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Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversations

olddude 02 Apr 08 - 08:50 AM
Bryn Pugh 02 Apr 08 - 09:54 AM
Escapee 02 Apr 08 - 11:11 AM
kendall 02 Apr 08 - 11:32 AM
Acorn4 02 Apr 08 - 11:45 AM
Wesley S 02 Apr 08 - 12:20 PM
olddude 02 Apr 08 - 12:22 PM
olddude 02 Apr 08 - 12:30 PM
Wesley S 02 Apr 08 - 12:43 PM
Grab 02 Apr 08 - 12:52 PM
PoppaGator 02 Apr 08 - 01:21 PM
olddude 02 Apr 08 - 01:29 PM
Wesley S 02 Apr 08 - 01:42 PM
PoppaGator 02 Apr 08 - 02:31 PM
Lowden Jameswright 02 Apr 08 - 02:50 PM
kendall 02 Apr 08 - 03:05 PM
Wesley S 02 Apr 08 - 03:31 PM
Big Mick 02 Apr 08 - 06:07 PM
olddude 02 Apr 08 - 08:36 PM
kendall 02 Apr 08 - 09:32 PM
Owlkat 03 Apr 08 - 01:33 AM
Mooh 03 Apr 08 - 09:02 AM
Backwoodsman 03 Apr 08 - 11:27 AM
olddude 03 Apr 08 - 11:33 AM
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Subject: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversations
From: olddude
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 08:50 AM

Some 40+ years ago, I purchased a Martin D-28 and have played it everyday since I purchased it. The sound out of the guitar is like the singing of angels.

Recently, I played a new Taylor. What a beautiful beautiful sounding guitar. When I was a young man an old timer once told me that every guitar is as unique as a woman.

I read in the forum about Martin vs Taylor. I would humbly suggest that the guitar that really presses the buttons inside you - that makes you want to pick it up and not put it down is the guitar you want. What really works for you is the one for you. I would much rather have a low end guitar that I would pick up and play then a high end one that sits in the case. I have seen so many people in my life who will go out and buy the most expensive only to lose interest and it sits. For me my Martin presses my buttons only because it is an old friend of mine that has been with me for 40+ years.   I would make friends with a Taylor anytime for they sound beautiful also. I played an old old silvertone that was not expensive at all in it's hey day and now sounds really good. Not a Martin or a Taylor but very nice. However, my friend who owns it loves it and it is the only guitar for him. That is what I am trying to say, his old silvertone was a Marriage for him. Find the guitar that will be your Marriage.


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversations
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 09:54 AM

My Tanglewood does that for me.

She might have been luthiered for me.


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversation
From: Escapee
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 11:11 AM

I had a similar experience, Olddude. I met a Gibson Hummingbird in 1970, and I soon stopped playing guitars in music stores because I realized I would never find anything like it. I played a chord on the Bird and the sound engulfed me like a huge wave. I haven't gotten over it yet. It's still exciting every time I pick it up. It's getting a little beat up looking because I can't seem to let go of it long enough to send it to a repair shop. You can hear similar stories about almost any kind of guitar. Nobody hears an instrument like the player. The player knows whats going into the guitar, the rest of us only hear what comes out.
Fair winds,
SKP


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversations
From: kendall
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 11:32 AM

Everyone knows my opinion of Taylors


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversations
From: Acorn4
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 11:45 AM

It really does depend on feel. I own two inexpensive guitars made by Seagull and Simon and Patrick, the first for fingerpicking, the second for flatpick/strum -I go to a lot of singarounds and do the occasional gig. You don't want a guitar that's too boomy for strumming chords otherwise you drown the vocal. Also, both guitars have been dropped and had beer splilled on them; If I had a top of the range model, this would be an issue. I am actually thinking, at some point, of getting a Martin, but most likely it would not go out of the house too often, probably mainly being used for recording.

There is a temptation to think that a more expensive guitar will make you a better guitarist - only true by a fraction. There is also the question of expectation. If you stand up to do a slot on an open mike with a top of the range model, people will think "this chap must be good with a guitar like that". Disappointment may ensue unless you are Martin Simpson ! I have always tried not to fall into the "menopausal men with expensive guitars" trap. I'd sooner say "if I make a bit of money playing, I might get a really good guitar" rather than "I need a better guitar to make me better".

I went to a friend's daughter's wedding some time ago and the bridegroom asked if he could borrow my Simon and Patrick rather than use his father in law's Martin as he preferred the sound.

Having said all this, if I won the lottery tomorrow, I expect I would invest in a classic instrument.


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversations
From: Wesley S
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 12:20 PM

I have always tried not to fall into the "menopausal men with expensive guitars" trap.

Well said - It's unfortunate but a lot of us - men especially - tend to play the "my guitar can beat up your guitar" game. It's a silly game and everyone loses.

Having said that - the truth is that my 1967 Martin D-18 can fanny spank any Taylor out there.


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversations
From: olddude
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 12:22 PM

The points you folks make is so very well taken. I have mostly played folk music my whole life and put myself through college playing that type of music in that era of history the Martin was the choice. Now I am thinking I would like to try and play a bit more classical for my own enjoyment (I don't play out anymore) and the D-28 would not be good for that. A local guy has a Sigma Martin cs-5 that seems to feel pretty good. He wants 100 bucks. I know nothing about Sigma any suggestions I think it is made in Japan


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversations
From: olddude
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 12:30 PM

Hey Wes
The D-18 is wonderful. I also had a D-35 Martin 12 string I bought in 1967. I gave it to my brother (another old geezer) last year as I never played it since I have been glued to my D-28 for 40+ years. He loves the sound


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversations
From: Wesley S
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 12:43 PM

I had a friend with a D-35 12 string from around that era that had a top cave-in due to neglect. I was amazed that it was still playable and sounded just fine when he had someone repair it.


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversations
From: Grab
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 12:52 PM

Ditto with my Lowden. The only instrument I've heard which sounds better was another Lowden - at three times the price. I still play the occasional guitar in shops, but not seriously. It's the difference between going out on the pull on a Friday night or idly watching the pretty girl who's crossing at the lights in front of you.

Having said that, the reason I traded up was mainly because my old plywood Crafter's frets were worn down. The Crafter is still a nice instrument, and I still play it occasionally. Five years on, it still needs a refret though - one of these days I'll get round to doing it. As much as I love the Lowden, if I'd got the Crafter refretted then I would still have been able to do just as much with it as I do with the Lowden.

Guitar-wise, there are things that'll improve your playing. But they are simply having suitably intact frets (ie. not worn down), having good action on the instrument, and to some extent having a neck that fits your hand size. The most important are the first two, and they can be achieved on just about any guitar so long as it doesn't suffer from some physical woes like a warped neck. If your guitar's neck setup works, to a large extent it really doesn't matter what it's attached to, because you'll still be able to play just as well. You might not get the same volume or tone, sure, but that's irrelevant to the quality of playing.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversations
From: PoppaGator
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 01:21 PM

I got a D-18 Martin for college graduation in 1969. At the time, that was the cheapest Martin dread available, and the most extravagant possible choice for my family. We were not very affluent, but we always tried to hold to maxim of purchasing quality rather than quantity (or "flash") whenever possible, and looked upon this instrument as a lifetime investment, which it has proven to be. I'm very glad that we didn't spend the same money ($295) on a fancier model of an essentially inferior guitar.

At the time, I had thought that the only difference between the D-18 and the higher-priced 28 and 35 was the inessential trim ~ mother-of-pearl inlays, etc. I have since learned that the back-and-sides tonewood is different as well: relatively common mahogany for the 18, rosewood for the higher-priced models. Now, for what it's worth, I've come to the conclusion that mahogany is just as good or maybe even better for my purposes, for the way I play, than rosewood. Or maybe I've come to play the way I do because of the properties of my instrument.

(Mahogany is said to emphasize the separate sounds of the individual strings while rosewood provides a more blended chordal sound. I am just passing this observation along, not necessarily adding my own endorement of its truth.)

For several years early in my days of ownership, I gave this guitar a pretty rough time, playing loud and hard on the streets in all weather as a full-time busker. The spruce top, in particular, is quite visibly scratched and battered (though not nearly so badly as Wille Nelson's or Glen Hansard's ~ no holes in mine!). I consider the markings as a "patina" and even a sort of badge of honor. For those of you pampering your new guitars, let me observe that one scratch (the first one) is hard to take, a highly visible "wound," but a hundred or a thousand scratches combine to look much less drastic, and tend to add "character" to your instrument.


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversations
From: olddude
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 01:29 PM

Mine looks like it has been played for 40 years for sure but still the sound is what counts. The d-18 was superb back then, so was the d-28. I had to take a loan out to buy it for the 4o0 bucks I paid or so. I don't know if there was a difference or not sound wise (I doubt it). I just fell in love with the 28 model. Didn't care about the rosewood just for me I liked the sound and feel and I suppose all my folk heros had the 28 so I wanted one like theirs. I probably would have fell in love with a model 18 also. Back then I doubt there was any difference in quality or sound


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversations
From: Wesley S
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 01:42 PM

A local singer songwriter Brad Thompson plays gigs on a regular basis with this jewel of a Takamine


Brad Thompsons guitar damage


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversations
From: PoppaGator
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 02:31 PM

Earlier, I had mentioned Glen Hansard, winner of the "Best Song" Oscar for one of his songs in the remarkable film "Once." His beat-to-shit but truly wonderful-sounding guitar is a Takamine like Brad Thompson's (see link above), with very similar damage.

Neither of these guitars have pickguards. I've had plenty of chances to view Hansard's from various angles in the film and also in a few web videos, and there is no trace of an outline where a pickguard might have once existed before falling off or being taken off.

Did Takemine sell these things without pickguards? What a shame. Their earlier "lawsuit" models were such close copies of Martin D's that I'm sure they included Martin-clone pickguards. When they responded to the threat of a lawsuit by creating a newly designed headstock (and put it on the same dread-clone neck and body), they apparently eliminated the pickguard as well. Bad idea.

If my D-18 had come with no pickguard, it would have holes it in, too. I have serious scarring above and below the pickguard area, but nothing even nearly all-the-way-though the spruce.


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversations
From: Lowden Jameswright
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 02:50 PM

"people will think "this chap must be good with a guitar like that". Disappointment may ensue unless you are Martin Simpson!"

.. and Martin's choice is Sobell - now you'd think with his name he'd buy Martins wouldn't you? (wonder why he doesn't - hmmmm....)


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversations
From: kendall
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 03:05 PM

Wesley S, you just stuck your neck way out!

I hereby challenge you to a slam off. F# minors at 200 yards. Chords to be held for a minimum of 5 minutes without buzzing, or being muffled.

I had a great Martin D-28 and I know their weakness, high action. If you lower the action they are no louder than any other guitar.


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversations
From: Wesley S
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 03:31 PM

I'll be there with my capo on.....


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversations
From: Big Mick
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 06:07 PM

I play a Canadian built (that is important to me) Larrivee D-05. It is a wonderful guitar. It has mahogany sides and back and I would second what PoppaGator said (I think it was PG?)with regard to the sound. This guitar really belongs in the hands of a better picker, as it is definitely a picker's guitar. The individual clarity of the strings is mighty. That happens to work pretty well in double strummed reels and the like, and in a band with a banjo, mando, and fiddle, it projects well enough to create a strong rhythm line.

But I agree that there is no need to spend large sums for a great guitar. My favorite guitar ever, as I have said on a number of occasions, was a cedar topped Seagull S6 that I paid $220 bucks for. I have never played a guitar since that had the action, and the sweet sound that guitar had. I miss it, and curse the baggage handlers that destroyed it.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversations
From: olddude
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 08:36 PM

Hey did you folks ever try using Martin Bluegrass strings? I just put on a set, My goodness they sound great. Beautiful ring to them. I never used them before and very delighted with what I hear.


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversations
From: kendall
Date: 02 Apr 08 - 09:32 PM

I always used Martin Bluegrass strings on my old J 45 Gibson, but the Taylor prefers D'Addario phosper bronze.


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversation
From: Owlkat
Date: 03 Apr 08 - 01:33 AM

Meow Y'all,
I find this is an fascinating thread, because I have just bought a new guitar. I used to always buy used, and do quite well, but over the past several years, the sleepers just seemed to have faded away. So, I took a chance on an all solid wood mahogany Recording King (Asian OM copy). You could probably find it cheaper in a big box music store. At Larsen's Music in Victoria, BC, I paid around 575 cdn with taxes. This price included a supplied fitted arch-top hardshell case. I think I did okay, in the end.
My main reason was to change to a smaller body (being shorter of limb, and female of form), and not have to spend the thousands I didn't have for a (fill in the blank). I'd been playing a Cort Earth 50 ply side solid top dreadnaught, which has a beautiful D-18ish sound, and scalloped frets (199 bucks, no kidding) but I can't finger pick on it anymore without shoulder pain. It is a killer for flat-picking though. I came close to selling it once, but I've learned my lesson and won't sell it in hopes of finding another jewel down the road.
I can now finger pick and slide on my new guitar, without pain, and this alone has definitely improved my playing, precision, and enjoyment. It took a little bit to get used to the different tonal spread, but it's proving to be quite a pleasant little sleeper.
My point, and I do have one, is that playing comfort can have a huge positive effect on the perception of sound and the satisfaction of playing one particular instrument over another. I believe that neck contour and width is also very important to pay attention to. Those of us who struggle with big body instruments would do well to investigate the smaller body instruments. I've found some real sleepers under 1000, if few of them are domestically built.   
Both guitars were built in China, and I have a twinge of political angst now and then, but I would like to think that luthiers everywhere put the same love into their work, and hope that the new owner will love them as much if not more.
Cheerio my deario,
Owlkat.


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversation
From: Mooh
Date: 03 Apr 08 - 09:02 AM

The day I went shopping for a Martin or Taylor cutaway, I came home with the intent to get a Beneteau non-cutaway. The slippery slope continued through three guitars (6, 12, baritone) before unemployment forced me into temporary retirement from guitar purchases. Glad I bought when I did because I can't afford Beneteaus anymore. They are the standard by which I judge other guitars.

Every time I visit guitar shops (12th Fret, Folkway etc) and admire the wonderful delights available to my credit card, I come home and realize I've already got what I want and need. Beyond a certain level of fit, finish, playability, and tone, we're only comparing apples and oranges, and bananas, and peaches, and...

I'm currently waiting on another Johua House guitar (a cutaway to go with the 6 and bouzouki).

Fwiw:
www.beneteauguitars.com
www.houseguitars.com

I love to play other folks' guitars. There are so many in this golden age of luthiery. Hanging out in shops and festivals and visiting with friends is all about guitars for me.

So many guitars, so little time.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversations
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 03 Apr 08 - 11:27 AM

Guitars are like women - what turns one guy on is different to what turns some other guy on. Neither's wrong, both are right. You pay your money and take your choice, and as long as the guitar's right for you, that's all that matters.

IMHO.


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Subject: RE: Review: Martin, Taylor and other conversations
From: olddude
Date: 03 Apr 08 - 11:33 AM

When a person finds that one special guitar, no matter how cheap or expensive, the one you know that becomes part of you, then the Music Marriage starts, and a lifetime later - you still get the same kick out of playing it as you did the first time you picked it up.


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