Best sounding Martin

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Troubador, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Holic

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    Oh boy...

    I have a D28 that is like that stones song: "you can't always get what you want, but try sometimes, you get what you need"

    I got a great deal on it from a colleague about 10 years ago. Found it a lacked a bit of warmth and fullness I was accustomed to with my prior mahogany acoustic. Ended up considering selling it or trading. Never happened. I loved the "warmth" of the D35 that my buddy bought. I ended up buying a Gibson J15 (walnut) which does give me that warmth and sounds great fingerpicked.

    But whatever guitar I play, whenever I play it, that D28 just sound all around better to me. It's like the perfect balance of all things you want in an acoustic. I dunno, that's just me. It's funny, I never really loved that thing until I realized what I had. Now i'd be crushed if I lost it. Man.. I almost traded it for a strat about 6 years ago!!! Whew, close one.
     
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  2. Gardo

    Gardo Tele-Meister

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    What !
    I never even considered that. What a disappointment that must have been.
     
  3. raysachs

    raysachs Friend of Leo's

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    You just gotta know what you like.

    First, dread or not? I used to play a dread, now I don't - old shoulders and all that. I can play a dread, but it's just a lot less comfortable now than a smaller body. Now I play an 000 and would love to also have an 00 - I have a carbon fiber Emerald that plays like a parlor but sounds like an 00. If you need a lot of volume for bluegrass jams or something, a dread is the way to go, but for playing on your own, the bass can get a bit overpowering and muddled. An 00 or 000 can have more distinct notes throughout and better clarity.

    Second, material. My first Martin, which I had for 25 years as my only acoustic, was a '68 D28 with Brazilian RW back and sides. I got it when it was about 10 years used for $400 or so. It was the best sounding guitar I'd ever heard. I LOVED that thing. But I stopped playing and eventually sold it and when I got back into playing a few years ago, I didn't like the sound of the rosewood guitars I played. My ears just prefer mahogany now. Seems like I'm not the only guy who's aged out of rosewood and developed a love for mahogany. Either hog with a spruce top or all-hog, and all-hog seems to come out on top for me anytime I A-B two guitars. But there's no right or wrong with that - it's all personal taste.

    My current Martin is a 12-fret 000-15SM, which is a very different sounding guitar than the more common 14-fret 000-15M (which I've also owned). If you like all-hog, the 15 series has gotta be the best value in Martin's domestic lineup. The 15SM is great strumming, great for fingerpicking, just fine for flat picking. It's got a wider nut and string spacing than the other 15 series guitars, so it's particularly nice for fingerpicking. It's just an amazing guitar that's advertised for $1600 but can easily be found for less than $1300. Which is insane. When I bought mine, I played several Martins under $3000 and it came down to the 000-15SM ($1275) or a NOS 00-18V ($2500) and I just kept coming back to the 15. And I was ready to spend a good deal more, but I just loved the sound of that guitar.

    If I had the $$$, I'd buy an 00-17 Authentic 1931, which is a slightly smaller version of what I've got, but it sounds even sweeter, as it should for about three times the price or more - you'd have to pay at or around $4000 to get one. That would be my dream Martin if I had the bucks, but the 15SM doesn't give up much to it and is an amazing value to boot...

    -Ray
     
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  4. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    And I think you'd be right. Both Clarence and Tony could make a $199.00 guitar sound better than many players, particularly myself, playing a vintage D28 or D18.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
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  5. etype

    etype Tele-Afflicted

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    Since the OP asked about different price levels (at least that I how I am reading it), let me add that on a budget, the DSR (a.k.a. the DSR-GC) is pretty close to a D18 for less $$$. Used D18's go for about $1,600 while used DSRs are more like $900. The DSR has a solid spruce top with solid rosewood back and sides (albeit in a stain finish). They were Guitar Center exclusives (I think it's been discontinued) and have a 1-11/16" nut rather than the 1.75" of the D18. I love mine. Took a lot of time A/B-ing them with nicer guitars (like weeks of spending hours at GC on Sunday afternoons) and I think they are a real bargain find.
     
  6. OldDude2

    OldDude2 Tele-Afflicted

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    While I love my D28 there's another post of Billy Strings on a vintage 1935 D18. The interesting part is I think his stage guitar is a regular old D18.

    It ain't the arrow, but the Indian they used to say, but find the one voice you're looking for and take her home forever.
     
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  7. Troubador

    Troubador TDPRI Member

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    I really appreciate everyone's posts. I know my OP was broad-based, but reading all your posts has helped me a lot. I welcome any and all opinions and experiences.
     
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  8. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

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    I trust that you understanding seeking opinion on here opens a legally binding commitment to go buy the thing and show us pictures?
     
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  9. FrostyMorn

    FrostyMorn TDPRI Member

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    Sadly, you will never find the "best sounding Martin" with that constraint.
     
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  10. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I like d35's but cant say they are the best sounding, they all sound a little different just like all the models vary from one to the next of the same model. I wouldn't order one online or buy one from a store not having played as many as I could get my hands on and think I was getting the best of the bunch based on a model number. I've come across some real average sounding to bad d-35's new in the store and a few that were fantastic. Same with all the models.

    I pick a few I prefer the look of and that are within my price range and go play a bunch of them all to see what sounds and feels best. It would be ideal if one store had around 10 to 20 of every model but that never happens so it takes a long time and a lot of running around to find the right one.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2020
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  11. Bendyha

    Bendyha Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    This is only true for the current production versions I believe. I don't know how long the designation HD exists, but it is not that long.
    My D-35 is from 1975, and it has scolloped braces.
    How old is yours?

    I have compared a few new D-35's with HD-35's and yes, they do sound...different, but I would not say one sort was "better" than the other. But I do know that none of them could match my '75...although this is not considered the best period for them.

    upload_2020-2-23_14-55-41.jpeg upload_2020-2-23_14-56-19.jpeg Must give her a clean !
     
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  12. marklcfc

    marklcfc TDPRI Member

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  13. MattyK-USA

    MattyK-USA Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Mine is a 2000. So 20 years old, which to me is a wonderful age where the instrument really opens up as the wood completes the dry-out process. Mine has very, very warm tone (which is what I love), but has great articulation in the upper register. It's a "holy ****!" guitar.

    2019-10-06_15-44-02.jpg 2019-10-06_15-44-34.jpg 2019-10-06_15-45-03.jpg 2019-10-06_15-47-31.jpg 2019-10-06_15-49-08.jpg 2019-10-06_15-50-40.jpg
     
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  14. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

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    If your D35 has scalloped braces, then it's not a standard D35, or it was modified. Ask Martin, and they will tell you that the standard D35 has NEVER had scalloped braces.
    www.gbase.com/gear/martin-d-35-1975-natural-5
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2020
  15. howardlo

    howardlo Tele-Holic

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    I'm with you on that one. Never been a fan of dreads, too big and too boomy. OOO and OO sized guitars sound great and are well balanced.
     
  16. Recce

    Recce Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I was there last year. If everything works out I will be there again this year.
     
  17. bls82261

    bls82261 TDPRI Member

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  18. HighlonesomeF5

    HighlonesomeF5 TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    D-18 style with sinker mahogany!
     
  19. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    Ok, I was over at Neil Sargent’s shop yesterday and a fellow brought in a Martin 00-42SC model for a set up. Small, 12-frets to the body, slot head.

    The gentleman let me play it. Maybe he wanted to stanch the flow of drool.

    Ooooh, it was so very nice to play. So very, very, very nice. Oooooh. Dynamic response. Luscious. 1 7/8 (1.875”) at the nut, finger picker yes.
    Said he traded two guitars for it.
    This a John Mayer model of some kind.

    I see Sweetwater has a demo model, marked all the way down to $7500.

    well, anyway, that was a very pleasant 5 minutes.
     
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