Dread shopping & sparse GC showroom

Freeman Keller

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Thanks for the great info. I’ve been perusing the wildwood inventory, just to get an idea of the various models/body sizes/scale lengths etc. Seems like the OM- is the 000- body with the longer scale? (Which I prefer, since I tend to use drop tunings.)
And the 00- & 000- models I looked at all seemed to have the shorter 24.9 scale.
Hard to tell from pics but it looks like the 000-, 00-, and OM types are the same or close to same body size; 00- maybe a tad smaller? (Not sure about body depth though.)

I’m currently drooling over this beauty there: https://wildwoodguitars.com/product/2611295/standard-series-om-28-2/
(Although as stated I won’t buy anything I haven’t played.)


Yes, OM and 000-14 (14 fret 000, not some model 14) are the same bodies with different length necks. That moves the bracing and bridge slightly. 000-12 has a slightly longer upper bout and usually have a slotted head, usually but not always have short scale. 00 is smaller by about an inch across the lower bout and usually has short scale and slotted head.

There have been a number of different special models within some of these lines - there are a couple of Eric Clapton sig models (OM28-EC) that are copies of vintage instruments. The old ones of course were Brazilian, modern are EIR or possibly Mad rose or some of the others not CITES banned.

There have been several threads at the UMGF in the FAQ about different OM/000 models. Frankly I don't think you can go wrong with any of them. I always wish that I had known about 000-18's in 1974 when I bought my D18.
 

Boreas

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Yes, OM and 000-14 (14 fret 000, not some model 14) are the same bodies with different length necks. That moves the bracing and bridge slightly. 000-12 has a slightly longer upper bout and usually have a slotted head, usually but not always have short scale. 00 is smaller by about an inch across the lower bout and usually has short scale and slotted head.

There have been a number of different special models within some of these lines - there are a couple of Eric Clapton sig models (OM28-EC) that are copies of vintage instruments. The old ones of course were Brazilian, modern are EIR or possibly Mad rose or some of the others not CITES banned.

There have been several threads at the UMGF in the FAQ about different OM/000 models. Frankly I don't think you can go wrong with any of them. I always wish that I had known about 000-18's in 1974 when I bought my D18.
Freeman, If I could own only one guitar, it would be my old '54 00-18. I just find it a touch more comfortable than my old '56 000-18 I sold 15 years ago. They both have heavenly voices. Pretty plain and beat up, but paid for.
 

Charlie Bernstein

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Guitar Center? Really? The folks putting the locals out of business? You want to pay them to do that?

If there aren't any good smaller shops in your area, I'd go to Reverb.com and look at new and used Guild D-35s, D-40s, and D-55s — some of the best dreads ever devised. (It's truly remarkable how many people who have never played a Guild think they suck.)

If you do decide to browse the offerings, you can post any questions you might have at www.letstalkguild.com. Very helpful folks there.
 
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SRHmusic

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North Carolina, USA
...
Visited local GC, planning to play initially a d-13e, d-16, d-18, d-28, and some Taylors. Out of those Martins, they only had the d-18. Stock was limited. (How can you not stock a d-28??)
...
Played several Taylors, ...Wanted to try an American Dream ad-17 or a 317e grand pacific — not in stock.
Reminds me of the time about 20 years ago I was shopping for a good acoustic while living in Florida. Called the big Guitar Center in Ft.L. or Miami and asked if they had any: Laravee, Collings, Santa Cruz, Breedlove, etc. (Guitars I had never seen but read about in Acoustic Guitar mag.)
The sales guy laughed, "No, we don't carry any of those."
. And I thought, "Well, you're not much of a guitar 'center,' are you?"
 

arlum

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My Martin HD12-28 is 3 or 4 years old now and plays / looks as good as new. I do run a humidifier during the months when a furnace is required to heat our home. Other than that I just keep it in it's case and it's ready whenever I'm ready. I've not had a single issue with it. I always wanted a Martin and this was the one that finally sold me.
 

Swirling Snow

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I spent a long time selling Martins, and you've gotten some great advice here. As Freeman noted, the OM is really the "standard" size and the Dreadnaught is the big boomer for stage projection. If you have an ear for good bass, odds are you'll find a boomy small body sounding better than a "tight" dread. Also, a small body is easier to play when your joints get old and cranky.

As I said in another thread, Martin guarantees its guitars for your lifetime. A few refrets ands a neck reset are built into the price. Don't be shy, they're expecting you, just be sure you registered the darn thing and have your sales slip.

You may know this, but on many websites if you drill down though the guitar types and select "Martin" it will show you how many they have in stock. You're retired. Rent a room, middle of the week rates. Play all you can one day, sleep on it, go back the next day and pick among the winners.

https://www.elderly.com/collections...s[custom_fields.New_or_Used][0]=New&offset=48
 

Blackmore Fan

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It's easy to dump on GC and I hate to add to it, but in my experience it's a useless destination for someone looking for an acoustic. Unfortunately, independent showrooms with a good stock can be hard to find, but they do exist and are worth the trip. I used to stop by GC all the time but eventually stopped because it was so clear to me that they never had a great guitar present, whether I has looking at, say, Gibson L-00 style or a Martin dread. I don't know how they source guitars, but I think they consistently get worse than mediocre versions of the guitars they offer. Maybe it's just the mass volume, high turnover corporate model. OTOH, I find great smallish acoustic shops all the time, sometimes in the oddest places, and the good ones have surprisingly extensive stocks of good instruments. My personal favorite is the Music Emporium in Lexington, MA -- a place that does everything right, and treats people really well. IMO, the only way to end up with a great individual instrument is to access these kinds of destination dealers. You don't just find one of the model you're interested in -- you find a great example of it, and you find some really compelling compare/contrast alternatives. I'll never forget walking into TME once with a windfall of $$$ in my pocket, thinking, "now I can get that [specific, expensive, great model by a great company] and spending hours trying other great guitars and walking out with a fabulous instrument beyond my expectation. That will never, ever happen when you place an order with Sweetwater. It can't. And BTW, TME pricing is totally reasonable.

I went to my local GC last Saturday and they had TWO...ONLY TWO...Martins that cost over $1,000 WITHOUT a cutaway. In other words, TWO "real" Martins...and maybe 75 ho-hum other acoustics, most of which had only a solid top (if that).
 

RLee77

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Just stumbled on this YouTube vid of the Martin workshop at Sweetwater from many years ago… I found it fascinating. Many have probably already seen it. Features a great player showing off the OM-28, the modern d-18, d-28, others, with some really interesting anecdotes.

Martin guitar workshop
 

cyclopean

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The music emporium is the most martins I’ve ever seen in one place.

Be prepared for steep prices though - i don’t think they overprice things, they just carry a wide variety of very nice instruments, many of which hover around the amount of money you could get a pretty decent used car for.
 

cyclopean

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I know I can hear difference between different top woods and certainly different body sizes. I'd like to believe that I can tell tone woods but there have been so many double blind studies that indicate that people can't that I really aren't sure.

I have also learned over the year that I like smaller guitars rather than dreads, even tho I do own two very nice old Martin dreads. Just keep playing guitars and something will call to you.

ps - if I was shopping for a guitar this time of the year I would be very aware of action - for two reasons. If the action is low and buzzy there is a very good chance the guitar is dry, if the the action is really high, particularly on an older guitar, there is a very good chance it needs a neck reset. Neither would be a complete deal breaker for me but both would merit more attention before I would buy it.
Dreads are great, but sometimes they’re more guitar than you need. I have to hold back on volume for the folk sing I’ve been attending because my main acoustic is a Walden dread strung up with 13s.
 

Terrygh1949

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Kansas
So I’m patiently shopping for a new acoustic, my retirement reward to myself. Likely a dread, likely a Martin, but anything’s possible, since my method is essentially to play suitable contenders until one blows me away (and doesn’t force me back to work to pay for it). Budget is roughly 3k or less, give or take.

Visited local GC, planning to play initially a d-13e, d-16, d-18, d-28, and some Taylors. Out of those Martins, they only had the d-18. Stock was limited. (How can you not stock a d-28??)

I did find an sc-13e, cutaway version of d-13, but didn’t love the tones. D-18 was nice, but I was there to compare/contrast, not buy the first thing I liked, right?

Played several Taylors, some surprises there, very nicely built, solid tones, with a few of the less expensive models standing out tone wise, if not appearance-wise. Wanted to try an American Dream ad-17 or a 317e grand pacific — not in stock.

Saw a d-15m hanging, decided to play it just to hear it, although I wasn’t excited about an all-mahogany dread. Wow! Those deep warm complex tones were beautiful, and it felt great in my hands. Surprised. I could definitely see myself going home with it, but… I need to play a d-28, and also an hd-28, alongside to compare. For me, it’s like 95% of the choice is all about the tone & feel, and the other 5% is look, build, appointments, etc.

I’m trying to find another local shop (in Reno) that has a better selection. With acoustic-buying, I just refuse to buy something I haven’t held & played. It has to call to me (like that d-15 is doing… that dark, brooding, minimalist look is growing on me, and it sounds so rich).

Question on the hd-28… I read a post where someone was warning about the scalloped bracing, saying they were delicate, and if not cared for properly (kept humidified), they would warp, belly below the bridge, and that he saw some at GC stores that were warped from improper storage. Is this a thing to watch for/worry about?
I've owned and played a bunch. I finally settled in on Mitchell, now not the super cheap ones. Get into the terra series those really are nice guitars. I also have an exotic ash burl, beautiful and Great sounding and, these will not put you in the poor house. I gig them all the time, NO issues.
 

Full-Tilt-Tele

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I've own a 1968 Martin D-35 that I purchased used in 1973 and still have it in my collection. To preserve and protect my 'Heritage', I shopped for a back-up for my gigging. I settled for a Morgan-Monroe MV-45 Dreadnought, one of their 'Creekside' serries. The MV-45's quality and sound reviews, compares or even exceeds the modern Martin. Please do you a favorite, check out those MV-45's...
 

zaskar1

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Oct 3, 2011
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san jose calif
I bought a D18 Golden Era from the GC a while back. it was shipped from somewhere back east i think? i was going to return it because the action was way off, but after i got adjusted, it sounds and plays great! took it to the local luthier, after the adjustments and it plays fine and sounds great.
I wanted to get a D18 Authentic, but it was out of my price range. maybe its something you might consider.
Have fun guitar shopping, its fun but could be a long process.
 

Bill Ashton

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I have read this post with interest, you are starting a journey I have taken and mostly finished. Congrats on reaching retirement, and agree that you should make this an adventure.

You answered one question, that you mostly fingerpick. That opens up a whole new world of wood combos to you, not just spruce/'hog or spruce/rosewood.

Are you performing with the new guitar, or is this for playing to please yourself in the living room? If the latter, easier to make a decision and not worry about projection.

Are you accompanying singing? If not regularly, then maybe you don't need the "scooped mid" timbre of a rosewood dread.

True, smaller bodied instruments might not have the bass that a dread has, but medium-gauge strings can get you close if the guitar...and your fingers...can handle them.

Collings make a dread-depth small body, Guild (when built in Tacoma or New Hartford) used to, I am sure there must be others today...that feature adds bass.

Do you want a Martin because you just want to have a Martin (nothing wrong with that!) or is there something about their sound that strikes you? Lotta other brands have that "voice," Collings, Santa Cruz, Huss & Dalton, Bougeious et al...

I am a Guild (USA-builds) and Huss & Dalton man myself, but wish you the very best on your journey. Don't get stuck in analysis-paralysis on this, that can take away from the fun. Your heart will know when you've found "the One."
 

busyangel1

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Joined
Mar 16, 2021
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Merion Station PA
So I’m patiently shopping for a new acoustic, my retirement reward to myself. Likely a dread, likely a Martin, but anything’s possible, since my method is essentially to play suitable contenders until one blows me away (and doesn’t force me back to work to pay for it). Budget is roughly 3k or less, give or take.

Visited local GC, planning to play initially a d-13e, d-16, d-18, d-28, and some Taylors. Out of those Martins, they only had the d-18. Stock was limited. (How can you not stock a d-28??)

I did find an sc-13e, cutaway version of d-13, but didn’t love the tones. D-18 was nice, but I was there to compare/contrast, not buy the first thing I liked, right?

Played several Taylors, some surprises there, very nicely built, solid tones, with a few of the less expensive models standing out tone wise, if not appearance-wise. Wanted to try an American Dream ad-17 or a 317e grand pacific — not in stock.

Saw a d-15m hanging, decided to play it just to hear it, although I wasn’t excited about an all-mahogany dread. Wow! Those deep warm complex tones were beautiful, and it felt great in my hands. Surprised. I could definitely see myself going home with it, but… I need to play a d-28, and also an hd-28, alongside to compare. For me, it’s like 95% of the choice is all about the tone & feel, and the other 5% is look, build, appointments, etc.

I’m trying to find another local shop (in Reno) that has a better selection. With acoustic-buying, I just refuse to buy something I haven’t held & played. It has to call to me (like that d-15 is doing… that dark, brooding, minimalist look is growing on me, and it sounds so rich).

Question on the hd-28… I read a post where someone was warning about the scalloped bracing, saying they were delicate, and if not cared for properly (kept humidified), they would warp, belly below the bridge, and that he saw some at GC stores that were warped from improper storage. Is this a thing to watch for/worry about?
I was in the wood room at the GC in Greenwood In. There were like 6 people in there looking and playing. One the sales guys came in holding a mandolin, he tried to put it back on the hanger. He dropped it, hit then bench then the floor. He picked it up, looked over it and put it back on the hanger. We all stood there in disbelief looking at each other.
So for that price range and style don’t rule out Gibson models. The Dove is a beautiful toned instrument as well as the songwriter model. Doves come with LR Baggs pickup system. Try as many as possible. Good luck.
 

dfab

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2014
Posts
8
Location
California
Contact Rich Longacre, Sales Manager, Skip's Music, Sacramento. Its not that far of a drive for you. Rich used to be the sales manager @ Guitar Showcase in San Jose......so you probably have met him in the past. Rich is a fine guitarist in his own right and probably the most stand-up guy you would ever want to know. He will take care of your needs......at a really fair price.......and give you some honest and noteworthy opinions if you ask him. AND......they have a really good acoustic guitar selection.
 

Charlie Bernstein

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Apr 26, 2003
Posts
11,581
Location
Augusta, Maine
I've own a 1968 Martin D-35 that I purchased used in 1973 and still have it in my collection. To preserve and protect my 'Heritage', I shopped for a back-up for my gigging. I settled for a Morgan-Monroe MV-45 Dreadnought, one of their 'Creekside' serries. The MV-45's quality and sound reviews, compares or even exceeds the modern Martin. Please do you a favorite, check out those MV-45's...
Heh heh. I used to have a very nice Martin D-28. To preserve and protect it, I got a backup Guild D-35 — which I liked so much I ended up selling the Martin because I wasn't picking it up anymore.

The Guild is just as loud as the Martin was and has a lot more punch and character (maybe because it's mahogany) — and I never worry about taking it out of the house when it's hot or cold or wet out. A win-win-win-win-win-win-win.
 




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