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Has Martin gone mad? (Plastic guitars?)

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ddw 31 Jan 04 - 11:40 AM
Peace 31 Jan 04 - 12:06 PM
ddw 31 Jan 04 - 12:30 PM
Walking Eagle 31 Jan 04 - 12:56 PM
ddw 31 Jan 04 - 12:58 PM
ddw 31 Jan 04 - 01:03 PM
Peace 31 Jan 04 - 01:12 PM
rangeroger 31 Jan 04 - 01:19 PM
Alaska Mike 31 Jan 04 - 01:28 PM
Walking Eagle 31 Jan 04 - 02:06 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 31 Jan 04 - 02:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 Jan 04 - 02:19 PM
breezy 31 Jan 04 - 02:37 PM
Lanfranc 31 Jan 04 - 02:39 PM
GUEST,Ed 31 Jan 04 - 02:57 PM
Peace 31 Jan 04 - 03:18 PM
ddw 31 Jan 04 - 03:49 PM
GUEST,DrWord sans cookie 31 Jan 04 - 04:13 PM
GUEST,DrWord sans cookie 31 Jan 04 - 04:21 PM
Mooh 31 Jan 04 - 04:42 PM
Walking Eagle 31 Jan 04 - 05:36 PM
GUEST 31 Jan 04 - 05:41 PM
Mudlark 31 Jan 04 - 06:24 PM
SINSULL 31 Jan 04 - 06:58 PM
Walking Eagle 31 Jan 04 - 08:27 PM
Justa Picker 31 Jan 04 - 08:38 PM
Blackcatter 31 Jan 04 - 08:50 PM
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C-flat 01 Feb 04 - 09:08 AM
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Subject: Has Martin gone mad?
From: ddw
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 11:40 AM

If this has been covered before, my apologies. I've done a search in the forum for references to plastic guitars and plastic Martins and several combinations with no luck.

Have you seen the new Martin lines of plastic guitars? I was in my favorite music store the other day and saw two of the ugliest instruments I've ever seen. They were full-sized jumbo styles (large, but with a narrow waist, as opposed to a dreadnaught style) and their faces were painted — one with a Hawaiian scene and the other with a cowboy motif. The artwork was garishly colored and about sophisticated enough to have been done by a 10-year-old. They were asking $1,295 Cdn!

I know Martin came out with Backpackers and, more recently, Little Martins. The latter, as far as I can tell, have nary a splinter of wood in them unless you count what appears to be a laminated, then machined neck. They come in faux woodgrains, black and there's FeLiX model. Check this

Now I've never been a big fan of Martins, but that's because of the style of music I play, not because they were bad guitars. For bluegrass the D-series can't be beat and some of the smaller models are pretty good for other types as well. But this makes me wonder where the company is going. Are they after what used to be Ovation's market niche?

Any thoughts on this?

david


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Peace
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 12:06 PM

I don't know that this heralds the fall of civilization as we know it, but that is one uuggllyy 'guitar'. However, there may be some cat lovers who . . . .


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: ddw
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 12:30 PM

Brucie,

If you think that one's ugly, you should see the full-sized ones I'm talking about! I'm gonna do some poking and see if I can find pictures of them.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 12:56 PM

Martin does not do the painting themselves. They have to be requested as a special item and then the work is jobbed out.

A recent interview with Chris Martin IV indicates that Martin has become aware of dwindling wood products. This is my addition. There is a world-wide market for illegally harvested rare woods. Mahogany being one. These trees are cut by poor people and sold to drug dealers who already have a delivery system set up.

It seems as Martin is becoming aware of the shortage problem and is trying different methods to work with what will be available in the future now.

I agree that the painted guitars look horrible, but apparently they are selling.

The (nest-less) eagle that walks. Julie


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: ddw
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 12:58 PM

Here's a link to the Hawaiian and here's one to the cowboy

This strikes me as being — for the owners of real Martin guitars — almost like what Mercedes tried to pull on years ago when they introduced the 180-series compacts into North America. A friend who worked for a Mercedes dealer said the company wanted to sell them for about $17,000, but the dealers objected because it would damage the car's image. The company acquiesced and sold them for $31,000 to keep the dealers happy.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: ddw
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 01:03 PM

Thanks for the info WE. I can see the materials thing, but not the paintings. I wonder if their next innovation will be to put a crank on the side that you can turn to have it play Home On The Range?

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Peace
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 01:12 PM

Jerry Merrick (Sp?) once wrote a song that had the line "Everything today's made out of plastic." I think Richie Havens recorded it on one of his earlier albums. Jerry, you were right.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: rangeroger
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 01:19 PM

I think it is interesting that the Model specifications for the Felix model give no indication of what the top material is. Just the top is a special Felix illustration.

Extremely ugly pieces of shit.

rr


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Alaska Mike
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 01:28 PM

I happened to have visited the Martin Guitar plant in Nazareth, Penn last October and got to take the tour. Our guide showed us all the steps that go into manufacturing the fine instruments made there. He told us about these new models and showed us several examples at the end of the tour.

While I was playing one, the guide explained that these are supposed to appeal to the younger, less experienced musician. They are less expensive and come in many "cool" colors and designs. Apparently there is a big market in ugly, plastic, crappy sounding guitars.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 02:06 PM

Maybe the FeLiX is an attempt to cultivate a future guitar market? Also, we're experienced OLDER guitar players. What sounds like crap to us won't sound like that to new guitar players. We were'nt aware of what was crap and what wasn't when we first started playing. The newbies will continue to play (or not) and will devlop an ear with time.

Face it folks, the day of fine woods is almost gone. Woodworkers, carvers, and other fine instrument makers will tell you that.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 02:12 PM

Yes, they've gone mad. For many years, just the fact that a guitar was made by Martin automatically meant the it was a quality instrument. Well, the Martin label no longer carries that connotation. They still make great guitars, but the cheap and funky ones have weakened the power of the Martin name. While Martins still carry the reputation of being the guitar of choice of many great players, they now must also carry the stigma of being made by the folks who make the "Felix the Cat" guitar.

In a market where Taylor has made substantial inroads into what was once almost exclusively Martin territory, Martin's reputation was the one thing that Taylor couldn't duplicate. So, Martin has done Taylor a big favor and come out with all these substandard guitars and shot their own mystique in the foot. Bob Taylor's probably pleased every time Chris Martin and crew come out with some new bit of weirdness.

Bruce (Who has 3 Martins & 0 Taylors)


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 02:19 PM

That's a relief - this is only about a brand of guitars...I thought it might be news that Martin Carthy had abandoned folk music, or something serious like that.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: breezy
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 02:37 PM

I too looked in wondering which Martin was the subject.





Perhaps he'll trade in his Martin for one of these being discussed so as to appeal to a younger audience!!   the under 55 s!!!

Martin Carthy plays Felix


Been to Stortfolk lately, or hows it in Harlow with the once a month venue?

I've got Les Sullivan in St Albans 20th Feb at The Whitart


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Lanfranc
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 02:39 PM

I recently purchased a Martin 000C-16GTE, despite the designation, which sounds more like a boy racer Japanese car than a guitar. It plays like a dream and sounds great, whether acoustic or electric (the designation is 000 (size) C (cutaway) 16 (model) GT (gloss top) E (Electrics - Fishman stereo).

When I first played it I thought that the bridge and fingerboard were ebony. No, like the FeLiX, it's black plastic!!! Well, Micarta (TM), anyway, which, I gather, is a rather superior form of plastic.

I always liked the line that, if a tree could choose what to be when it was cut down, it would choose to be a guitar. However, with fine woods becoming rarer, more expensive and decidedly non-ecologically acceptable, I cannot help but salute Martin's quest for alternatives.

The Micarta fingerboard is one thing, the FeLiX guitar something else entirely. It's not a new idea though, Maccaferri did something similar back in the 50s and 60s, albeit without the yukky graphics!

Isn't there the Garrison guitar with plastic strutting for the table?

Things move on, but as the owner of 4 Martins, I hope that the future is more 000C-16GTE than FeLiX!!

Alan


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 02:57 PM

So trees aren't ecologically acceptable but plastic is?

I'm getting confused here...


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Peace
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 03:18 PM

I have upper dentures. There is something to be said for the functionality of plastic over wood. However, I wouldn't want my D-28 to hear that.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: ddw
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 03:49 PM

Rangeroger — the FeLiX model is one of the Little Martin line. All are definitely plastic; one is faux woodgrain, one is flat black (face included) and the other is Felix.

Speaking of the growing scarcity of old wood, has anybody heard about the company Timeless Timber in Ashland, WI that is retrieving logs that have been petrifying in the depths of Lake Superior for up to 300 years and turning the highly-compacted wood into musical instruments? A friend of mine toured their operation about a year ago and brought back some literature on them. Really interesting concept and apparently the instruments have incredible vibrance of tone.

They don't mention any instruments, but you can check it out here

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: GUEST,DrWord sans cookie
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 04:13 PM

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarggggg!


some of the detail shots made me shudder.


a bit bulky, but potentially useful as an emergency paddle.


cheers

Dennis @ -40 degrees for a week.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: GUEST,DrWord sans cookie
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 04:21 PM

"Maple is the traditional wood for instruments of the violin family."

This ^ from the timelesstimber.com link ddw provided.


It's the first sample in the species shown. Thanx 4 the link. I know they are mining the bottom of the Ottawa River for waterlogged old growth timber as well. [The river which flows through Canada's capital].


cheers
dennis


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Mooh
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 04:42 PM

Much would have been helped if someone had planted trees to replace those which were used, or if trees were a priority for us now. Wood is more easily replaced than what plastic is made of isn't it?

Anyway, I thought the Martin guitars in question were fun, even if I can't imagine myself owning one, and you can't beat fun for a good time.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 05:36 PM

Exactly Mooh. As I SAID before, I think that Martin is trying to develop a guitar buying future with the young folks. We're older folks and mostly have all the gear we need. Plus, the guitars are affordable. A big factor if the youngster decides guitar playing is not for them. If they stick in, they will move up to more expensive models as their ear devlops. Who among us started playing knowing the differences in sound?

I'd a sight rather see Martin come out with a cheaper guitar made in the U.S. than get one made in other countries that don't pay a good wage.

Fender figured this out with their cheaper Squirer line. The young folks get an electric lead or bass, a small amplifier, chord, gig bag, and a few other goodies for around two hundred dollars.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 05:41 PM

Much would have been helped if someone had planted trees to replace those which were used

So why wasn't that person you. Too busy?


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Mudlark
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 06:24 PM

I don't know about Mooh, but I personally have planted many trees on various homesteads, at least 50. But I can hardly compensate for the wholesale destruction of forests carried out by the huge corporations that buy up vast tracts of land, then clearcut...and don't replant.

Not just 'someone' should be planting trees, the corporations that cut them should be. "Sustainable" aint just a river in Egypt...


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: SINSULL
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 06:58 PM

I there an opportunity here? Maybe buy some land and plant trees that will be of value to woodcutters and instrument manufacturers 20 - 30 years from now/ Cash for our grandchildrens' education and wood for quality instruments? Any comments?


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 08:27 PM

A bit of thread creep and I think our erstwhile Guest is trolling.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Justa Picker
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 08:38 PM

Yes Martin HAS gone mad. :-)

I was in Nazareth last summer, did the factory tour, met Chris Martin and Dick Boak, and sat for a brief presentation in their saw mill, by Chris Martin where he outlined the company's business philosophy for the 21st century.

On the one hand Chris is to be commended for turning the company around from its near bankruptcy in the early 80s.

He had correctly determined at that point in time, that the things that got Martin into deep doggy doo, were the fact that his Daddy had attempted to build the company into a big music conglomerate with a lot of diversification and too rapidly during the recession of the early 80s. (ie. The acquisition of Darco String Manufacturing [now Martin Strings of course][the only good move he made!]; the acq. of Fibes drums [bad move]; the acq. of Levin Guitars in Sweden [bad move since the company was bankrupt when Frank Martin purchased it, and through later-discovered technicalities, found they couldn't import Levin Guitars without heavy import duties], buying outdated and antiquated computer software designed for vetinary clinics that they hoped they could modify [bad move] ...and there were many other misteps as well.

When his Daddy was ousted in the 80's by the board of directors and Chris IV was made president, he decided to get back to doing what Martin did best - that is building really good guitars, and to just focus on that, and guitar strings and accessories...and things began to turn around.

Problem was, that over time, Chris developed such a paranoia of the company ever boarding on insolvency again, that he went not just one step in the opposite direction but 3 to the point of obsession...and began to expand the Martin guitar line up, with over time, such a dizzying array of models, and materials used (not to mention the "custom shop") that by doing so, he inadvertently cheapened the Martin brand name and confused customers with so many models, nobody could figure out the difference between one and another (as if it was easy before?)

He was very proud of stating during our saw mill presentation, that his #1 absolute top priority was keep ALL of the employees in the Martin family (in Nazareth) employed - NO MATTER WHAT!

He cited many large corporations using downsizing and massive layoffs and cuts in workforces, in order to balance profits and financial forecasts for stock holders. He said that in his mind this was no way to run a business in this day and age and that employees DO matter. So he gets brownie points for this, obviously ... but at what cost? By continuously releasing new models of all materials, designs and at all cost levels.

Martin's biggest enemy or thorn in their side, has always been their own history - especially when you consider that they are one of the oldest privately owned companies in the U.S. (est. 1833).

Many a Martin affectionado knows that between 1930 and 1944, they made some of their best instruments - commonly known as their Golden Era. The majority of these instruments are what made and established Martin's legendary reputation. (They also made a lot of really great straight braced instruments from the latter 40s through to the 60's.)

That reputation, to many traditonalits, should be preserved at all costs - save bankruptcy. Chris may have gone totally over the deep end however and really diminished the prestige of the Martin brand name (i.m.o.) because,

(a) he felt compelled to enter the low end of the Market, and get a piece of that market share (because Taylor was killing them there, not to mention Larivee, Guild and Gibson too) ... but of course by doing this, it would not only ensure continuous cash cows and cash flow, but also, keep his family / employees working (the job security thing.)

(b) Started out with a limited number of sigature editions, and then went crazy over time .... to the point that NOW, practically anyone who's ever farted on a Martin guitar will get a signature model released ... and the signature models in quite a few instances were based on guitar models that the actual signator, never even owned or played! (ie. the new Norman Blake model; the Ernest Tubbs D-35; the Kitty Wells Honky Tonk Angel model; the on again and now off again Lucinda Williams Model, and many more. But hey, they sell well to the dealers anyway ... and that's the name of the game.

(c) Once upon a time the D-45 was THE flagship guitar in the Martin line - in fact 45 anything. It was a real prestige thing, if you could afford to actually own and play one. Today, the D-45 is just another guitar in their line-up eclipsed now by the D-50, the Peacock, and the soon to be released in limited numbers, D-100. They also released (in the what-were-they-thinking-department a limited edition release of the D-50K (koa sides and back) with a list of 50K each. (This model has not yet sold out. Wonder why? Perhaps because koa is NOT Brazilian.)

(d) They're making guitars out of high pressure laminate (plastics) and other strange materials. They use counter top material for nuts (corian) and more plastics (micarta) for fingerboard and saddle material. CF's predacessors especially his grandfather and great grand father would be rolling in their graves, if they could see what their progeny has done to the brand name and the models and some of the crap that is being turned out in Nazareth to the tune of 50,000 instruments a year.

(e) Cowboy Guitars? Anyone played these overpriced pieces of shit? God they're awful to play, awful sounding and hideous to look at. That picture of Chris Martin dressing as a cowboy smiling? (He's smiling because he's laughing all the way to the bank at the suckers that will buy ANYTHING these days, if it has the Martin logo on it!

I am convinced that at this point, the Martin guitar have become whores to the allmighty dollar above all else.

There are still some really great new Martins to be had (yup they ARE overpriced), so you buy them privately and used, because since they revamped (in the last couple of years) what the so-called lifetime warranty covers, it's not worth shit or worth paying for in a new guitar, in that all it covers these days is a neck reset to the original owner , which you might need in 10-20 years and that's pretty much all it covers these days.

I do love the Martins I own.
Don't get me wrong.

But...

... 'last time I checked, Rolls Royce didn't make an economy model and they're still in business.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Blackcatter
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 08:50 PM

Here's a question: Exatly how iFelix the Cat guitar going to draw the attention of the "younger" masses? Does any one under 35 remember even seeing a Felix cartoon?

Now may be a Sponge Bob guitar. . .



Aren't wonderful guitars made out of tree types that are much more renewable than mahogany, etc.?


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 09:00 PM

last time I checked, Rolls Royce didn't make an economy model and they're still in business

Not as such. They were bought in a hostile bid by BMW in 1998.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: GUEST,Strollin' Johnny
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 07:03 AM

Sod it GUEST! You beat me to it! Yep they're krautkars now.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: GUEST,Mooh
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 08:28 AM

My Dear Guest/Troll/Asshole...You asked why I haven't planted trees. You think I haven't when I was bold enough to propose the statement? I've saved trees, relocated trees, spent a summer in part planting trees, introduced them to my workplaces, bought them for loved ones and friends, and contributed to tree charities. I regularly relocate seedlings along a roadside near Geogian Bay to save them from the snow removal folks.

Just in case you were being judgemental.

We now return to our regular programming.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: C-flat
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 09:08 AM

I have a plastic Maccaferri which has a wonderfully distinctive tone. I only use it occassionally but it is a perfectly valid instrument for certain styles.
C-flat.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Mooh
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 09:33 AM

Sure, I prefer the sound of my solid wood guitars, but there's a certain ineffable vibe to a cheap guitar which suits some styles/songs/tunes/arrangements or whatever.

To every guitar, turn, turn, turn.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 10:06 AM

Very good post, JP.

I really question the idea that a kid who buys a cheapo learner level Martin is going to be enticed into buying a D-28 after he gets his chops together. Suckering someone into buying a piece of crap does not produce brand loyalty. It seems to me that he's more likely to reject Martin's high-end guitars because his perception of their product line has been tainted. The kid who learns to play on a cheap Martin is probably gonna buy a Taylor when he gets ready for a real guitar.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: ddw
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 11:56 AM

SINSULL — Good idea, except that the wood for really top quality guitars is often ages 100 or 200 years before it's cut and shaped. That's what is running (or has run) out and a 20- or 30-year plan isn't going to fill the gap.

JP and BWL — you guys hit (JP in great detail) exactly what I was thinking when I saw these things. If some young guy buys a "cowboy" Martin and his friends laugh at him, he's gonna look for a different headstock when he goes for the real thing. They've really cheapened their whole image and I think their hight-end sales will suffer in another few years; most of us old geezers have our main guitars now and youngsters will think Martins are jokes.

In a way it's sad. As I said earlier, I'm not a big fan of Martins because of the style of music I play, but they used to be good guitars. Now I'd almost root for them to get in deep trouble just because I think C.F. IV is a greedy bastard who is willing to sacrifice quality for a few extra bucks.

The way of the world......

david


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: clansfolk
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 12:38 PM

Well what makes wood so good???????

If these modern laminates had been available first maybe guitarist wouldn't have been so shocked????

I have a little Martin Backpacker - I also have a D15 and a D41+ (custom) - plus several other guitars including the forementioned Garrison.

The top on the little martin is nearly as thin as some plectrums but stronger than a full sized wooden guitar top... the neck is made of the same material as many gun stocks and does its job very well - when compared to other travel guitars.... Martin all wood (we sent it into space) - forget it Tacaoma all wood - tinny tuned higher than standard pitch more Terz style - forget it Taylor mainly wood - nice but not as nice sounding as the Martin Baby!

Wood might be natural - but don't close your eyes and ears to other possiblities - I don't think Laminates as we have them today will replace all wood guitars - but they may be on the bottom rung of the future.

and lets face it if rockets were made of real wood tey wouldn't be very good!

ps the build quality of these guitars are Very Good and far better than a lot of guitars found in music shops at the same and a higher price range.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: ddw
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 02:41 PM

…but they may be on the bottom rung of the future.

and lets face it if rockets were made of real wood tey wouldn't be very good!

1) Maybe they're the bottom rung of the present

2) Rockets are supposed to sound good!

Sorry, Clansfolk — What's go good about wood is that it has warmth, vibrance and visual beauty that will probably never be reproduced by plastic, IMO. Ovation has been churning out its Thalidamide helicopters for years and I've never heard one of them that's improved with age.

As for giving other materials a chance — I've got a nickel-plated brass National that I love... Go figure, huh?

cheers

david


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Peace
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 05:51 PM

Regardless, y'all, even the worst Martin has to beat the Stella I learned on.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: ddw
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 06:00 PM

An awful lot of great blues got played on Stellas. That was the standard "studio guitar" that was furnished to the Delta players when they went in to record.

cheers,
david


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Willie-O
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 06:20 PM

If they want to make good guitars and be environmentally aware--and they have made at least one "Smartwood" model using this concept--they should look more at domestically grown lumber that they can be more involved in the supply and reforestation cycle of. I don't know what the Sitka spruce supply is like these days, but I'm sure Martin does. They are making some nice guitars with walnut sides and back, anyone tried them?

Maintaining forest ecosystems involves a helluva lot more than planting seedlings after a harvest.

I don't mind the lower-budget models with laminated sides/back, but this latest round of painted crap really has me wondering...I sure hope they decide to pull back on the reins at some point, soon.

W-O


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 06:36 PM

Yeah, those painted-up Martins are such an ugly sight that there are really no words adequate to describe it. There are so many fine guitars out there now that Martin has no means of hanging onto any kind of exclusivity, but I can't see why they are doing some of the stuff they're doing now. It's tacky.

- LH


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 07:53 PM

They are making some nice guitars with walnut sides and back...

Like this one!

Note that it appears to be made of, for lack of a better term, "furniture grade" walnut instead of the much more expensive highly figured walnuts like Claro. Fancy walnuts are highly prized as gunstock material by high-end firearms makers, and they have bid the prices on the really good stuff up so high that guitars made from premium walnut are often more expensive than those made from tropical woods.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: GUEST,Martin owner
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 07:54 PM

The argument re. the looks of instruments is age old - everyone is different and the fact that Martin are making "painted" guitars and selling them tends to imply there is a market.

The new "little" Martin is an excellent sounding guitar when compared with like and comes out on top... it doesn't matter what its made of or why it was made of the material it was only that it sounds good.

Re Ovations - don't tell me they don't mature! I have a 60's balladeer that sound superb, likewise a long neck both the tops made of good quality wood - and most guitarist will tell you the back and sides make little effect on the tone - and Ovation certainly haven't gone out of business selling "plastic" guitars!

Martins are also the most copied acoustic guitar. followed by Ovation - this must tell us something about the sales research dept.

I have never bought a guitar on name alone and never would - I play a guitar and then make my decision - even if the guitar is the same model there can be vast differences in sound and playability, I don't care if it has "Tanglewood", "Encore" or "Yamaha" (and boy have they made some crap guitars) on the headstock as long as it sounds good and plays well!

Don't judge a book by it's cover or what the pages are made of it's quality of content that counts.

Then to all you wooden guitarists with electric pick-ups - remember the sound the audience hears is down to the pick-up, the mixer, the amp and the speakers not the wood in your guitar - listened to a Variax recently? and then stick all your effects boxes in between and forget your $5000.00 Martin.

Too many people quote their guitars as a status symbol "Oh I have a Martin" and Martin tend to be at the top of this when it comes to acoustic guitars - too often I have heard comments like "I've only got a Tanglewood" and the like, it's not what you've got it's what you do with it that matters!

Terms like "Hand made", "Vintage" and "unique" are used instead of "good" - there's plenty of unique, handmade, vintage crap out there....... like what you like but don't diss something on those grounds alone.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 08:03 PM

I,too, have played many fine guitars. Each has their good and bad points. The thing that sold me on Martin is that they had lefties in stock and ready to ship to the store. It's a six week wait with Gibson and Yamaha.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Mooh
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 08:53 PM

I do know that if my average student started with any Martin, I wouldn't fix so many guitars and the instrument would serve them better than what most start with these days.

As for whether the first brand dictates future buying, lots of folks start with a crapola Yamaha and end up with a good Yamaha around here 'cause that's what's available, or they just have a soft spot for their first regardless of brand. Not in my case, I never again got a Suzuki acoustic or a Kent electric!

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: open mike
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 10:15 PM

decorated instrument thread
the guy who apparently designs the hawaiian and cowboy guitars
is bob armstong-you can see a link to his web site here. he is
a cartoonist and, BTW, an incredible musical saw player..


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Midchuck
Date: 02 Feb 04 - 07:43 AM

Check out CA Guitars. (stands for "Composite Acoustic.") They're making guitars entirely out of synthetics, and the buzz is that the tone quality, while not up to that of the very top-end Martins or more expensive guitars from small shops, is fully comparable to, say, a middle-line Martin. And you can throw one in your car trunk without even bothering to put it in the case, or leave it outdoors with the rain falling on it when you camp out, or take it to the beach and let your kid use it for a shovel in the sand...no problem. Some very well-respected country and Bluegrass musicians are using them for touring instruments, because they get as good sound as they really need in a touring situation, with no worries.

If good-but-not-great instruments can be made from synthetics, that means we can save the dwindling supply of tonewoods for great ones, nicht var?

(Usual disclaimers)

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: ddw
Date: 02 Feb 04 - 11:55 AM

Midchuck — a friend of mine has one of those guitars. I'm not sure it's a CA, but it's something like that — flat black, all composites or one sort or another. I only saw it once. It has an OK tone, but I couldn't figure out why someone with a top-of-the-line Larivee would buy one till he explained it's his sailboat guitar. He says he can live with the relatively flat sound as a sawoff to not putting the Larivee in danger. And, he says, if he's ever becalmed he can use it for a paddle.

The thing I was getting at in this thread wasn't so much that composites, plastics, etc. can't be OK guitars — I was questioning the wisdom of an industry-standard brand marketing them under it's own name. I think a much smarter move by Martin would have been to make and sell them under a separate company with a different name. That would have given them all the benefits (saving wood, going for the young market, etc.) while protecting brand image and integrity.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 02 Feb 04 - 01:05 PM

Gee, some of the naysayin here makes me want to not play anymore!

Justapicker you sound like one spoiled with too many fine guitars! If Martin did not experiment then you could not own any great Martin guitars. The idea that because they don't make every one as good as the famed HD range for example is just plain selfish greedy GAS, and bitchin about it proves a person is too far gone for much other than a wallop on the head with a plastic Martin Cowboy model.

Having played almost a whole life on acoustics and that included several fine models - Martins as well- I never found one that I did not like to play on, nor one that I would not get another job to buy. But then I neve did have to buy a box anyways. All my guitars were given to me including the one I almost pawned my fine antique Banjo to get.

Mine has a laminate back and sides. However besides the odd Gibson Mandoline, antique Martin or Vega instrument I have tried this box has the most 'in yer face' direct and true response I ever did find, and you better believe me I looked for years and years

In fact, I used regularly go into stores to try out acoustics, I still do. One day while doing my thing I asked the missus - she plays too - to pass me a buff finished box which hung to the side of me. I was looking at the back of the box. Anyways not bothering to inspect the peghead I tested the tuning which was BTW spot on, and when I walloped a G modal chord the sound was so loud and penetrating I could feel my inards wobble. Talk about an electric - that is what it sounds like sometimes.

Later after I declared myself certifiable for the thing the missus bought it as a gift. In my humble life long semi pro non Martin owning life - opinion is that this little box has no equal and that the other   
other Martins I have heard accomplished players on are the same.

It is as much about how you LIKE to sound as anything else, and here I add that as a musician who happens to be good on guitar, one Martin is more than enough for me.


I don't care what Martin makes guitars out of, when they all sound as good as mine.

Price - for the real musician is irrelevant. I would have paid 8 grand
for my DM as easily as 8 hundred BECAUSE its the right guitar for me.

Mr Chris Martin - good on yer little mahogany laminator ! and Thanks

sorefingers


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Justa Picker
Date: 02 Feb 04 - 01:08 PM

Hehehehehehe....All of the Martins I own were based on experimentations they did during the 1930's.

Many (but not all) of the Martins made today are crap.
Live with it or see if they'll add to the 60 signature models they currently offer, with a Guest-Sorefingers Model.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 02 Feb 04 - 01:40 PM

Taste is the enemy of art.


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