im getting a martin D-16GTL in about a week. this is my first true acoustic guitar, ive been playing a washburn i got for free and some 350 dollar fender acoustic. so im excited about getting the martin. i want to get the best sond i can get out of the martin because i am going to use it just for recording purposes, no giging. and the guy at the shop said its better not to install a pickup in the martin, but to mic it instead to get the full natural sound of the martin guitar. im going to put elixir strings on it because ive always had good past experience with those strings, but are there any other things i can do to make my martin sound better? i heard about putting a new saddle in there, and other things, but were never to sure. so can yall give me advice what how to get the greatest sound i can get? thank you
Dont put a pickup in it you will regret it. I have a martin and I like to use medium strings on it. I just like the way it sounds. I wouldnt really mess with it too much.
I don't see how replacing the saddle with change much about the sound. Unless it is a truly horrid peace of soft wood or something, and the bridge plate doesn't fit right. Strings could help, and elixirs are great strings (maybe the best in many people's opinions). Maybe keys would help too. But if you are talking about having a $350 dollar fender and not considering that as a true acoustic, then maybe this new guitar will be great as is. Just get new strings and leave it at that. And mics only work good if there is not outside sound. So get a good mic. I don't understand about the pickups because they vary (on price and quality. Same with mics).
Other than keeping fresh strings on it, keeping it moisturized and all that jazz there's not much you can do. Technically the saddles or nut could probably be changed, and while that could greatly effect the sound I don't recommend it unless you're unhappy with some quality of the sound, and even then I'd take it to a professional to have it done (well the nut anyway, I might do the saddles myself even with the intonation stuff). A brass nut might be cool though, it'd give you a $hit ton of sustain...

EDIT: My understanding from some reports that I've read is that the best acoustic pickup (if you must use one) are the Fishman rare earth pickups, which cost like $330. I think where I read that was on something that Plank (Radiohead's guitar technician) wrote. Believe me, if it's good enough for Radioehead it's probably good enough for you; none the less I also recommend just micing the thing for studio stuff. Live is really the only place for acoustic pickups.
Last edited by RadioMuse at Oct 9, 2007,
You might not want to change anything about the guitar. From the spec sheet at Martin, it's a quality build. Solid top back and sides are going to make it sound great right away. Also, the Martin Phosphor Bronze strings that come with it sound incredible as is. The only advantage you'll get out of the Elixers is longevity. I too prefer the Elixers, but if I were to want to do some serious studio recording, I'd opt for the Martins. You'll also be better off mic'ing it rather than installing a pickup. You'll get more bang for your buck this way.
The only mod I could possibly think it could use would be to change out the Tusq saddle with a bone one. And it would more than likely need to be FMI or FWI in order to make a considerable change for the better to the tone and sustain. Play it as for a while and see how it sounds before making any unnecessary changes to it. There's a whole lot you can do in the studio to alter/edit the sound anyhow.