The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #25939 Message #308943
Posted By: MK
30-Sep-00 - 10:18 AM
Thread Name: Martin 58. Gibson 2. Holy Cow!
Subject: RE: Martin 58. Gibson 2. Holy Cow!
I guess too it has to do with one's experience, history and exposure to certain brands, and being influenced by those who's opinions you respect. If you've gravitated towards a certain name, you become partial to it over others, and "you like what you like". It's human nature and is entirely understandable. It's like comparing one brand of automobile to another. They all get you where you want to go. It's a matter of the comfort of the ride.
The first guitar I ever had was a late 60s Gibson J-45. I kept it about 3 or 4 months. It was fine for learning chords on. Then I started hanging out with a friend who played an Ovation Balladeer...and from playing his, I decided I liked the sound and the playability of it better, so I swapped the Gibson, for a sunburst Ovation. I liked this instrument a lot, and thought the neck was great on it, and except for the tendancy of the bowl back to slide, which forced me to wear a guitar strap when playing it, I enjoyed this instrument. A while later I met a guitar player who taught me the basics of fingerpicking. Happened that he was a Martin fanatic, and one his first comments when he saw my Ovation was (a very opinionated) "we've got to get you a real guitar" (by that meaning a Martin.) It happened that he used a 1944 D-28, that blew my mind both in terms of playability and, tone. Together we spent weeks going around and playing D-28s and D-35s that were for sale privately and publicly...and eventually found a particularly sweet '68 D-28. I developed a real love for this instrument, and a real love for Martins in general...and it was to be the first of many Martins I've since owned. Back then (talking late 60's early 70s) there wasn't any serious competition to Martin (no Santa Cruzs, Taylors or Collings and Larrivee's were just hitting the market but were unproven.) If you didn't play a Martin then it was either a Gibson, Guild, Mossman or Washburn. Then of course in the early to mid 70s guitar quality from Gibson and Martin took a dip, and it was around this time that pro players started looking for an alternative as these newer manufacturers started to emerge. This mini era of declining quality helped put among others, Larrivee on the map.
These days I try to keep somewhat of an opened mind when checking out instruments for purchase. Naturally because of my own personal experiences with Martins I gravitate towards them first. But I try not to let a brand name influence me in the way it used to. In addition to my Martins, I also own a rosewood/spruce Collings OM, and while pricey, it is probably one of the finest instruments I've ever played. It cannot be faulted in any manner for its workmanship, materials, or playability (which IMHO is flawless.) I have also played a Santa Cruz OM, which again impressed me as an extremely fine instrument -one that I would have purchased in a heartbeat if I didn't already have another OM. I used to have an attitude that there are Martins and then there's everything else...and that people who bought anything else were doing it more so to make a statement in deliberately snubbing Martin. I no longer see things this way. It's a matter of personal preference. And everyone's relationship with their guitar of choice should be respected, even if our own biases sometimes tend to get in the way.