a prank. Then we'd sail off together for beer and Germany.

I guess what I'm getting at is "f*ck the Martin X Series."
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#5
Okay, well does anyone have any suggestions for another guitar with similar tonal qualities to the Martin, but below £600? I did originally want to spend £400, but the Martin just sounded so good.
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#6
are they "that" bad? no. if you like the tone, you may want to buy one. they're one of the two guitar brands in that price range with more bass than the rest. the other brand is blueridge, and that bass is one of the main reasons i recommend them a lot - i'm not a fan of bright guitars. blueridge guitars are built to be "martin clones", and are mostly copies of martins from various eras. mine is a copy of a 1906 martin 0. you can get an all solid blueridge with a real wood neck for the price of some of the martin HPL models with stratabond necks.

http://www.maurysmusic.com/blueridge_solid_body_guitars?cmx=52957&start=0

the blueridge guitars won't sound just like the martin x series. one of the reasons is that due to the HPL, the x series has less overtones than most solid top guitars i've heard, but on the other hand, if you like plenty of bass response, there aren't many brands that deliver. blueridge does, and they sound quite good.

the catch? i'm not sure how available they are where you are.

failing being able to find blueridge - i've seen them a couple online stores in the UK but can't remember where - get a seagull original s6 or seagull s6 slim. good quality, nice tone, more bass than yamaha - which makes some good guitars in your price range.

seagull s6 with wider neck suitable for finger picking
http://www.thomann.de/gb/seagull_s6_the_original.htm

seagull s6 with slender neck
http://www.thomann.de/gb/seagull_s6_the_original_slim_neck.htm

you might also find guilds have a couple contenders, and they're very nice guitars and all solid wood with gorgeous finishes, btw.

http://www.thomann.de/gb/guild_gad_25.htm
i was quite impressed by this one when i first tried one.

http://www.thomann.de/gb/guild_gad50nt.htm

couple more things i've been told about HPL. i've heard it's more vulnerable to cracking from dryness than real laminate guitars, and i've heard from several people including a couple luthiers that if you happen to damage the back or sites of an HPL guitar, it will be either impossible or very difficult and more expensive to fix than regular laminate guitars. and that makes sense since they're particle board, so there won't be clean edges to work with.
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Last edited by patticake at Apr 15, 2011,
#7
Quote by Jonn0
Okay, well does anyone have any suggestions for another guitar with similar tonal qualities to the Martin, but below £600? I did originally want to spend £400, but the Martin just sounded so good.



Get something used.

Faith and LAG both set guitars with a sound that is more "martin" than the martin X series and they sell new for 600 to 800 so they are pretty easy to find used for around 400 to 500 quid. From time to time I see used 15 series martins for under 600 used and the 15 series martin is a great guitar. The nice tangle wood and Hohner guitars, not to be mistaken for the cheap ones, also show up used for under 600 quid.

The main things to keep in mind are materials use and sound. Forget about who made the instrument. If it's solid wood construction then it's sound is going to get better with time AND if it breaks it should be fixable. Laminates are not as easy to fix and generally don't sound as good but they hole up to a bit more abuse before breaking. HPL isn't good for much of anything.

So find a guitar you think sounds great and then find out what it's made from. Because laminate guitars cost a lot less to make you don't want to pay as much for you. If the guitar you love is a laminated guitar that costs less than 200 quid then go ahead and get it. If it's laminated and it's more than 200 quid then I'd suggest you pass on it. In my oppinion a guitar that costs more than 200 should have, at the very least, a solid spruce or cedar top and if it were my money I'd insist on a solid back too.

approching it this way will get you an instument that you like at a resonable price.
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