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#1
Hi Folks, I have been playing for 2 years now on an Epiphone AJ100 which cost £100, it has been fine and I would happily recommend one, but I have the burning desire to buy something new and better.
The typical thing has happened where I have been playing all the different guitars in the shops and loved the expensive ones, Martin D28, Taylor 4 series etc but only have about £700 / $1100 to spend.
The choice out there is massive but my gut feeling is towards the cheaper Martins and Taylors, some good advice would be welcomed.
I know Sigma are like budget martins and they do a D28 style, are they any good? Is a top Sigma as good as a cheap Martin?
I have tried the Epiphone Dove and Humingbird they only look like a Gibson but don't sound like one.
I would prefer a dreadnought but as I am still quite inexperienced would be swayed by whatever plays and sounds nicest, so Yamahas, seagulls etc are all considered.
I like to play a mixture of folk rock chording and travis picking, Neil Young, Paul Simon etc
Help please folks
#2
Neil Young & Paul Simon both play Martin

Definitely Martin
Quote by Charles Ives
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#3
If you want to spend more than 1000, I'd say Martin. If less, Taylor.
How do you make a signature? Is this a signature? Sig?.... Nature?..... Sigmund Freud?...... Nature Valley?.... Sigmund Fraud?..... Frankie Valli?.... ah, $!*@ it...
#4
I would say it depends on your tonal preferences. Both companies make nice guitars in your price range. I think the Taylors tend to have a brighter/sharper sound while the Martins have a deeper mellow sound. You may agree/disagree, but either way go with the one you think sounds the best and feels good in your hands...my 2 cents
Gear

Guitars

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Amps

-Peavey XXX 112 Super 40 EFX
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#6
Originally, Sigma was to be Martin's "bargain" brand, as is Epiphone to Gibson. Made overseas to Martin's standards.
The original run was pretty well thought-of. Friend of mine had one and it was a nice axe.

However, that's all past. The idea was abandoned by Martin and a Chinese company bought the brand... By all accounts the new run of Sigma guitars are not in the same league as the old ones.
Let your fingers and your ears be your guide. The Chinese are certainly capable of producing decent instruments.

As to the old Martin vs. Taylor thing... Both companies produce high-quality instruments in a variety of price ranges.
Taylor uses a very wide variety of materials and woods in a bewildering number of combinations...So chances are if one is not to your taste another might be.

Overall, Taylors have a reputation for a certain "brightness" that many love and some don't. Martin has long gone (at least with it's signature guitars) for a certain "darker" sound with more bass response. They are heavily favored by traditional-minded folks like bluegrass pickers.
All personal preference..... Whatever sounds good to you.
#7
Both makes are good. I prefer the way the Taylors are built, with the bolt-on neck, but tone is strictly a matter of personal preference and my vote goes to older matons for that.

having said that, I think that the Mexi Taylors - the 100 and 200 series - are outstanding value, if you like the sound.

The modern Sigmas have nothing to do with Martin. I've played a few and liked them a lot, but they are now just another importer brand and many other good ones.
#8
all valid points. here's another one: as far as i know Martin has no warranty service in Europe, Taylor does. that might be a factor.
#9
^^^^ Interesting point. At least here in Oz, the Martin warranty is the responsibility of the importer. It is supposed to be the same as the US warranty, but it didn't work for me, and it is one of the (several!) things that has put me off Martin. I'm not sure how the Taylor warranty works here, but the bolt-on neck with shim adjustment makes one major repair - a neck reset - very easy.
#10
Both are excellent brands and time must be spent with them in your hands to find "the one". There are no shortcuts IMO.

Consistent tone and build quality- Taylor hands down.

That unquantifiable organic quality that make a guitar an extension of your soul- Martin.

I have played many models from each brand and my personal favorite is a Martin D-28. I am not willing to spend $3k on a gigging guitar though so I lumber along with my trusty dusty Seagull S6+.
"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
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Jul 29, 2015,
#11
martin and taylor make some great guitars and some that aren't great. there are other brands in the lower price ranges that to my ears make guitars that sound much better. also you can get all solid guitars from those other brands for the price of a solid top martin or taylor.

have you checked out the guild GAD series? all solid guitars for the price of a lower priced martin or taylor, and they're very nice.

http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-GUI-3810110-LIST

http://www.americanmusical.com/Item--i-GUI-3810510-LIST
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#12
Quote by Cajundaddy
...[ 0....That unquantifiable organic quality that make a guitar an extension of your soul- Martin.
Was that C.F.Martin Co. dogma? (*) Which could also be quantified as, "bullshit passed down through the ages like an old wives tale".

Quote by Cajundaddy
I have played many models from each brand and my personal favorite is a Martin D-28. I am not willing to spend $3k on a gigging guitar though so I lumber along with my trusty dusty Seagull S6+.
That S-6 is more like it. The D-28's legend began in earnest during the hip era. Yes sirree, if anything was worth protesting, it required a D-28 to do it.

I'm curious as to where the, "the choice is only between Martin or Taylor". tunnel vision begins.

Quote by patticake
martin and taylor make some great guitars and some that aren't great. there are other brands in the lower price ranges that to my ears make guitars that sound much better. also you can get all solid guitars from those other brands for the price of a solid top martin or taylor.

have you checked out the guild GAD series? all solid guitars for the price of a lower priced martin or taylor, and they're very nice. ...[ ]....
And lest we forget, Epiphone "Masterbilt", Breedlove "Passport" series, and when did you give up on "Recording King", Patti? If I may be so bold as to inquire.

Quote by EntropicDiscord
Neil Young & Paul Simon both play Martin

Definitely Martin
Now if we could only get Mr. Young to stop trying to sing, and sell all his electrics


(*) If it was, I just want to be sure I got the joke.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Jul 29, 2015,
#13
Quote by patticake
. . . .martin and taylor make some great guitars and some that aren't great. there are other brands in the lower price ranges that to my ears make guitars that sound much better. also you can get all solid guitars from those other brands for the price of a solid top martin or taylor. . . . . . .


I agree 100%.

HST, I don't hold to the adage that an all-solid guitar sounds "better" than a part laminate (or even all laminate one). If the guitar sounds good to you then it's irrelevant what it's made from.
#14
Captain, i'm not sure that blueridge or recording king are readily available in the EU. it's true that epi masterbilt dreads might be closer to the martin sound, but since the OP doesn't seem to have a preference, IMO the guild GAD dreads are a little less bassy than martins so might be a more balanced option.

Garthman, i've never found an all laminate guitar that sounds as good as a better than sort of above entry level all solid model, and i've played thousands of guitars, a/b-ing them in stores and doing blind tests with friends and sales guys. the seagull S6 is probably the best sounding solid top guitar i've played as far as resonance and overall lack of boxiness go, but then it's not all lam.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#15
The Seagull S6 does indeed look nice, I will try to find my nearest store that sells them for a play. I have played an Epiphone EJ200 which sounded nice but found it's appearance to be off putting, like a carnival strong man with a curly moustache. I haven't played a masterbilt but will try to find one. Are the masterbilt significantly better than other Epis ?
#16
oh, yes - the masterbilts are definitely better, although i'd say that the EJ200 is pretty good. the masterbilts, however, are all solid, so they're resonant. but do try the guild GADs, too.

btw, i used to feel that way about the gibson j200 jumbos, but i got over it - they're beautiful to my ears, and that's important. i've bought a few guitars over the years i thought were ugly because they just sounded so good.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#17
Quote by duncanjames10
The Seagull S6 does indeed look nice, I will try to find my nearest store that sells them for a play.



+1 and a good next step. My Seagull has been gigged for 15 years now and is starting to look like Willie Nelson's Trigger. Folks are pretty complimentary on her tone so she still gets played a lot. There are definitely good choices beyond Martin/Taylor.
"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
#18
Quote by duncanjames10
The Seagull S6 does indeed look nice, I will try to find my nearest store that sells them for a play. I have played an Epiphone EJ200 which sounded nice but found it's appearance to be off putting, like a carnival strong man with a curly moustache.
Well, granted Gibson does love their Americana. The tacit joke is, the J-200, (from whose rib the EJ-200 was pulled), is the least tacky part of the American country era which spawned it!

I have 2 of the Epi EJ-200-SCE. The looks absolutely grow on you.

When you envision the artist's name in rhinestones on the guitar strap, knee high boots made from all kinds of beast and fowl, and women with hair so big it would have to be forced into a 55 gallon drum, the J-200 looks positively staid by comparison!
#19
I do sort of miss the days where you could tell it was a country musician by the fact that you had to put on your shades to look at 'em.....Lest one be blinded by the glare from the sequins....

Now, the only way you can tell is the hat.

Our favorite singer/songwriter, Tom Russell, refers to the Nashville crowd as "The hats"....

I had exactl one Martin, a D-18. It was a very nice if plain instrument, purchased around 1976/77. At the time, I was into bluegrass flatpicking and it was certainly a fine instrument for that.
However, as I started drifting into fingerstyle chord-melody stuff....It became more of a hindrance. Eventually, I sold it due to "hard times".
I currently own a Taylor, a GS Mini. This is a superb little instrument for 500 bucks. Disproportianally loud for it's sized, it sounds good fingerpicked or flatpicked and is especially nice for acoustic blues.

However...I've decided to concentrate on that jazzy stuff so I'm not planning to upgrade an acoustic presently....Considering a nicer "jazz box".
#20
Captaincranky you paint a wonderful picture, one which will spring to mind each time I see an EJ200, thanks.
I will certainly pick one up again in the music shop as I like the big sound they produce.
I am very interested to know how a cheap Martin like an X1A (£500) compares to a top Sigma like a D28(£350) My son has an X1A and whilst it is pleasant to play I don't think it sounds as good as my £100 Epi, perhaps that is because mine is a dreadnought as opposed to the smaller auditorium.
#21
Tossing in my 2 cents, and that's probably more than it's worth. I can't offer a comparison of the brands as I've only owned 1 guitar from either company. I own a low end Taylor, the BigBaby, and I'm having a blast with it. Handles like a sweetheart and has a nice tone. It's put the rest of my gits on the bench.

I'd avoid Martin if for no other reason than the name reminds me of Steve Martin's shit movie "The Pink Panther". Just kidding....I avoid Martin because of the $
#22
you avoid martin because of the $? that's funny, because martin's least expensive all solid guitar is much lower in price than taylor's. martin has guitars in just about every price range.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#23
Quote by patticake
. . . Garthman, i've never found an all laminate guitar that sounds as good as a better than sort of above entry level all solid model, and i've played thousands of guitars, a/b-ing them in stores and doing blind tests with friends and sales guys. . . . . .


Yes, I've done all that sort of stuff too, patticake, and all it taught me was that a guitar just sounds the way it sounds. And even some cheap and cheerful guitars - and I mean very cheap and cheerful - have sounded pretty good to me.

But then, I'm an old fart so I suppose my old ears may have lost some of their edge

HST, when I was a young fart back in the 60's, nobody talked about wood. People just bought guitars because they liked the way they looked, played and sounded. Wood was just not an issue - no-one knew or cared what wood was used in their guitar.
#24
Quote by Garthman
....[ ].....But then, I'm an old fart so I suppose my old ears may have lost some of their edge
Well, that's what you get for sticking your guitar right in front of the amp stack with you still attached...

Quote by Garthman
HST, when I was a young fart back in the 60's, nobody talked about wood. People just bought guitars because they liked the way they looked, played and sounded. Wood was just not an issue - no-one knew or cared what wood was used in their guitar.
Well, there were only two acoustic guitars back then anyway. Either a D-28,. or the Chinese display model in Sear's basement.
#25
Quote by Garthman

HST, when I was a young fart back in the 60's, nobody talked about wood. People just bought guitars because they liked the way they looked, played and sounded. Wood was just not an issue - no-one knew or cared what wood was used in their guitar.


Thankfully those days are over then.
My God, it's full of stars!
#26
Quote by patticake
you avoid martin because of the $? that's funny, because martin's least expensive all solid guitar is much lower in price than taylor's. martin has guitars in just about every price range.



Nuh uh!!
#27
Quote by Dreadnought
Thankfully those days are over then.


It just means the sales hype folk are wiinning.
#28
Quote by Captaincranky
Well, that's what you get for sticking your guitar right in front of the amp stack with you still attached... . . . . .


LOL - but I was always an acoustic guy.

Quote by Captaincranky
. . . Well, there were only two acoustic guitars back then anyway. Either a D-28,. or the Chinese display model in Sear's basement.


We didn't even have the D-28 here in the UK- well, not unless you were filthy rich.

I did have a nice Spanish-made classical guitar and an Italian-made Eko Ranger VI though. Did me well for many years.
Last edited by Garthman at Aug 1, 2015,
#29
Quote by Garthman
It just means the sales hype folk are wiinning.


I think that is a very strange conclusion to draw.
My God, it's full of stars!
#30
Quote by Dreadnought
I think that is a very strange conclusion to draw.


+1.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#31
I emphasise with Garthman on this. My musically-formative years were during the folk revival in the UK. Not many of us could afford big name guitars, and in fact I played assorted Japanese cheapos for 10 years before I became an aficionado . I then spent about 40 years worrying about woods, names on headstocks and the like and believing a whole lot of hype (who talks about 12 lpi tops any more?) I'm now almost back where are started in terms of POV - near enough is good enough. The major difference between now and then is that I insist on good construction (resettable neck joints) and good set up. I'm also a lot better informed. My favourite guitar for fingerpicking is an all-laminate Maton M300 with Gibson-style double-X-bracing. So much for theory.
#32
Quote by Dreadnought
I think that is a very strange conclusion to draw.
I don't think it's a strange conclusion to draw. But as stated, it's so truncated as to be cryptic.

So, "when I was a boy", TVs were consoles with actual wood cabinets. By "wood", I mean wood, not particle board with a wood veneer.

Ergo, when you picked up a decent guitar, there was no real need to anguish over what the heck it was made from.

If it said, "rosewood", it was more than likely Brazilian rosewood.

If it said, "mahogany", then it was more than likely tropical mahogany, one of the 3 "true mahogany", "Swietenia" species.

If it said "maple", nobody actually cared. Until recently, I thought, "those maple species, they all look alike to me". (I can actually tell silver from red maple by the leaves. Although it's been so long since I've seen one in this slum, I may need a refresher course in, "trees indigenous to Pennsylvania"). Although, when you come right down to it, the wood some birch species is hard to tell apart from some maple species

Fast forward to 2015, mahogany and Brazilian rosewood are protected under endangered species legislation.

But guitar player, "X", still expects to be able to buy a mahogany guitar. Enter the market team, to rename every tree that has wood that somewhat resembles mahogany, "sapele, Nato, or Nyatoh, or some crap like that), and it gets rebranded as, "African , Eastern',or 'Godknowswhere, "mahogany.

Over a AGF, you'll get a five page argument over whether "Tasmanian Myrtle", sounds better than our US domestic Myrtle. Then of course you're liable to get 10 pages of even more hotly contested issues such as, "does bear claw make spruce sound better", or possibly, "do you really have to cut spruce down during the full moon for it to sound its very best".

So, the search for tonewoods, has unleashed a full rasher of superstition, bullshit, snobbery, and what have you, which seems to trump whether or not player "X", can even play the guitar, let alone get good tone out of it.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Aug 2, 2015,
#33
Quote by Captaincranky
I don't think it's a strange conclusion to draw. But as stated, it's so truncated as to be cryptic. . . . .


Why use 365 (ish) words when 9 will do?
#34
Quote by Garthman
Why use 365 (ish) words when 9 will do?
Because nine words is just barely enough to trigger a train of thought or concept of a topic, in a like minded individual, certainly nowhere near enough to explain it.

Put another way, the people reading the statement would have to have thought the issue through themselves first.

I appreciate verbosity provokes impatience on the part of the reader in many instances.

In fact, sociologist Emil Durkheim wrote a fairly lengthy paper outlining the concept of setting the threshold for what society considers punishable offenses. On and on, over and over, he explained it thoroughly, much to this reader's chagrin.

OTOH, where 400 or so words might have been sufficient, 9 would be nowhere even close.

I chose to offer an example in the realm of sociology, because wood has become a social issue, as well as a fertile field being tilled by propaganda merchants. (Better known as ad agencies).

You believe killing trees is bad! Then you're told, "meh, they'll grow back in no time". and your cognitive dissonance is assuaged, if not eliminated.

Can't get rosewood or ebony for fingerboards and bridges" Don't worry, jump on the "xxxxxx" wood bandwagon. If you'd like to know the "truth", it sounds much better than those crappy boards made of rosewood or ebony....

After a certain point, (solid woods, competent design and construction techniques being employed),guitars all sound pretty good. Since sound quality is heavily dependent on anyone's perception of it, I expect most woods can be made to sound pleasant to a reasonable cross section of the population.

And that's today's game, sell more guitars made out of exotic woods, if to no other purpose than to have people want more guitars. "I have cedar top and sitka spruce topped guitars". "I should buy guitars with Carpathian and Adirondack red spruce tops to round out my sonic arsenal". (And empty my wallet in the process. After all, the C.F.Martin company is much needier than me, and for that matter, Taylor too).

I have to stop now, I gave myself GAS...
Last edited by Captaincranky at Aug 2, 2015,
#35
Quote by Captaincranky
. . . Because nine words is just barely enough to trigger a train of thought or concept of a topic, in a like minded individual, certainly nowhere near enough to explain it.

Put another way, the people reading the statement would have to have thought the issue through themselves first. . . . . etc


Sure. If the 9 words was just a stand alone statement I might agree with you. But it isn't - a dialogue has already occurred. Add to that the general knowledge that 95% of the posters here would (or should) possess about guitar sales hype and you have it. 'Nuff said.
#37
Quote by Garthman
PS. There is always AGF


And see a bunch of 50 years old raving about generations old Martins and lamenting the dearth of modern music? No thanks
My God, it's full of stars!
#38
Let's recap...
Quote by Garthman
It just means the sales hype folk are wiinning.
Which precipitated this:
Quote by Dreadnought
I think that is a very strange conclusion to draw.
Then, I tried to stick up for you like this: "Blah, blah, blah.....[ ].....blah, blah, blah.......{ }...blah, blah!

Then:
Quote by Garthman
Sure. If the 9 words was just a stand alone statement I might agree with you. But it isn't - a dialogue has already occurred. Add to that the general knowledge that 95% of the posters here would (or should) possess about guitar sales hype and you have it. 'Nuff said.
More like less than 50%, since that's about the percentage of threads started here, wherein somebody gets sold a Yamaha FG-700.

Next, (after, "all the trouble I've taken" ), you try to send me to AGF:
Quote by Garthman
PS. There is always AGF


Quote by Dreadnought
And see a bunch of 50 years old raving about generations old Martins and lamenting the dearth of modern music? No thanks
Heretofore, I had been thinking the were lamenting the death(s) of Leadbelly or Robert Johnson, among others. And FWIW, any Martin post WW2 is a piece of crap... It's just that even modern Martins are better than any other guitars. (So there)!

I'll tell you a funny AGF story. A member, (who shall remain nameless), in response to "I have to listen to 15 guitars before I get one that meets my critical ear, so I'd never buy one sight unheard off the internet", posted something to the effect of, (sic), "that's taking the cowards way out, listening to a guitar before you buy it".

The nameless member, reasonably expected that statement to be taken for the joke it so very obviously was.

But noooo, Captainnameless was met with email notifications, along the lines of, "are you calling me a coward? I may be old, but I'll meet you anywhere you chose".

Our anonymous AGF member demurred from the offer, fearing he might be clubbed to death with a pre-war Martin...
#39
I'm just teasing. I post on AGF and generally enjoy it.
My God, it's full of stars!
#40
Quote by Dreadnought
I'm just teasing. I post on AGF and generally enjoy it.
You were still lying about their ages, by about 10 years too low. Which is not to say I don't appreciate it.
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