#1
hey UG world. Yesterday I got a chance to hit up my local guitar center and play a few high-end acoustics from Taylor,Martin,Gibson and Guild. I was there for over an hr just playing some open chords and a few scale runs. After all of this, I am a true believer that the Martin D28 truly is the best sounding and feeling guitar I've ever played. The other ones were good too, don't get me wrong but the Martin D28 really was in a class all by itself. Before yesterday, I was one of those guys who thought "You're paying for the name" or "How good can it really be? and my personal favorite " No way I would ever pay that much $$$ a guitar!!" Let me tell you, after playing it that damn guitar, I couldn't stop thinking all day of how perfect that guitar was. Was it expensive? YES!!!it was $3500. Would I buy it if I had the $$$? HELL YES!! The point is that you really have to play one to become a believer essentially. They're are tons of other less expensive guitars that sounds amazing too. I have an Alvarez AD60 that cost about $400 that is my pride and joy but after playing that D28 I can see and hear where the differences are. So for anyone who thinks that your only paying for the name Martin, I urge you to play one, especially the D28 and D18. You might just be convinced just like I was.
#2
Quote by strat-O-matic92
. . . . . . . . So for anyone who thinks that your only paying for the name Martin, I urge you to play one, especially the D28 and D18. You might just be convinced just like I was.


I've played both those - and a few other models too - and I'm not convinced at all. But each to his own, eh?
#3
I am a pretty big fan of the D-28. Not sure I will ever own one though. I gig every dog and pony show in greater LA and rarely bring my personal treasure guitars. If one was damaged or stolen it would cut me deeply so $500 guitars are my stock in trade.

I am also a fan of the Porsche 997 GT3 RS. I have spent some quality time behind the wheel and it is nearly perfect. Sadly I don't have a spare $150k lying around to buy one though. Even if I did "find" the cash I probably would not own one. We all have priorities.
"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
#4
I totally agree with you Cajundaddy. I love my Alvarez AD60 as well and it is my workhorse and probably always will be.I would definitely love to own a D28 but due to priorities that seems very unlikely which im ok with. It was a great experience that I truly wasn't expecting thats all. I think the most I "would" ever spend would be in the $1500 range, assuming my wife doesn't choke me out. Also,Im a huge Porsche fan as well, especially the 911 turbo or GT3. True automotive excellence. Anyways, I really appreciate your insight and hope to hear more from you in the future.Take care
#5
I don't think that price and tone are closely related at all in factory guitars, but you have to be able to discriminate between what you like and what you don't at any price point. I like expensive acoustics, and I'm happy to admit it is about mojo, not tone. - I can get tone without paying for mojo, no problem.

I've ownedfor Martins, and sold them all afer a fairly short period for one reason or another, so I'm not very starry-eyed about them. There is a lot of variation between individual Martin guitars, but of the ones I've tried I have almost always preferred the plain braced ones like the D-28, 000-18 and D-18 over the scalloped braced ones like the HD-28. However, at least the D-18 has now gone to scalloped braces.
#6
I can agree with you wholeheartedly OP.

Just recently spent a few hours playing a bunch of acoustics and it was only until I played a D-35 that I really saw reason for the price.

I've played a crap ton of Gibson acoustics (hummingbirds, j-45's, etc) because I prefer the looks of them and they've all disappointingly felt like plastic toys. They all sound pretty lifeless too. Just my opinion.

When I played the D-35 it was the easiest playing acoustic I've ever run across. When I hit it hard it had a lot of bite and snap. Thundering chords. The only problem with it was that after the 12th fret the notes would choke out but I think a setup would fix that.
Guitars:
Fender Highway One Stratocaster
Gretsch G5120
1973 Japanese Les Paul

Amp:
Vox AC30C2

Effects:
MJM Brit Bender MKII tonebender clone
Boss Blues-Driver
Fulltone Clyde Standard Wah
EHX Holy Grail Reverb
Catalinbread Echorec
#7
Quote by RGallagherFan
...[ ]....When I played the D-35 it was the easiest playing acoustic I've ever run across. When I hit it hard it had a lot of bite and snap. Thundering chords. The only problem with it was that after the 12th fret the notes would choke out but I think a setup would fix that.
Perhaps I'm a really dense and/or tone deaf individual, but for the life of me, I have no idea what all the fuss is about Martins is.

The D-28 is pretty much the guitar that powered the hip generation. My friend bought one, (about $600.00 w/case), the action was 1/4" high, and it sounded like crap with the short lived string sets of the day. Such was my introduction to Martin, and I've never felt it necessary to revisit them.

I do admit that I was into my Les Paul knock off of the time, which made the transition to the Martin's clumsy, flat fret board, and high action, all the more of a shock to my system.

Eventually, (probably from poor care), the entire brace lattice separated from the top. I repaired the guitar, but by the time I got the action to a reasonable, fast, easy playing height, the saddle was almost flush with the bridge..

I think I even put extra light strings on it. In essence, I had to, "Zagerize" it...
Last edited by Captaincranky at May 4, 2015,
#8
Quote by Captaincranky
Perhaps I'm a really dense and/or tone deaf individual, but for the life of me, I have no idea what all the fuss is about Martins is.



Mojo. Don't you think that there something special about a maker still producing a high quality, reasonably competitive product after 180-odd years?
#9
I had a D-18 back in the late 70s. It was very nice and perfect for what I was doing at the time...Bluegrass flatpicking primarily.
I've played a couple of D-28s and they were very nice as well.

However, as I drifted into playing other styles the Martin was less useful. I started to fool around with chord-melody jazz and....Well, let's just say not many jazz guys play Martin Dreads. (Though more than a few fingerstyle guys do play the smaller Martins...The OMs and 000s)

It's not only a matter of taste, it's a matter of convention and what's popular. If you go to a big bluegrass festival you will see a LOT of Martins. They are fine instruments and likely the likely the "standard" for Dreadnaughts.

But they are not the end-all for acoustic guitars.
#10
I agree Bikewer that they aren't the end-all for acoustics. I have an Artist Series Alvarez AD60 that i cherish that was only $400 and about to get a Seagull S6 as well. It is a matter of taste but the quality and craftsmanship is amazing. I also really enjoy Larrivee acoustics as well. Thanks for your take on things, I appreciate it.
#11
Quote by Tony Done
Mojo. Don't you think that there something special about a maker still producing a high quality, reasonably competitive product after 180-odd years?
"Competitive"with who? If you don't mind me asking. Possibly every other way overpriced American guitar brand?

Really, it's almost mandatory that you be able get something right after "180 odd years", of trying, isn't it?

Yuengling Brewers have been around for about 186 years, but I'm neither a beer drinker, or a wannabe Martin owner... , sorry

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuengling
#12
I have a D16Gt which is a much cheaper model ( about $1500). It's an amazing guitar and I can't imagine anything better in that price range. The neck alone is worth the price - amazing play-ability.
#13
Quote by Captaincranky
"Competitive"with who? If you don't mind me asking. Possibly every other way overpriced American guitar brand?

Really, it's almost mandatory that you be able get something right after "180 odd years", of trying, isn't it?

Yuengling Brewers have been around for about 186 years, but I'm neither a beer drinker, or a wannabe Martin owner... , sorry

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuengling


I just checked some Martin serial numbers as an estimate of production. There has been a 10-fold increase since 1990, and a 30-fold increase since the late-30s. Somebody must think they are still worth buying - like Swiss watches. Like I said, mojo, status, whatever.

EDIT That's not old beer, this is old beer:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einbecker_Brewery

And terrific stuff it is too. Deceptive, to be drunk with caution, not like that Bavarian stuff.
Last edited by Tony Done at May 5, 2015,
#14
a good Martin is tough to beat. i'm not much of an acoustic playr but i really would love to have a good Martin. someone mentioned a less than stellar $600 one and for that price i'm not that shocked as by Martin standards that's a cheapie. i played a 1948 Martin (not sure of model but i think maybe a D-28) a few yers back and it was to this day the best guitar i've ever touched.
#15
Quote by Tony Done
I just checked some Martin serial numbers as an estimate of production. There has been a 10-fold increase since 1990, and a 30-fold increase since the late-30s. Somebody must think they are still worth buying - like Swiss watches. Like I said, mojo, status, whatever.
That could also be a commentary on how susceptible mediocre guitar players are to propaganda. OR, a testimonial to how poorly the average guitar player has thought through the ramifications of high rate compound interest. I think if you track the increased dollar value in Martin sales, it would track proportionally with the increase in our national debt.

Besides, I thought you said the Martins you've had, got worse with age? Assuming that downward spiral in sound quality were to continue, the 30's Martin which was just sold for fifty grand, by now ought to sound about like an Ibanez "Talman", without the pickup.

Quote by Tony Done
EDIT That's not old beer, this is old beer:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einbecker_Brewery

And terrific stuff it is too. Deceptive, to be drunk with caution, not like that Bavarian stuff.
Oh, that must be the stuff they sing about in, "John Barleycorn Must Die"...
Last edited by Captaincranky at May 5, 2015,
#16
Quote by Captaincranky
That could also be a commentary on how susceptible mediocre guitar players are to propaganda. OR, a testimonial to how poorly the average guitar player has thought through the ramifications of high rate compound interest. I think if you track the increased dollar value in Martin sales, it would track proportionally with the increase in our national debt.

Besides, I thought you said the Martins you've had, got worse with age? Assuming that downward spiral in sound quality were to continue, the 30's Martin which was just sold for fifty grand, by now ought to sound about like an Ibanez "Talman", without the pickup.

Oh, that must be the stuff they sing about in, "John Barleycorn Must Die"...


I'm not a Martin fan by any means, because, as you say, my personal experience hasn't been good; I think I might be in the minority when tonal change is concerned. Anyway, $50 thousand isn't much to pay for mojo, when you put it up against $40 million for a Strad viola. But credit where it's due, CFM IV has done a great job of making it prosper after it nearly went down the gurgler in the early 80s.
#17
Quote by Tony Done
I'm not a Martin fan by any means, because, as you say, my personal experience hasn't been good; I think I might be in the minority when tonal change is concerned. Anyway, $50 thousand isn't much to pay for mojo, when you put it up against $40 million for a Strad viola.
From the Strad player himself:
Famed violinist Itzhak Perlman has played his Stradivarius for years and says he could not afford to buy one at today's prices. Some have sold for as much as $16 million. He explains why there is no better "fiddle." "If you want to play a pianissimo," he says, referring to a soft note, "that is almost inaudible and yet it carries through a hall that seats 3,000 people, there's your Strad."


If you didn't see this when it was on TV , you owe it to yourself to watch this, "City of Violins: (The Cremona story begins @ 29:25 ).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1ur33cJOBA

While you're at it, check out Anastasiya Petryshak! While the Italians were busy perfecting the violin, The Ukraine was in the home stretch of 40,000 years toward perfecting the blue eyed blonde!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQHPgt0cy9A

You know, just looking at her gives me goosebumps,. Then she starts with the violin and finishes me off with a good dose of curdled blood. By the time the video is over, you just want to light up a cigarette...
Last edited by Captaincranky at May 7, 2015,
#18
^^^^ Interesting doco. It mentions the the $40 million viola. It's impossible for us to tell how good these old violins really are, but I bet they encourage the player to try harder. There was an interesting story on Oz TV about the 2nd violin in the Australian Chamber Orchestra. She was only a young lass who wasn't paid much and lived in a cheap bedsit, but her violin, on loan, (I assume from the orchestra, and bought with an arts grant) was a bitsa Strad valued at about $2 million. It literally ruled her life. I think that is one of the things that mojo does. The other side of the coin is that many seem to think that having fancy gear automatically makes, or will make, them a better player. You've never heard me say that I think expensive stuff is better functionally than cheap stuff, within reasonable limits, but I see nothing wrong in buying mojo, if that is your thing. I've deliberately gone the other way with electrics, I buy cheap stuff and fix it up. That has it's own kind of mojo.

That part of the world produces a lot of good looking ladies eh? - Ana Popovic, Serbian, but close enough.

EDIT. A bit OT. Of all the musicians know to history, the one I would most like to have heard is Paganini, the violinist. He was reputed to be so good that some thought he was descended from the devil. I suspect that none of the big hair/spandex guitar shredders could have held a candle to him.
Last edited by Tony Done at May 6, 2015,
#19
Quote by Tony Done
...[ ]....I think that is one of the things that mojo does. The other side of the coin is that many seem to think that having fancy gear automatically makes, or will make, them a better player.
Well, as a tradesman, as musician virtually has to show with heavy brand recognition gear. The same with a photographer looking for a freelance assignment. Show up with Nikon, Canon, or possibly Leica, (in 35mm stuff), or expect to go home empty handed. You are judged by the tools of your trade.
Quote by Tony Done
You've never heard me say that I think expensive stuff is better functionally than cheap stuff, within reasonable limits, but I see nothing wrong in buying mojo, if that is your thing. I've deliberately gone the other way with electrics, I buy cheap stuff and fix it up. That has it's own kind of mojo.
No, I never have. And in my travels at AGF, I come to realize what a courtesy and blessing that is. . Mojo is great if handled properly. As long as you turn it inward to work its magic, and not project it outwardly, inflicting it on everybody else around you, it can be a healthy and productive entity.

Quote by Tony Done
That part of the world produces a lot of good looking ladies eh? - Ana Popovic, Serbian, but close enough.
Dear God, Ms. Petryshak is something special. I'd be willing to bet she could hang out with Taylor Swift and her besties, the Victoria Secret models, and still get noticed. Where I live, the women barely have enough great ape DNA in their genes to be born without tails.

Not to mention I'll bet she knows a whole lot more chords than Swift, and never uses a capo...

Quote by Tony Done
EDIT. A bit OT. Of all the musicians know to history, the one I would most like to have heard is Paganini, the violinist. He was reputed to be so good that some thought he was descended from the devil. I suspect that none of the big hair/spandex guitar shredders could have held a candle to him.
So maybe Paganini was the inspiration for, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia"?

At any rate, as soon as you mention spandex and big hair, "Kiss" pops into my mind. (And they're not welcome there, trust me). All I hear is noise, accompanied by more noise. Anyway, I caused great controversy by purchasing Kiss', "I Was Made for Loving You". It's their sellout to disco, and I actually like the song. The remainder of their music...., oy vay. :crankyholdsnose:
Last edited by Captaincranky at May 7, 2015,
#20
I think it's important to compare guitars within a reasonable set of cost or design parameters, otherwise the conversation becomes too subjective. Comparing 10 guitars between $500-$1000 will definitely result in some great finds, particularly if you're only willing or able to spend that amount.

Now, if you're in the market for a D-28 or a true D-28 repro (like a Santa Cruz D/PW or Collings D2H), you're gonna have to pay upwards of $3K, but there are some very good reasons to spend that kind of money if you have it. Which isn't to say the Martin is the best instrument within that category. I've played Martins, Santa Cruz, and Collings, and from the handful of instruments I compared that day, I prefer the Collings.

Alternately, you could limit your search to 10-20 dreadnaught body types or high X braced instruments. If the goal is to find the best guitar for you, given your style of playing, your budget, and your recreational/professional goals, it'll become obvious which guitar suits you within that category.
#21
since i tend not to like bright guitars, i do like some martins quite a bit, but like 'em or not, the martins i've played were well-made, nicely finished and usually martin stands behind their guitars, which is a definite plus.'

there are martins i consider exceptional guitars for my tastes - although i tend to play smaller guitars. the 00-18 tim o'brien, among others, is worth every penny of $3200 to my ears, although i believe it was a limited edition and no longer made. the jeff muldaur and the 000-18 ecm are also both high on my "most bitchen guitars of all time" list. i'm not a dread player, and after comparing the other dreads with the HD-28, they seemed muddy by comparison, but that's just my own preference. my husband's favorite martin is also a limited edition - the martin ditson 12-fret dread from two or three years ago.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#22
^^Agreed. I'm not much of an acoustic player (mainly because I'm always buying electric guitar gear and can never save up enough for a proper acoustic), but I have yet to play an acoustic that compares to most Martins I've played.

As he said above -- I prefer a darker sounding acoustic, and Martins tend to have that. I live 4 miles away from the Gibson acoustic factory, and have had access to playing many $3k + Gibsons over the years. None of them have had a tone I liked better than your run-of-the-mill $700 Martin. Someday I'm going to buy a Martin...
Atmospheric dark metal w/ black and death metal influences:
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#23
Well put. I could never afford a Martin D28 but that's not going to stop me from getting the best guitar for me within my price range. I really love Alvarez and Seagull guitars because they fit what I look for in my price range. The beauty of guitars and music in general is that its all subjective to your personal preferance.
#24
$3,500 for an iconic guitar of great sound with a lifetime warranty? Yeah. It's beyond a guitar at that point and almost a family heirloom. People get pretty misty-eyed about their D28's. I think they're fantastic guitars.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#25
D18 and D28 are pretty much flagship models for the entire acoustic world, and have a ton of history.

If you like the way they play and sound, they're absolutely worth it.
My God, it's full of stars!
#27
I think at the end of the day, it comes down to you and how much you value the thing. If one can't tell why a given guitar is so expensive, then it is not worth it for them to buy it.

It's like for me, I could spend a whole lot of money on the best, most cutting edge golf club on the market. It could be the best one. It could be twice the price of a middle of the pack sort of club, and still worth it to someone that plays competitively. They will know the difference. They will feel if it is more stiff or less stiff than another club. They will notice a little bit of extra distance they might get, or how they can have more control over shaping their shot.

Will I notice that? No. Just give me a run of the mill club, and I'm good with that.

All tools and stuff like that, are priced so that the cheapest really suck, then there is a quick quality curve that jumps up to mid-range. So you get a lot more quality at first not not so much extra cost. Then, as you go higher up the quality range you pay more and more, for just a little bit better, and experienced people will recognize those differences, and up in the higher end, you get into professionals, that make a living from it, so extra cost for extra performance makes more sense. Getting the best tools, is sort of part of your profession.

But with guitar, there is another level, and that is just plain subjective quality. Back in the roman days, Purple dye was real expensive, because you could only get it from some specific oysters or clams, or something like that. Was purple a "better" color? No. But if you wanted purple cloth, you had to pay a lot for it. And sure, people obviously wore purple simply for the fact that it was expensive and they could show off to other people.

Guitar can be like that also. If some wood is rare and expensive, than the guitar will be expensive. Or if some manufacture technique is expensive, then the guitar will be expensive. But that doesn't mean it is "better". It just means it is different, and if that's the sort of thing you want, you have to pay for it.

It's like that with mics as well. You can pay 6000$ for a microphone, but when you go to mic your amp, or drums, you'll probably want to use an SM57, which is only like 150$. The 6000$ microphone can perform at levels other microphones simply can't, and can get a sound quality for recording some things that other microphones can't. But that doesn't mean it is better.

You wouldn't want to bring the latest ferrari roadster to haul lumber.

So, it's a personally thing. Be honest with yourself when buying a guitar, forget hype, and what other people say, and buy a guitar based on your own actual perception. It makes no sense to buy something on someone else's advice, really, unless it is a resale value thing, or durability thing. Just get one you like, and as you get better, you will discriminate more and more, and other things will become important to you, and that way, you are never really over spending.

I'd also rather show up with some guitar that is not esteemed very highly, and then tear it up with it, over showing up with some high end guitar of a brand everybody knows is so great, and then play really mediocre on it. So, it works out well for that also.

The thing I dislike most about my Taylor, is that it has Taylor written on it.
#28
I set out to replace my Martin D1 that was fine, but I wanted to see if a D28 was that much better. Went to my local music store (Foggy Mountain Music in Grass Valley, CA) and the proprietress was a master salesperson. She just put me in the Martin room, said come out when you've had enough. I tried the D28, loved it, the sound was so much more dramatic than the D1. I was going to buy it, but then I thought, let's just give the D41 a try, even though I would not pay extra for abalone inlay, etc. But wow, the sound from that guitar was so incredibly better than the D28, which was better than the D1, that I could not believe it. I could feel it in my body. I never wanted, or intended to spend that much money on a guitar, but after trying it, I had to get it. Been playing it non-stop since.

So is a Martin worth it? Sure seems like it to me.
#29
Quote by Winegrowercurt
I set out to replace my Martin D1 that was fine, but I wanted to see if a D28 was that much better. Went to my local music store (Foggy Mountain Music in Grass Valley, CA) and the proprietress was a master salesperson. She just put me in the Martin room, said come out when you've had enough. I tried the D28, loved it, the sound was so much more dramatic than the D1. I was going to buy it, but then I thought, let's just give the D41 a try, even though I would not pay extra for abalone inlay, etc. But wow, the sound from that guitar was so incredibly better than the D28, which was better than the D1, that I could not believe it. I could feel it in my body. I never wanted, or intended to spend that much money on a guitar, but after trying it, I had to get it. Been playing it non-stop since.

So is a Martin worth it? Sure seems like it to me.

So, they put you in a room where you could only compare Martins to other Martins?

How obscenely clever is that.
#30
Quote by Captaincranky
So, they put you in a room where you could only compare Martins to other Martins?

How obscenely clever is that.


LMAO.

So that's how they do it, huh?
#31
Quote by Captaincranky
So, they put you in a room where you could only compare Martins to other Martins?

How obscenely clever is that.



If I said I wanted to replace my D1 and you put me in the Seagull room, I wouldn't think very much of your business.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#32
Quote by JustRooster
If I said I wanted to replace my D1 and you put me in the Seagull room, I wouldn't think very much of your business.
I can categorically state I'm in complete awe of the sales woman, and her logistical support.

I can also categorically state that in a Martin exclusive environment, when you buy you'll be leaving with a Martin.

I would consequently categorize that as, "leading the horse to water, then pumping it down his throat".
Last edited by Captaincranky at May 28, 2015,
#34
Hi, is anyone know about price of Harper Guitar? I have one from my granddad, but because I do not play guitar well I want to sell it. There is a stamp inside with writing on it:
Harper , design in Japan, model no: HG-310 MT br
Any information will be appreciated. I have been searching for some information ,but there are no guitar like this. It looks like a hand made, very good quality and sound is awesome. It looks like it wan made in 1970s.
Thanks a lot!
#35
25 years and counting with my HD-28.
My only regret is that I wish I could have bought it sooner.

Still my favorite guitar, and still improving with age.

Worth more today than I paid for it new.

Cheers!
Jim
#36
Just get a Martin. I've always lived by the motto. "You get what you pay for". If you pay premium price you are more then likely to get a premium product. (Not always but, with instruments, cars, and electronics its normally turns out that way)
Just another Sheep in the design of the Almighty Machine.


-GEAR-
Gibson 60s Les Paul Tribute (Sunburst)
1999 Ibanez RG470 (TitaniumIce-MIJ)
Jackson RR3 (Trans-Red)
Peavey 6505+
Podx3
#37
Quote by JimMcBride
25 years and counting with my HD-28.
My only regret is that I wish I could have bought it sooner.

Still my favorite guitar, and still improving with age.

Worth more today than I paid for it new.

Cheers!
Jim
You're one of the lucky ones. Some people, (with all brands of guitars, including Martin), have had their necks reset a time or two by now.

As for being worth more than you paid for it, I started smoking in 1962, at about 34 cents a pact. With our mayors $2.00 a pack cigarette tax, they cost about $9.00 a pack today. (Mercifully, I was able to quit long ago).

Have you run your numbers against inflation? Jus' sayin'.

All kidding aside, best of luck through the next quarter century with your guitar..