Shopping for an acoustic - Martin or ?

JL_LI

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I’m not recommending a specific guitar. I’m strongly suggesting taking your time playing as many guitars as you can. I was looking for an acoustic to keep in California for when I visit the grandkids. I played everything I could find up to $2000. Gibson wasn’t for me. The action on new Martins was high, great for strumming but too high for the way I play. I liked the comfort of smaller body sizes but they were quiet played finger style. I got an education. That’s for sure. One Saturday, I walked into a mom and pop in Claremont and started playing. I took a dreadnaught down off the wall and fell in love. I couldn’t put it down. I’d never heard of the brand, Simon and Patrick. The owner said it was rosewood. I kept playing. This was the one.

It turns out that it’s a Showcase Rosewood, all solid wood with an Adirondack spruce top. It was used but in great condition. And the price was well south of $1000.

Amazing guitars are out there if you give yourself a chance to find them. I found mine.

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zombywoof

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I am a fingerpicker and it always surprises me the one spec those who play "fingerstyle" tend to ignore is string spacing at the bridge. Most of my guitars have a pretty generous string spread. While I cannot speak for others I do appreciate the extra room.

Other than that I am not much for recommending guitars to others. For me though the key to any guitar is finding that sweet spot and then figuring out how to exploit it. As example, I play a 1932 Gibson L1. The combination of age and the unbelievably light build (the whole guitar clocks in at 2 3/4 pounds) gives this instrument a hair trigger response. It is an amazing fingerpicker. But it is also not the best choice for an aggressive strummer. Too easy to overdrive the top.
 
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Chiogtr4x

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I had a 000-16SGT for a while. Great guitar, but I never bonded with it. I think it was the 12-fret slotted neck. The shorter neck on the larger body didn't work for me. Perhaps it was the wider board. But for fingerpicking, it sounded glorious.
A friend of mine has a Crafter ( all solid, Spruce/RW) acoustic just like this. Wide board, 12-fret with slotted headstock, but I think full scale. It is beautiful, fun player.

Check this out!
Me, with very nice import 'fake Martins' - all with dark 'vintage toner tops' :
L-R:
-My lefty buddy's Blueridge BR-160
- the cool Crafter
- my Blueridge 000 size BR-163 ( the 2 Blueridge models are identical in specs/material except body size, D vs. 000)
 

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TwangerWannabe

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For fingertstyle playing you cannot go wrong with a Waterloo WL-K.

It's one of the most dynamic and touch-sensitive/responsive guitars I've ever owned. Light as a feather and just does whatever you want it to do.

No offense to those recommending A&L, Blueridge and Breedlove, but OP has a really good budget and there are plenty of guitars within his budget that blow those brands out of the water.

Every Waterloo I've ever played or owned has been incredible.

EDIT: I thought OP had a budget of $3k-$4k, not $300-$400.

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ChicknPickn

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I think of my last acoustic guitar purchase. I went to the local Guitar Center and told the sales manager I wanted to play pretty much everything on the walls if he would be okay with that. His only requirement was that I ask for assistance for the stuff high on the walls. I was ready to spend $2500-3000 US. At the end of two days, I never would have thought the winner would be an Epiphone, but it was. I had to let go of a little snobbery. For me, what's on the headstock isn't so important these days.
 

Dukex

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I love Martins and Taylors (own both). But...


...for $2k (he'll take offers) I'd be all over this. Crazy price for a Webber. I still have my superb Webber 1996 Cedar/Rosewood OM that is one of the best fingerstyle guitars I've ever had my hands on--not even Santa Cruz or Collings could seduce me away.

I'd also consider a Larrivee. Great guitars.
 

Cali Dude

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I love Martins and Taylors (own both). But...


...for $2k (he'll take offers) I'd be all over this. Crazy price for a Webber. I still have my superb Webber 1996 Cedar/Rosewood OM that is one of the best fingerstyle guitars I've ever had my hands on--not even Santa Cruz or Collings could seduce me away.

I'd also consider a Larrivee. Great guitars.
I second this. The Larrivee L-09 is a fantastic finger style flat top guitar.
 

oregomike

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Backstory is this: I have a Martin 000-18 that is absolutely wonderful, I love it. I have a Gibson hummingbird that is also great, but I always gravitate to my Martin. I’m going through a divorce and am parting with the Hummingbird because my ex loves it and is learning to play and I’m too nice. Anyway, opportunity has arisen to buy a new guitar.

I play 99% finger style, and what I love about my Martin is that it’s so incredibly rsponsive. I love having a second acoustic so I can have one in standard tuning and another in a different type of tuning.

I’m most interested in Martins, but open to others. Neck profiles never bother me, so that’s not a consideration. I do like 1.75” nut widths, however, and I want a guitar that is going to be responsive. Don’t we all? I’d prefer to keep things in the 3-4 range, but could be flexible for something special.
I love my Collings OM1A-T, and prefer it over the Martin I had. The standard is the OM1-T which is sitka vs adi, but both are amazing guitars.

 

telestratosonic

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I’m not recommending a specific guitar. I’m strongly suggesting taking your time playing as many guitars as you can. I was looking for an acoustic to keep in California for when I visit the grandkids. I played everything I could find up to $2000. Gibson wasn’t for me. The action on new Martins was high, great for strumming but too high for the way I play. I liked the comfort of smaller body sizes but they were quiet played finger style. I got an education. That’s for sure. One Saturday, I walked into a mom and pop in Claremont and started playing. I took a dreadnaught down off the wall and fell in love. I couldn’t put it down. I’d never heard of the brand, Simon and Patrick. The owner said it was rosewood. I kept playing. This was the one.

It turns out that it’s a Showcase Rosewood, all solid wood with an Adirondack spruce top. It was used but in great condition. And the price was well south of $1000.

Amazing guitars are out there if you give yourself a chance to find them. I found mine.

View attachment 969810
I have one in mahogany. $1075 CAD two years ago. It's loud and it projects nicely. I sold my Gibson J-45.
 

BramptonRob1958

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Love my Martin's D18 and HD28.

I would have added a 3rd except I came across a Furch Guitars and was floored.

The build quality, fit, finish, playability and tone woods were reminiscent of my Martins. The price however, was not. The price was far less. Do yourself a favour, find a dealer and play one...the worst thing that happens is you don't like them at all and can cross it off your list.

Here's the US link..... I am not affiliated. I'm a Canadian.....


Good Luck.

PS I wouldn't give up my Martin's but I wouldn't give up my Furch either.

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Wyzsard

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You wish to keep it in the 3-4 range?

I recommend the A&L Roadhouse, though it's gone up in price lately. I paid 450 for mine, but now I see them over 500.

View attachment 969793

In all seriousness, if you are open to a budget guitar, this plays well, and extremely in-tune with itself.
Was looking at those last night. Might be my next guitar.
 

Gabrielle84

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Add another one to the list. Iris, Made in VT by the folks at Circle Strings. Various models (I own the CH model after being encouraged to give it a try. Fell in love with the feel and sound, but it may be smaller than you want). The folks at Northern Lights in Littleton, NH have been wonderful to me over the years (as a NEK Vt girl).

Here’s one video on YT

 

kuch

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The action on new Martins was high, great for strumming but too high for the way I play.

The Martins I currently have are a D28, 000-28 EC, and a 000-18E Retro. I have gotten my grandsons a 000-1R and 000X1AE. On all of these guitars, the first thing I did was lower the action by filing down both the nut and saddle. They all play great to this day and have perfect action...

That guitar you got looks nice too. But I wouldn't discount any guitar because it wasn't set up the way I like it.....
 

H. Mac

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My Martin 00-21 is by far the best acoustic guitar I’ve played in the past 58 years. Responsive, powerful, well-balanced, and easy to play.
 

backalleyblues

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I second the Collings, couple friends have them and they sound great, excellent for fingerpicking. Another to look at is Goodall, though they are at the very top of your range, assuming you meant $4,000...

Franc Robert
 

Swirling Snow

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The action on new Martins was high, great for strumming but too high for the way I play
It's good it's too high. It should be too high. If it's too low, they can't cut it down to your preference. :)

Mind you, in my day, you had to have a luthier in the shop to be a Gibson or a Martin dealer. Obviously, they've relaxed their standards a bit.
 
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