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All solid wood Martin for under $500

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by lalagaga, Feb 22, 2021.

  1. blue17

    blue17 Tele-Meister

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    From Sweetwater: "Its back and sides are made from solid sapele, which is similar to mahogany in terms of richness and depth. And both of these tonewoods age beautifully in appearance and tone."

    Also, nowhere on Martin's page does it say the D-28 is solid when we all know it is. I agree that it's way too obscure though and they're missing out on a big opportunity by not making it more clear.
     
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  2. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Stewmac.com are also selling pre- made bodies ( Herringbone ) all solid wood guitars for less than $600. I'm buying to build for my son.
     
  3. mjcyates

    mjcyates Tele-Meister

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    The video on the Sweetwater site also states it is solid wood. Sapele back and sides, top is either Sitka Spruce or Sapele.
     
  4. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    Yup, fair enough. I had to go back and reconcile different parts of the product description to make any sense of it. But, thanks.

    Totally agree on the obfuscation aspect: too many companies/resellers/etc. try to hide the actual details than just outright say whether a part is solid or laminate. Way too many games trying to hide information when upfront disclosure is expected.

    Edit: I wish Freeman Keller were here this morning. I have a question I think he (or other acoustic builders would be keen to hone in on).

    Here is the question: if this is 'all solid' back/sides, why do the frontal pics (of soundhole in particular) show no brace to cover that 2-pieces glued of the back? Every guitar of solid wood back has that 'cover' to obfuscate the glue seam up/down the back. I am not seeing that glue seam in any of the pics of this guitar so far.

    Here is an example of my budget all solid practice guitar:
    Thomann_guitar.png
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
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  5. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/DJr10Sk--martin-d-jr-10-natural-spruce#specs

    I stand correct.
    Click on the top most thumbnail image.
    Then, zoom in (select area) around soundhole.
    Notice you'll see no seam brace or 'cover' running up-down on the back. That means, this was not made from 2 matched pieces of 'wood'. Almost certainly, it is made of a single sheet of some type of laminate material.

    A label is typically glued OVER the seam brace running up-down the back.
    In this case, I'll make the bold assertion that this back is just one uniform piece of laminate.

    NewOne (1).jpg

    Here is a thread showing a Martin with a traditional solid back:
    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/ngd-martin-acoustic.1064183/
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
  6. geetaruke

    geetaruke TDPRI Member

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  7. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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  8. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

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    UOTE="GuitarsBuicks, post: 10476843, member: 153157"]If you want a less than Dreadnaught sized guitar, Seagull makes what they call a "mini-Jumbo" it is definatily an intriguing concept. Not quite as small as a GS-mini or Big Baby, but not as big as a Concert size...yet the lower bout is about the size of the lower bout of a dreadnaught...it's its own thing. Being a rather large person I didn't like it, as a full size dreadnaught is the perfect size for my, but that is also something to consider.



    In answer to your actual question...I would consider all of their guitars technically to be solid wood. Their tops are normally solid. However, Their laminates are three-ply solid wood, supposedly from the same batch with the grains opposing, thus creating a stronger body, because the wood braces itself along the sides and back I am unaware of any "truly solid" models...as in one thick piece of wood. The laminates they use to make their backs and sides are solid wood laminates, as explained by a company rep, "our laminates are all the same type of wood...we layer them to make a stronger more resilient guitar." Seagull claims that their S6 models are the equivalent of a $1200 guitar for about half of the price, if not lower. My S6 cost me $215 used with a padded gig case.

    Watch the video in post #16. Honestly the laminates are really really solid, possibly superior to any other back and sides material available. They are usually Canadian wild cherry, which, while an unusual tone wood, is remarkable versatile as you can put it with any top and it sounds good. and because it is a species of cherry it is harder than some of the more conventional options. I have a cedar and I have played a spruce top and both were just simply stunning. Mind you when I bought my S6 cedar top guitar there was a '78 D-28, an HD-28 new (most dealers have one), a used mint condition Johnny Cash signature D-35 (one of the original batch from the 1990's){I remember this one because I really wanted it but no high school sophomore can afford that $12000 price tag...also you can't possibly feel good about leaving a guitar like that unattended at high school and college.}, a Martin 000 slot head (thought it looked cool, but didn't sound good), and a Taylor K24ce (S6 Cedar trounced it in tone, volume, and playability...too much finish.) in the shop...You can guess which one I went home with. I have also compared it with numerous other guitars over the years...few can compete in my humble opinion. I also have one of the few other guitars I have encountered that can actually go head to head with the S6 (Not a Martin, Taylor, Gibson, Yamaha, or Takamine). If you added up the price of both of those guitars (about $530) and the Art & Lutherie Americana ($425) you still couldn't buy a good D-28 new or used, and to be honest as much as I would love a Martin...I have yet to find one that is worth the price tag and can compete with any of those three guitars on their own, let alone as a collection. Someday maybe I'll get lucky and find the right one from Martin or Taylor...someday.

    Although again this is just my informed opinion...play one and make your own judgement. Make sure you have a valuable Martin or something to compare it with. Keeping in mind the Seagull doesn't normally make any gloss finish guitars.[/QUOTE]

    Cool, I haven't played those. I have played some S6s and others.
    3 ply is not solid. That's just not what the word means. Some people like ply backs, but it does make a difference. They are not for me, so far.
     
  9. Buck@r00

    [email protected] Tele-Meister

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    This guy seems to get a big "bang for his Buck"
     
  10. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    Its solid wood. You can tell by the grain pattern, and identify the same on both sides, in addition to Martin's claim on their website - at least it was there when I bought mine. Also, I've got 30's Gibsons with solid backs and no purfling or binding, so you can see the edge grain, and there's no center seam strip either, and near impossible to see the glue joint. Glue joint cap isn't a reliable method for determining bookmatching in otherwords.

    I'm highly skeptical that a 14" wide top, is made of two 7" halves, that are made from (3) lamina that are .042 thick native cut pieces, re-constituted into a a 3 ply, .125" plank? What's the point? You'd have to saw a thicker piece into these super thin sections, and then just glue them back together? I'm more than highly skeptical of the merit, the point, and the excessive cost, vs just using the original thickness wood. I'm pretty sure, if its multiply, its generated from peeler stock, veneer.

    A "double top" is a luthier layman's term for sandwich construction, where two face sheets, are bonded to a core of cheaper or lighter material. My 1970's Yamaha had a 3 ply spruce top, with two great looking veneer spruce faceplates on the top and bottom, probably around .010 thick, and a core of wide grain, pine-looking core, that was about .105 thick. The face sheets were continous, but the core was made of many sections layed transverse, just like plywood, alternating the grain for strength in both axes.

    I'm not taking away from multi-ply construction. Its great for many things, including instruments. But, its multiply, and those plys, at least some of those plys are produced by peeling, which is technically, and practically a veneer ply.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
  11. GuitarsBuicks

    GuitarsBuicks Tele-Afflicted

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    I hope you don't like Martin and Taylor too much. They fold their tops in half, cut them, then glue them back together on some models.
     
  12. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Laminations are bonded together with polymers and glue, they do not age and bloom or sound anything like solid wood. Solid wood versus glue and plastic lamination are two completely different animals they are in no way the same. It’s like comparing a Formica countertop to a solid piece of wood.

    I have attended Martin fast in early August many times, I have entertained there in the Main St. Square concert, I have toured the factory, I have met Dick Boak. I became fascinated with the dread juniors when groups of college students came playing them and they sounded beautiful. These kids would sit in with Bluegrass players who had 40 year old Martin’s and then hang with them and play quite well and the sound was very good. Some of these kids signed up to be in the Saturday afternoon concert that is held in the town square and they sounded beautiful.

    I don’t mean to come across like an old curmudgeon, but your comment comparing plastic and glue infused Laminates to solid wood is ridiculous. Vibration begets vibration and when some thing is made of solid wood and it gets older and older and older the tone enhances because the vibration increases the ability to vibrate. There has never been a fine violin made out of plywood. Good grief. Have a nice day, hang in there.
     
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  13. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    Longwise? Well, that's a good idea to conserve good quality wood. And, that would be very different than peeled stock veneer construction. Again, I'm not opposed to multiply, even on a top. But I don't think Martin or Taylor are doing that and trying to pass it as "solid" wood construction. Particle board, or MDF or OSB would all qualify as "solid" wood under those definitions. Or, they could claim to be 99% solid wood, etc. I just don't think Martin and Taylor have to play those games.
     
  14. Hoodster

    Hoodster Friend of Leo's

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    Ignore the posts that disparage these as children’s guitars or toys or shrunken or whatever other put down. They are absolutely high-quality real guitars, and the only thing that might not be for everyone is the 24 inch scale.

    If that’s the case for you, the 24.75” Taylor Academy 12E is an outstanding choice in this approximate price range.
     
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  15. Tom Grattan

    Tom Grattan TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    Seems like there's a lot of good small body guitars out there. In the $500 range you should be able to get a good sounding guitar. I'm a firm believer in "you get what you pay for". If you're going to keep the guitar hopefully it will continue to improve sonically over time. I'm glad I bought my Martin 0 18 when I did as the price has gone through the roof. And now Martin has reissued the 0 18 boosting the price even more.
     
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  16. Vocalion

    Vocalion TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    I came very close to buying one of these a few years back. I would heartily recommend it if you're interested. I was looking for a smaller guitar and had pretty much narrowed my search down to this and the Taylor GS Mini with the mahogany top. Points in the Martin's favor for me were that the scale length was slightly longer (24" vs. 23 1/2") and it had the 1 3/4" nut. Why didn't I wind up getting one? It sounded a little bit too much (character-wise) as my Martin dread and 000. In the end I wound up buying an all-mahogany Guild M120 which gave me a different tone along with the smaller size (albeit with a longer 24.75" scale and 1 3/4" nut).
     
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  17. Tiga

    Tiga TDPRI Member

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    I picked one of these up a few years ago in Sapele. All solid wood with a 1 3/4 nut width and 24" scale. Extremely comfortable to play and sounds like a dreadnought - albeit a little quieter. Compared to a GS-Mini and thought it sounded much better at the time. I have a Seagull S6 too which I love but sometimes if feels like I'm wrestling a tree lol. The Martin is just so easy to play. The only problem is my daughter now loves it too and I can't seem to get it out of her room.
     
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  18. GuitarsBuicks

    GuitarsBuicks Tele-Afflicted

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    I love my two small body guitars, but being built like a linebacker makes it uncomfortable to play smaller guitars some times. Especially when you are sitting down. I have a classical, a parlor, and a concert size...great sound, and great volume. Like I said, I tend to find them too constricting for my frame.
     
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  19. kristen

    kristen TDPRI Member

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    Sounds like an X'CITING little guitar.
    If you like the scale size, it might be wonderful.
    Hope that helps
    K
     
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