Stupid Deal Martin -- opinions?

KC

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SDOTD today is a

Martin Special D All-Solid Dreadnought​


for $699. Seems like a screaming deal on a real Martin, even if it is from Mexico and comes with a gig bag. Might need one in the near future (my 000-18 might need a neck reset, which is a long project). Anybody played one?
 

FMA

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Seven bills for an all-solid Martin?

Dammit. I need someone to keep me away from my credit card.

From the specs, I'd call it a working person's D-18.

Guy in my band has one of the lower end Martins he uses for gigs - his D-18 stays home - and it's very nice. Sounds like a Martin.
 

schoolie

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Spruce top, and sapele back and sides. Doesn't seem like a great deal. There are a lot of options in that price range. I would go Recording King 318 or 328 which is truly a great value guitar.
 
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KokoTele

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It does seem like a really good value. I'm pretty sure the guitars with this joint have extra bracing in the shoulders like the bolt-neck ones do. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it will change the voice a bit.

For the price, I don't see anything wrong with it.

I think this is a special model for MF. There are other guitars also sold as the "Special D" model, but those are $1350-ish and have mahogany back and sides instead of sapele. Tonally, I don't think you'll notice much difference. Sapele is a kind of mahogany, and the easy way to distinguish between the two is that sapele has a striped pattern in the grain. I think it's quite beautiful.
 

nickmsmith

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I bought a lower end Martin on SDOD a few years ago, was not impressed with much about it. Sounded OK and played ok after a saddle sanding. Plugged in, it was one of the worst sounding acoustics I’ve ever owned. Worse than the beginner level Ibanez/Yamahas/Epiphones I’ve owned, by far. No exaggeration.

This one seems to be better quality though, but without a pickup. Good thing was, I sold it for very little loss.

I wouldn’t buy it for the simple fact that I can’t play it before buying. About half the time, I end up with buyer’s remorse, when I can’t try before I buy.

Personally, I’d rather have a Yamaha A Series with electronics, and save $150. But it isn’t all solid wood, FWIW.

I don’t think I’d spring for a lower end Martin/Taylor again, after my experiences with them. Not that they’re awful, I just think other brands make a more interesting/better guitar in that price range.



Sorry for the small book on the subject, but TLDR is: I would only buy an acoustic if I could try it first.

But if you do buy it, safe to say you can get most of your money back in resale due to brand name alone.
 
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wblynch

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I got a Special D a few years back. Made in Nazareth, PA. Solid mahogany and spruce with rosewood fretboard and bridge, Has a satin lacquer finish and came with a proper green case. Smells amazing, lightweight, sounds like a Martin dread should and plays great. I guess I got lucky because it seems you can’t get the same thing any more.

After all that I would still be interested to find out how good the new, lower priced version is.
 

pope858

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It is interesting that Martin has moved production of "solid wood" guitars to Mexico. Previously it was the laminated HPL bodies and the multi laminated neck, which tended to be on the heavy side made there. I can see some subtle differences. It appears to have a laminated piece down at the neck heal, instead of CFM's one piece neck. "Select hardwood" spec for the neck, could be anything from Mahogany, Spanish Cedar to?? The M&T neck joint is pretty well established, although purists argue it's value compared to a traditional dovetail. I'm sure it is a decent sounding D sized guitar, and at $699 as the "SDOTD" it seems to be a fair value.
 

bottlenecker

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Spruce top, and sapele back and sides. Doesn't seem like a great deal. There are a lot of options in that price range. I would go Recording King 318 or 328 which is truly a great value guitar.

A lot of all solid dreads in this price range? I sure don't know about many, but those recording kings look interesting. I'd buy the OP martin and a 318 and send back the one I didn't like.
 

howardlo

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I bought one of the MIM all solid wood OOO He’s just over a year ago. Really nice guitar. Of course fairly small bodied (my preference), but plays and sounds great and still has that ‘Martin’ sound. Even my wife was impressed by the sound of it when I got it and she hears me play acoustics all the time.

Wasn’t sure how I would feel about the Richlite fretboard but really like it a lot. Much prefer it to the Indian Laurel or Pau Ferro that is being used so much now. Nice and dark, has a faint wood grain molded into it. Seems very hard and I think will be very durable.

Solid spruce top and solid nato sides and back. Pleked at the factory. Came with a nice gig bag. A really nice guitar for $500. Since I got it has become the most played of my 17 acoustics (one a late 1970’s D-18). Never been a fan of dreads but bought it from the guitar player in my bluegrass band back in the very early 80’s and got a good deal on it (I played mandolin and sang).
 

Silverface

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Not expensive but not anything special, either.

Having played bluegrass and other acoustic styles for decades I'm partial to Martins and high-end copies - but I do not care for modern neck profiles and Martin's standard non-scalloped bracing.

The mortise & tenon joint is fine and transfers harmonics generated by the whole "platform" just fine. And it will eventually "play in" and develop better tone than when new.

But unless they went to a lighter-braced system for the top - and this next one is key - a SMALLER bridgeplate than the standard D-18's 28's etc - I'd pass. The large bridgeplates can be, and surprisingly the smaller prewar-style maple bridgeplates are stronger and prevent top "bellying".

I DO think, however the modern neck profile is far more comfortable than Taylor's, and if I were shopping for an acoustic for general home playing I'd go with one of the new Martins vs anything I've played in roughly the same price range
 




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