#1
I've been playing a bunch of different acoustic guitars, trying to find the one I like the most. My favorite was the HD28 but it's price was a bit out of my range. The D18 was nice too. I was about to pull the trigger on a Gibson J35 when for some strange reason I went and bought a Martin HD28 on eBay "mint." First off it's not mint and second I will never buy a used guitar on eBay again. I am not an expert guitarist but I can go to the guitar store and play a handful of songs and the guitars are easy to play. I come home and try it on the HD28 and first off, it won't stay in tune. Second it takes a lot of pressure to hold the strings down, otherwise it doesn't play properly. There is some noticeable fret wear which I'm sure isn't helping. The action seems kinda high. And last it doesn't have the right sound. I hit the low E string and instead of having a mellow bass sound, I get this "metallic" sound, if that makes sense to anyone. All this after putting a set of Martin strings on that Martin recommends for it on their website.

Anyone have any suggestions? And I don't mean negative feedback, or returning it. I fully expected this because this happens whenever I buy something used. I'd either want to have a guitar shop fix it (if this is something they can fix? Anyone know what can be done besides a refret?) or sell it and get a D18 that's at the guitar shop and sounds really nice. Does anyone know why this particular HD28 would sound so much more "metallic?" Like when I hit it with a pic, you really hear that "pic" noise in it compared to the other new guitars.
#2
Have it checked over by a good tech. The worn frets and high action could mean it was owned by a 'grasser, and a good set up, perhaps including a fret level, might work wonders.

Is the metallic sound only on the open low E string or do you get it on the fretted notes as well?
#3
Are you claiming you hear a different, "metallic sound", other than the one that is quite prevalent in brand new strings?

New strings won't stay in tune either, unless you've pre-stretched them. Even with that, they'll still sag a bit for a couple of weeks in between uses.

TBH, Martins weren't all that notorious for staying in tune. At least not through the heydays of my feckless youth, the 1970's. We didn't have electronic tuners yet back then, and they do help a bunch.

If you can't sand the saddle down to get the measurements outlined by Mr. Becker in this tutorial" (about 1/10" bass side, or at most a maximum of 1/8"), it needs a neck reset and you should get out from under it, by any means possible.

http://thbecker.net/guitar_playing/guitars_and_setup/setup_page_01.html
#4
OK guys, I guess I got it in my head that the Martin HD28 had the most wonderful sound known to man and when I started playing the one I bought after I got it I guess I was let down. I went down and played the D18 and the HD28 was not worse as I had thought. But yes, these are new strings, and yes, I do seem to hear the "metallic" sound on the open E and A strings. It gets better on the first fret. And these are new strings. This is the first acoustic guitar I've ever owned. So I don't know much about what new strings will do. The guy I bought it from played "folk" music. I'm going to take this to the local authorized Martin repair center to see if he can do anything about the playability of it. Thanks for your help.
Last edited by metriccar at Dec 16, 2014,
#5
Light gauge strings and a nice setup by a skilled guitar tech should sweeten her up. Have it evaluated to see if anything is critically wrong with the guitar but a HD28 should be quite a player in skilled hands.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#6
New strings definitely sound better after a few weeks when they've been tuned up a few times. Stretching them on installation just isn't enough.
#7
I have 2 Martins (DCPA4 and D12X1) and both have necks that are temperature sensitive. The truss rod needs tweaking in late Spring and Fall to keep the action right. Have a good tech go over the setup. And get the frets leveled and crowned.
#8
I'm one of those people who just doesn't like Martin guitars. I've tried to like them - honestly, I've played lots and lots - but they do very little for me. And they are much to expensive too. Lose, lose.