Martin D-16GT vs D-16RGT

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by Telarkaster, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. Telarkaster

    Telarkaster Friend of Leo's

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    I was wondering if anyone has tried them side by side and could offer their opinion on the two.

    I tried both, but at different stores. I know the D-16GT has mahogany sides and back, whereas the D-16RGT has rosewood. Both have spruce tops and that "Martin sound". Is the D-16RGT darker because of the rosewood?

    Or does the side and back material matter at all and the main difference is the ornamentation and inlay?
     
  2. RickG501

    RickG501 Tele-Afflicted

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    I played them side by side. The D-16GT is a fabulous guitar for the money, I personally liked the D-16RGT, just a bit better. The tone was a little warmer, to me, and the individual notes on chords sounded a little better defined. Projection was about the same on both. The R with the electrics and the cutaway was very good too, it had a little less ring on the high end though, not sure if the strings were a little older or the cutaway took some of the ring out of the high end. All in all, my fave was the D-16RGT, simply a stellar guitar for the money. IMHO.
     
  3. johnnykf

    johnnykf Tele-Holic

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    I went with the D16GT. It was less booming, crisper sounding, about the same volume. Plus I already have 2 rosewood Gibsons that give me plenty of bottom It's a matter of taste I guess. It has become my go-to acoustic.
     
  4. Stefan

    Stefan Tele-Afflicted

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    I have the (mahogany) D16-GT. (I just started a thread on this subject, Mahogany vs. Rosewood) I haven´t tried the RGT, but I prefer the mahogany tone in general. It rings out a bit more, I think.

    The 16-series a great! Lot´s of guitar for the money. If I went for a high-end Martin I would only pay extra for the cosmetics. I wouldn´t be able do it justice.
     
  5. RickG501

    RickG501 Tele-Afflicted

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    Crisper.... that's a really good way to describe it, good word Johnny!
    Rings out more....definitely, the harmonics are more ethereal and the high end has more of a sparkle to it. I say there's a place for both if thinking in terms of using the guitar as the tone you want on a song.

    Let's say you want to play to Pink Floyd tunes. I'd have to pick the rosewood for the lead guitar parts on "Wish You Were Here", and on "Shine on You Crazy Diamond", I'd go with the mahogany backed guitar....what say you?
     
  6. johnnykf

    johnnykf Tele-Holic

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    After being a Gibson Rosewood guy for decades, the D16GT made me a Martin mahog convert. Now I have an OM18v on order, a smaller mahog Martin, should be here in a month!!
     
  7. Telarkaster

    Telarkaster Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks guys for the replies.

    Well, they must both be good guitars, because they aren't there anymore. I saw the D-16GT on Monday, went back on Wednesday and the salesman told me that he sold it on Tuesday. Someone came in, strummed it and walked out with it. Why can't I make that kind of impulse purchase?

    So I went back to the other store and the D-16RGT was gone too. Rats. Oh well, it was meant to be.

    They did have a really nice D-16R LSH (Rosewood, large sound hole). It has the neck I've been looking for: 1 3/4 inch across the nut, thick neck. Felt perfect in my hands and rang sweeter than any of the others I played, including the D-35 and the D-18. So why didn't I buy it on the spot? Because with tax it would have been more than $2000. Oh yeah, that's why I'm not an impulse shopper!

    The more D-16s I play, the more I realize what nice guitars they are.
     
  8. RickG501

    RickG501 Tele-Afflicted

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    I've yet to play a LSH, was it possible to identify what difference in sound it provides?

    It seems, (in theory, to my mind anyway) that although more sound can escape the body cavity, there would be slightly less surface area to the top therefore, less top to vibrate. This confuses me.:)
     
  9. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

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    I played it against new D-28, a used HD-28 I did not buy and the used HD-28 I did buy. I thought it had tone more like an HD. At the time the lower prices and opened up tone of the used classic models stood out and I did not think or care about the wider nut. Now I'd like a wider nut but find matching or beating the tone my HD-28 has will cost a lot of money. I think the LSH 16 series is probably too new to find a used one with ease but gets features many want in a 16 series vs. 28 series price.
     
  10. Telarkaster

    Telarkaster Friend of Leo's

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    Hard to say how much was due to the LSH, but it was quite the guitar! Gloss top, sides and back, nice inlay, rosewood fretboard instead of micarta,...this was a high end guitar with all the frills. The main difference from the D-18s and 28s is the neck joint I believe. The 16 is Mortise and Tenon, easier to fix and less labour intensive, but some will argue that it's not as loud as dovetails. Whatever, these 16s are great.

    I've heard the argument that if you're going to pay that much ($2000) for a D-16, then you might as well spend just a little more and get a D-18, 28, 35 etc... My point is that if I had to pick one guitar from the batch I played last night based on sound and feel, it would be the D-16R LSH. The D-35 was nice too, but didn't ellicit as much of a visceral reaction in me. Probably because the 16r lsh neck felt so good in my hand.

    As for the sound Rick, hard to describe but the guitar was alive. Loud, bright, dark, complex, words become meaningless...

    I found this review last night after I played it:

    http://www.maurysmusic.com/todd_s_martin_hd_16r_lsh_guitar_review
     
  11. RickG501

    RickG501 Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks.

    I guess I better play one!! That review said it had an ebony fret boar and bridge..nice. I think the d-16s are really good buys, and the sound great, no question they are the value leader in the martin product line, to me anyway.

    edit to add:
    It seems there's about a $600-$700 difference in the street price, substantial, between the the 16R and the LSH.
     
  12. Telarkaster

    Telarkaster Friend of Leo's

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    Rick, I could have sworn that it had a rosewood fretboard. I've seen discrepancies in product descriptions on Musician's Friend, the Martin site and what I see in the stores, but then again I'm no expert so what do I know! It's possible they change the specs without updating the site...

    Just checked the Martin site and it's striped ebony:

    http://martinguitar.com/guitars/choosing/guitars.php?p=z&g=h&m=HD-16R LSH

    It's official: I'm out to lunch!

    One thought: the large sound hole will make it impossible for me to use my Dean Markley pop in sound hole pickup. Finding a sound hole plug to cut down feedback if I install a Fishman under the saddle pickup will be hard too. As beautiful a guitar as this is, it's strictly for playing unplugged.
     
  13. RickG501

    RickG501 Tele-Afflicted

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    Telearkaster,

    It's hard to tell the wood on a fretboard sometimes in the store. Ebony looks like rose wood sometimes, in the pic on the Martin website the fretboard looks more like rosewood, but the bridge looks like striped ebony.

    I like the Herringbone on the top though, looks vewwy, vewwy, kool. Big price jump though.
     
  14. Telarkaster

    Telarkaster Friend of Leo's

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    Hey Rick, I have an update: I went back to the store yesterday and played the D16R LSH again.

    It was very airy sounding, almost angelic. The wider neck made it more suitable for fingerpicking, and yet it strummed very nicely.

    I tried it back to back with a D-28 and after much going back and forth I think the D-28 had a slight edge, it had more body, more "Martin growl". Plus there was the psychological factor that it was a D-28, a guitar with it's own mystique. I hesitate to write that because I don't want to admit that I get blinded by such frivolous untangibles, but the $2000 price tag kept reminding me of that fact. That said, I felt really comfortable on the D-28 and let my fingers do the playing, a sign that I was bonding with it.

    The D-16R LSH was only a couple of hundred dollars less than the D-28, so we're talking about the same ball park price wise. That means that it comes down to personal preference, what kind of sound and feel you're going for.

    With me it really depends on what day of the week it is! Same as with my guitars: sometimes I want the delicate sound of my Strat, sometimes I want the gutsier sound of a Tele.

    They also had a brand new D16-GT that was ok, but the E and B strings kept going out of tune. I'm hoping that it's just because the strings are new and need to be worked in. Stopping and retuning kept me from bonding with it, couldn't get into a comfort zone with it. Otherwise it was a pretty good guitar, but I kept reaching for the D-28.

    I left the store more confused than ever!
     
  15. RickG501

    RickG501 Tele-Afflicted

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    Angelic? Have to find one then. They didn't have one at my favorite Martin dealer. So I guess I'll check out the other favorite across town. Thanks for the update.

    Sounds like your trying to figure out why you should let a coupla hunnerd stand in the way of owning what you really want, heh?

    D-28, really nice...:cool:
     
  16. Stefan

    Stefan Tele-Afflicted

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    My D16-GT has Micarta fretboard. Any disadvantages? It feels good and sounds good. I don´t have to worry about sharp fretedges sticking out and the wear on the fretboard is minimal. My only concern is that it´s not real wood.
     
  17. Telarkaster

    Telarkaster Friend of Leo's

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    Actually, it's more like a $1000! I woke up on Saturday thinking I was going to get the DCX1E, but made the mistake of playing the D-16s and the D-28.

    The DCX1E is just what I wanted originally: affordable, cut away and I can plug it in to play with my band. At just under $1000 it fits my budget and I won't be as nervous about playing out with it. Plus it sounds nicer than others in its price range. But I always wonder how other guitars sound, so I keep looking to build a frame of reference.

    The D-16R LSH has a unique sound and feel, but the sound hole is a problem for my pop in pickup.

    The D-28 is really nice, but at $2000 plus tax it's not something that I would feel comfortable taking out to jams and playing. Did I mention that it's nice? ;) One day I will own one, but the circumstances have to be right.

    After playing these guitars the DCX1E doesn't seem as attractive, except for its specs and price.

    Stefan, I've played a few D-16s now and never even noticed that it was Micarta. That certainly isn't a deal breaker, I don't care if it's not made of wood. The D-16GT is nice enough not to worry about that. Thanks for the info!

    I'm playing these nice acoustics to learn more about them, to pick out the differences in sound and feel and figure out what to look for in a guitar. It's a great experience!
     
  18. Stuco

    Stuco Poster Extraordinaire

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    They are both fine guitars, you can't lose with either. That being said, hog tends to be more "bell like" and "Clear" while rosewood tends to be "deeper" with more overtones. If you can afford it, I would spend a little more and get a standard Martin like a D-18 or D-28. They are the traditional guitars that have been in the lineup for a LONG time and will always be the "standard".
     
  19. RickG501

    RickG501 Tele-Afflicted

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    Telearkaster,
    Did you get to play the D-16RGT? I thought it was better sounding than the mahogany b/s D-16GT, and much closer to the D-28 benchmark. I really couln't tell much diff in the D-16RGT and the D-16, other than the full gloss body, sound wise they were almost a clone. I would love to have one, and will, if I can turn some houses this summer.

    I'm really wanting a rosewood b/s dreadnaught, I love my mahogany backed dread...but...sigh. If I can sell enough this summer I might spring for a D-35, that's what I really want.
     
  20. RickG501

    RickG501 Tele-Afflicted

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    Last edited: Apr 22, 2008
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