I've been shopping for an upgrade to my starter guitar. I'm hoping to spend in the neighborhood of $700-$800 but could go as high as $1000. I've been playing a lot of guitars in that range. Some of my favorites are the seagull maritime sws, takamine g series dreadnaught, and the Martin DCP5AK performing artist series. I also played the Taylor 114 and 214CE, a couple of breedlove guitars, and a couple other Tak G series guitars... Of all the guitars i've tried, it seems to me that the Martin has by far the nicest sound... very deep and rich. It also sounds great plugged in and has nice electronics. The thing i'm worried about is that it has a natural wood finish top, as opposed to the gloss finish. At first I liked that about the guitar... I think the natural finish looks and feels nice.... but i'm really concerned that in 6 months i'd have it all beat up with marks and dings....

How do you feel about the natural wood tops? Am I being over concerned about it? Is it even a factor to you? Does the natural finish vs a laquered gloss finish affect the sound of a guitar? does being natural wood make it any more or less susceptable to changes in temperature and humidity?

Also any other guitars in my price range you'd say I must check out before making a decision?

Thanks for any thoughts and advice!

i take it you mean a matte or satin finish? generally a non-glossy finish has the same finish material protecting is as the glossy models, but has an ingredient added for less shine and isn't polished to a shine. it's equally cleanable and equally damage resistant, but unlike gloss tops, doesn't show slight scratches and dings. i know that's true of other brands with matte , satin or semi gloss tops, and i can't see why it wouldn't be the case with a martin.

i believe natural wood refers to a top isn't a sunburst or colored a color like black or red.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
I have seen "nautral" refer to the color as you described... but in this case... i'm referring to the guitar not having any laquered finish. It feels like natural wood.. i mean i'm sure it has SOME kind of finish but it doesn't have the protection that a gloss has... and I was told that it will get damaged much more easily because the wood is so soft, even a fingernail scratch will scratch the wood and show a mark. With my old guitar there were times when I would turn or something and bump the guitar on my vocal mic and it didn't leave a mark. With the natural wood finish, I'd have had dings showing from something like that.
Last edited by jdport at Jan 10, 2014,
yup, a matte - or satin - finish. it gets damaged perhaps a little more easily - i'm not that careful and i've had matte and seagull semi-gloss guitars that didn't have a scratch or ding.

discussion about this:


Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
Thanks for the links.... I didn't realize that a satin or matte finish was the same thing. I once heard it referred to as a natural wood finish, and I've always called it that. The guitar center listing for the DCPA5K just says "Finish Top: Hand Rubbed Finish" which doesn't tell me a lot.

So I guess, like most things, it just comes down to preference... but it sounds like my fears are mostly unfounded. I suspect This is the guitar I'll end up getting , unless I find something else with that wonderful rich sound for less money
a lot of experienced players love the performing artist series. while they don't sound like the iconic martins, they do that those rich lows that martin is well known for. you may want to try some guild GADs, and blueridge, eastman and recording king have some worth a try, but if you love the voice of the guitar you tried, i don't think you can go wrong with it.

btw, i did see that "hand rubbed finish" in the description, which is spectacularly uninformative.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!