#1
Hello all, so the day where I can buy a new acoustic is fast approaching and I'd like some advice.

I've played both the Martin D-16RGT and Gibson J-35 and absolutely love both, I think I'd be happy with either, but in the store I don't really get to use them in the context I'd be using the guitars.

I'm wanting an electro-acoustic for a folk/rock/pop type band (heavy influence from Neutral Milk Hotel and Fleet Foxes) and I'm wondering which guitar would excel in both solo performance (just accompanying myself with the guitar while I sing) and within a band.

My band has drums, another guitar, bass, a piano and things like violin and accordion. Which do you think would cut through better?

The D-16 doesn't come with electronics so I'd have to have some installed obviously, and the J-35 comes with them pre-installed, which makes the Gibson a more convenient choice.

I'd just like some opinions on which one would be more suitable for me because I can't make up my mind at all.
#2
Most of the Gibson jumbos are at home in any genre requiring an acoustic.

I wouldn't buy a guitar that needs you to install electronics. The factory is way, way, better at it. That leaves the Martin out. (At least IMHO).

I would suggest you also look at Takamine and Taylor. Especially in light of the fact you're obviously interested in live performance capability. The Taylors are showing up on stage more and more, while the Taks have been there for years and years. (Even country boy Garth Brooks, campaigns with a Takamine).

I think that Gibson guitars are over priced in general.

If you want a big body, take a look at any of Taylor's "GS" (Grand Symphony), models. Takamine has a couple of jumbo models as well.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Apr 6, 2014,
#3
I've never been a big fan of Taylor guitars, I can't really put the right words to it but I find their sound a little too 'refined' or HD for my tastes. Will look into the Takamines though.

Also, I've seen people using the L.R M1 (just a magnetic pickup) on Martins that seem to sound pretty good and don't seem like they'd be too much trouble to install.

Listening to comparisons, the Martin is more well balanced all across the strings while the Gibson sounds deeper. I'd definitely like the deeper sound for when I play solo but would that low end get lost in the mix of a bigger band?
Last edited by ccannon1 at Apr 7, 2014,
#4
Quote by ccannon1
....[ ].....Listening to comparisons, the Martin is more well balanced all across the strings while the Gibson sounds deeper. I'd definitely like the deeper sound for when I play solo but would that low end get lost in the mix of a bigger band?
Well, you can invade the bass player's "space" with a jumbo, considering he's only one octave down to begin with. You'd probably have to boost the bottom of the guitar up for it to be real noticeable. That said, you'd need a sound hole plug to avoid feedback anyway.

I'm not trying to talk Taylor up, but that seems to be their big draw, having enough high end punch to cut through the mix.

You still have to EQ based on situation, which is where you dump the whole thing in the sound guy's lap, and hope you're both on the same wavelength.

Listen to some rhythm guitars. A fair portion of the time they're mixed fairly far back in a mix, and the high end is somewhat muted.

Pete Townshend plays a J-200, which is a strong recommendation to me. Still, he's usually a "rhythm lead player", so a broad spectrum sound works for that purpose.

I know the newer magnetic pickups are decent, but I would still prefer the EQ, tuner, and volume control right smack on the top, (or the front of the upper bout), where it's easy to get to in an "emergency". Plus, I think in some of the high end stuff you're looking at, the factory may be installing multi-point pickup systems.

I was at the Martin website, where they had a demo of the Rolling Stones playing Martin guitars. Oh baby baby, there was so much signal processing involved I was completely turned off by it. The sound was indeed awesome, but face it, no acoustic sounds like that unplugged. So, to me it became a question of whether they were demoing their guitars, or flaunting the talent of their sound engineers.

All in all, in spite of the size, I think a jumbo is a better choice than a dread. They're actually a bit easier to handle sitting, and the bass, while present in abundance, is a fair amount better defined, or controlled, if you prefer.

That's all I got, happy shopping.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Apr 7, 2014,
#5
Quote by Captaincranky


I wouldn't buy a guitar that needs you to install electronics. The factory is way, way, better at it. (At least IMHO).


I think that depends on circumstances. For anyone just wanting an acoustic guitar that they can make louder, I think it is mostly true.

However, their are many acoustic aficionados who a) do not want obvious pickup installations in their guitars or b) think that there are better systems available than those that come fitted as standard. I come in that class. I have two Matons that I used for gigging because they have good factory-installed pickup/preamp systems, and many are sold on this basis. - But many also regard their acoustic sound as ordinary. OTOH, I have several acoustics (flattops, kona, resos) in which I would not put invasive, irreversible pickup systems under any circumstances. Apart from aesthetic considerations, I like these guitars a lot, and a better pickup/ preamp system might come along than the one I already have. I also like magnetic pickups, and not many acoustics come fitted with these.

Another consideration is that some of these factory systems seem to be pretty ordinary. For example that are a lot of adverse comments on one of the other fora about the Taylor ES system, and I suspect that there of other UST systems that aren't as good as the modern SBTs, such as a K&K with a Red Eye external preamp.

ccanon1, I would likely go with the Gibson as the easy option, and it will likely also suit your interests. - But have a look at Matons if you get the chance.
Last edited by Tony Done at Apr 9, 2014,
#6
Quote by Tony Done
ccanon1, I would likely go with the Gibson as the easy option, and it will likely also suit your interests. - But have a look at Matons if you get the chance.


My only qualms with Gibson are the price and the electronics that come with it, I'm not a fan of the sound of undersaddle pickups.

I've been doing a lot of searching and actually found that I like the Martin 000-15M a lot more than the Dreadnought and a few of my favourite artists either use them or similar guitars. I'm going to be ordering one next week.

Leaving me to find a decent soundhole pickup (I don't want to make permanent modifications). I'm leaning towards the L.R Baggs M1 but I'm open to suggestions.
#7
i have a 000-15M. it's a nice guitar. i also have a taylor 324. spec-wise, they're pretty similar.
the 324 is a lot more balanced in tone. the '15 does better with 12-bar blues type stuff but hands down, for strumming and fingerstyle, the 324 kills it.
i love the '15 for a lot of things but overall, if i were to choose only one, the 324 would stay at home with me. if you dont like the "refined" sounds of taylor...you haven't tried a 'Hog taylor yet. i like the 324 so much, i'm workin' on getting a 526ce so i can get even more bass response and clarity at the same time.
need more gear and a lot more talent(courtesytuxs)
#8
Quote by ccannon1
My only qualms with Gibson are the price and the electronics that come with it, I'm not a fan of the sound of undersaddle pickups.

I've been doing a lot of searching and actually found that I like the Martin 000-15M a lot more than the Dreadnought and a few of my favourite artists either use them or similar guitars. I'm going to be ordering one next week.

Leaving me to find a decent soundhole pickup (I don't want to make permanent modifications). I'm leaning towards the L.R Baggs M1 but I'm open to suggestions.


I'm happy with the Baggs M1 active on my old Gibson, but I have put a little switch on it that gives two levels of treble cut. You could treble cut on the amp, but I preferred it on the guitar when I was gigging. I also make my own soundhole pickups, as I like that magnetic sound.
#9
Another quick question for you guys. Is Martin generally pretty consistent? Like I can be confident in ordering one without playing it beforehand?

Here there seems to be a shortage of the 000-15M, as our biggest chain of music stores (Long-Mcquade) is completely sold out nation wide and there are already a few that are spoken for on their way from the factory. So would it make sense to go ahead and place my order having never played one before and hoping it feels similar to other Martin 000s?
#10
if you order one from L & M, you should be able to refuse it when it comes in of it isn't acceptable to you. the 000-15M is a great guitar. it gives you that nice muddy sound with great bass response that you'd expect from martin. the only drawback i have with mine is that i strum harder than average and it breaks down a lot easier under aggressive strumming. it's a simple learning curve, i can wail on the 324 but i have to be a bit more gentle on the 000-15M.
need more gear and a lot more talent(courtesytuxs)
#11
Quote by ccannon1
Another quick question for you guys. Is Martin generally pretty consistent? Like I can be confident in ordering one without playing it beforehand?

Here there seems to be a shortage of the 000-15M, as our biggest chain of music stores (Long-Mcquade) is completely sold out nation wide and there are already a few that are spoken for on their way from the factory. So would it make sense to go ahead and place my order having never played one before and hoping it feels similar to other Martin 000s?


My experience is that Martins are not consistent in either tone or neck angle. It is one make I would not buy by mail order, unless I had a no-loss return option and didn't mind the hassle.
#12
Update: Went into the store and played every guitar in my range and ended up leaving with a Gibson J-35 in my hands!