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Martin 000-18 / 28 vs D-18 / 28

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by NateD81, Mar 23, 2021.

  1. NateD81

    NateD81 Tele-Meister

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    Awhile back I was asking about Mahogany vs. Rosewood. I've decided that I want to go in the direction of a Martin 18, I'm just having a hard time determining which would be a better fit for me, the 000 or the D.

    the scale length isn't a huge determining factor for me, but if all things are equal I do like the short length. I like to play in alternate tunings and love a harmonically rich tone which seems like that would suit a 000-28, but people seem to really love the 000-18...Good problem to have I suppose. I'm new to Martins and there aren't many near me unless I drive quite a ways.

    I play 99% just using the flesh of my fingertips, finger picking with a little strumming here and there. I don't play live and I don't have any intention to. Just like to play for enjoyment and record music on occasion.

    I'm under the impression that the 000-18 would check most of the boxes - but I won't be able to play one in person. There's a store nearby with a D-18 I can try, but yeah, the 000-18 would have to be a leap of faith. I'm comfortable with that.
     
  2. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    happy owner of a 000-18 and former owner of a D-18 (but that was a looooong time ago). Really love the balanced sound of the 000. D-18 was louder & bassier. If you're playing bluegrass and need that low E to really pop, then the D-18 is great. But the 000 seems more even from bottom to top, and doesn't give away much in the volume department.

    you might want to check in at the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum for a wealth of knowledge and opinions. I believe that recent Martins are more lightly built, project better, and are more prone to trouble. mine is a hair away from needing a neck reset and it's only 3 or 4 years old. I don't know when this change happened or which side of the divide you want to be on but there will be information on the UMGF page. Good luck. I love this guitar, did I mention that?
     
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  3. TeleBluesMan

    TeleBluesMan Tele-Holic

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    I think the newer Martin 000 size guitars have the wider string spacing at the nut and bridge, if that matters to you. I find the 000 size to be more comfortable to play than the D, due to the narrower width of the body. And IMHO, I have to play a D harder -- I find 000 to be more responsive to finger-picking. D tend to have more headroom, good for playing with a pick as opposed to the fingers. YMMV. Also, in the newer Martin 000 I have played the high E string tends to be very close to the edge of the frets, and more prone to sliding off the fret if not played with a light touch. I believe that is due to the way Martin now installs the frets.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2021
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  4. NateD81

    NateD81 Tele-Meister

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    Good to know - both responses are really helpful. I don't need a cannon necessarily. I have a hummingbird which is super comfy for me to play, but not the world's loudest guitar, but that's not something I really have a strong desire for. I do like that low end thump, but it doesn't need to overpower everything else.
     
  5. srblue5

    srblue5 Tele-Holic

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    My first Martin was a D-28, which had a really rich sound, but after it got wrecked, I got a 000-18 which I like better, especially since I play fingerstyle 75% of the time. You get a bit more midrange and less bass with the 000 but it’s still a really nice sound with good overtones. I actually find that the 000-18 mic’s and records better because it’s less boomy sounding.

    Personally I prefer OMs because they’re a touch louder and I like the longer scale but the 000–18 is a keeper to me.
     
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  6. NateD81

    NateD81 Tele-Meister

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    I always played Fenders so I thought I'd prefer the longer scale, but after owning a couple Gibson acoustics, I've found that I really like the shorter scale. I wouldn't kick an OM out of bed for eating snacks, though! It's probably in my head, but they feel easier to play. My wife is learning acoustic, too, so she likes the shorter scale since it's easier for her to reach frets...Makes it easier to sell her on the purchase ;)
     
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  7. Jonzilla

    Jonzilla Tele-Meister

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    I picked up a 2016 D18 a couple years ago (and love it) but agree with the string spacing at the nut being to close to the edge on the high E. I kept accidentally muting the high E with the flesh of my hand and tried to adjust my technique but finally broke down and made a new nut for it and haven't looked back.
     
  8. srblue5

    srblue5 Tele-Holic

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    For what it’s worth, I’m used to 25.5” scales but I don’t really notice the difference on the 000. Only when I bend a string every so often.

    I’ve had my 000-18 worked on by a couple of repair people, both of whom said it was on par with a nice D-18 to their ears. So I think you and your wife will dig it. She may even want to learn and practice more because it sounds so good!
     
  9. Esquire Jones

    Esquire Jones Tele-Meister

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    Both 000's and D's are cool with me. I've had both. The only thing I would add is that if you're using alternate/dropped tuning you might fare
    better with a longer scale (OM maybe) . I sold the short scale guitars and kept the 000-15S (long scale) which I use for dropped tunings and finger picking. Otherwise I LOVE me a Martin D-18 of all types. Currently have a D-18 Authentic 37 and D-18 Golden Era. Good stuff.
     
  10. Bryan A

    Bryan A Tele-Meister

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    I have an HD28 and a 000-28, so I can make it easy for you.... if you’re a strummer, go with the D. If you’re a fingerpicker, go with the 000. Yes, you can strum or fingerpick on either, but SOUNDWISE, the D sounds better picked and the 000 sounds better fingerpicked.


    Also, you said the scale length isn’t a determining factor. That’s fine, but it DOES affect sound. The 000-28 and OM-28 are identical except for the scale length. The 000 is very noticeably darker sounding because of the shorter scale length. There again, it’s also noticeably easier on the fingers.
     
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  11. lathoto

    lathoto Tele-Meister

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    I've had both. The 000-18 is balanced and perfect for fingerstyle guitar. The D-18 is at it's best in the hands of a flat picker. Songwriters use both.
     
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  12. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    A couple of observations. If you follow Martin's nomenclature (and they don't always), Dreads and OM's are long scale (25.4), fourteen fret triple oughts are short scale (there are exceptions). 12 fret 000's can be either, mostly I think they are short scale (24.9).

    You can debate tone woods all you want - people swear they can hear the slightest nuances, other blind tests they can't guess anything. If you believe the standard wording mahogany guitars are "wood", "cutting", "fundimental"..... or not. Rosewood are "warm", "complex", full of partials..... Traditionally in a bluegrass band the mahogany guitar is the lead, the rose plays the rhythm. Or not.

    Dreadnaughts are usually boomy and biased towards the bass - thats the air in the box and the size of the top. OM/000's tend to be a lot more balanced. Some people say the OM is the quintessential finger style guitar, the dread is the bluegrass cannon.

    I own two vintage martin dreads, a D18 and a D12-28. I don't play either of them because I don't like the size and the sound. One of these days I need to sell them.

    I make guitars and have built a number for my personal playing. I like small bodies for their balance, I like long scales for the higher tension (I do a lot of open and down tuning). I have built guitars with Sitka, Adi, Lutz and WRC tops - I like them all (I'm really impressed by Lutz and my personal go to OM is WRC). I have built guitars out of three kinds of rosewood, cocobolo and mahogany - they all sound like guitars. I have built single, double and triple oughts and OM's. I like them all

    Here for comparison are my wrc over cocobolo OM (my current go to) and a Sitka over EIR 12 fret 000. If anything the OM is more complex sounding, the 000 is "blusier"

    IMG_4478.JPG



    If I had only your choices it would be between the 000-18 and 000-28. If I was going to play primarily blues, bottleneck, roots music I would go with the 18. If I wanted to play a fair amount of "modern" fingerstyle (Kottke, Hedges, Skye...) I would lean towards the rose expecting it to sound a little more modern. I wouldn't buy one or the other without playing it tho.

    The UMGF has a pretty good comparison between the long scale OM and short scale 000

    https://umgf.com/000-vs-om-t5309.html

    https://umgf.com/000-28ec-and-om-28v-comparison-t5321.html
     
  13. Wallaby

    Wallaby Friend of Leo's

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    I have a 000-18 and an OM-18 and like them both really, really well. They're both red spruce and of course mahogany with scalloped bracing and IMO are both really choice guitars. Not vintage or collectible, but great, quality players.

    I don't get along with the awkward size and heft of dreadnoughts and the ( to me ) overwhelming bass. I am a fingerpicker and like to hear chord inversions and movement and clarity and the more balanced sound of the OM and 000 sound better to my ear.

    I also think it's easier to drive the tops of those guitars.
     
  14. Turtleneck

    Turtleneck Tele-Holic

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    Don't discount a 00-18. I've had mine for many years and it's the perfect "sit around" guitar. My D-28 is over at my son's house, it rarely gets played.

    He bought a new 000-18 and likes my 00 better!
     
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  15. GuitarsBuicks

    GuitarsBuicks Tele-Holic

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    Personally I use the "paddle selection" method when it comes to scale length. :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

    https://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~burchil/pm_canoe/paddle_size.html
     
  16. NateD81

    NateD81 Tele-Meister

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    This is super helpful, thank you!
     
  17. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'll throw out one more picture. These are three 12 fret guitars basically built to the Martin "ought" sizes. On the right is the sitka over EIR 000 that I had in my last post, long scale, great all around guitar with a definite blues bent. Center is a mahogany 00, its my tribute to those great cheap Depression era guitars like the 00-17 (original, not current). It just wants to play the blues and rarely gets into standard tuning. On the left is a single ought, some people would call it a parlor guitar. It is lutz over mad rose and is just the sweetest little thing to sit an pick with a nice cold beverage next to you. Each of these guys has its own voice and I love them all.

    IMG_5636-1.jpg

    I guess if you were to put Martin model numbers on them they would be 0-42, 00-17, 000-28, but with my own little twists.
     
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  18. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    One other thing about the 000-18 that delights me: it records extremely well. Throw a KM184 in front of it, a little light compression & reverb and it sounds just like the record. Ry Cooder used one for Paris, Texas.
     
  19. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    I’ve had both. Still have the 000-18.
     
  20. Recce

    Recce Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    CC631841-5972-4AC8-8BD5-271E574393AD.jpeg
    I have a 0000-18 Sinker Mahogany which is wonderful. It has the longer neck. You have been given a lot of good information.
     
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