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Has Martin gone mad? (Plastic guitars?)

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Little Hawk 02 Feb 04 - 02:18 PM
Willie-O 02 Feb 04 - 02:43 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 02 Feb 04 - 08:47 PM
Peace 02 Feb 04 - 09:33 PM
clansfolk 03 Feb 04 - 05:44 AM
Steve-o 03 Feb 04 - 01:14 PM
Justa Picker 03 Feb 04 - 02:13 PM
Mooh 03 Feb 04 - 03:06 PM
GUEST, Claymore 03 Feb 04 - 04:57 PM
Midchuck 04 Feb 04 - 09:50 AM
clansfolk 04 Feb 04 - 11:36 AM
Steve-o 04 Feb 04 - 12:23 PM
dick greenhaus 04 Feb 04 - 01:43 PM
clansfolk 04 Feb 04 - 03:02 PM
GUEST,chainslinger 17 Jul 04 - 08:26 AM
Skipjack K8 17 Jul 04 - 09:34 AM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 13 Jun 07 - 05:56 PM
GUEST,highlandman 13 Jun 07 - 08:51 PM
Don Firth 13 Jun 07 - 09:05 PM
Deckman 13 Jun 07 - 09:22 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 13 Jun 07 - 09:30 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 13 Jun 07 - 09:33 PM
Lonesome EJ 13 Jun 07 - 10:11 PM
katlaughing 13 Jun 07 - 10:36 PM
GUEST 13 Jun 07 - 11:24 PM
Rusty Dobro 14 Jun 07 - 04:47 AM
M.Ted 14 Jun 07 - 09:02 AM
Leadfingers 14 Jun 07 - 09:20 AM
Wesley S 14 Jun 07 - 11:11 AM
mandotim 14 Jun 07 - 02:11 PM
Wesley S 14 Jun 07 - 02:53 PM
mandotim 14 Jun 07 - 04:39 PM
GUEST 15 Jun 07 - 12:50 AM
mandotim 15 Jun 07 - 07:36 AM
M.Ted 16 Jun 07 - 02:03 AM
Richard Bridge 16 Jun 07 - 04:17 AM
kendall 16 Jun 07 - 06:36 AM
Mooh 16 Jun 07 - 08:44 AM
GUEST 16 Jun 07 - 11:08 AM
Betsy 16 Jun 07 - 07:41 PM
Midchuck 17 Jun 07 - 07:05 AM
Stringsinger 17 Jun 07 - 08:32 PM
GUEST 18 Jun 07 - 11:48 AM
Philj200 18 Jun 07 - 12:05 PM
Mark Clark 18 Jun 07 - 06:45 PM
Philj200 19 Jun 07 - 12:37 PM
mandotim 19 Jun 07 - 02:30 PM
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Wesley S 19 Jun 07 - 04:30 PM
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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 02 Feb 04 - 02:18 PM

And bad taste is the friend of modern marketing.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Willie-O
Date: 02 Feb 04 - 02:43 PM

David makes a good point. They seemed to be doing OK when they developed the Sigma line, which was manufactured offshore to their specs, but had to pass strict quality control directly from Martin. Some nice guitars those. If a Sigma didn't pass QC for cosmetic reasons, they had a third "economy brand" name which they used. (Anyone remember what it was?) Whereas if a branded Martin didn't pass QC, they ran it through a bandsaw. (I think that was the source of the half-model demos you would see in some places--although you would think that an odd usage of something they didn't want anyone to see their name on.) That's how Dick Boak explained the system to me in 1979.

You can experiment with a lot of components and materials, but even Ovations have wood tops.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 02 Feb 04 - 08:47 PM

Mr Justapicker, you have the worst kind of GAS I ever did see! Not only don't you want other folks to have a decent box, you think those made by Martin should be cheaper to YOU and to h*** with everybody else.

Out of interest and fairness to Martin and the many other new materials makers today, I am bound to report that laminated wood material is realwood, but that some other brands are using experimental fiber instead of wood-which I have to add is so danged loud you have to be real gentle with a pick!

It's not that rosewood isn't nice to listen to, but it ain't the loudest tone material anymore.Get used to it. Martin did and guess what, they moved on!

IMO there is not a guitar on the market today that is even close to the DM for value and that kick ass rowdy sound.

Happy folksinging!


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Peace
Date: 02 Feb 04 - 09:33 PM

I know it's gotta sound good, but it's gotta look good, too.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: clansfolk
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 05:44 AM

"but even Ovations have wood tops"

Ovation Adamas CVT - woven graphite top!


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Steve-o
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 01:14 PM

As ususal, Justa has done the homework, presented the facts, and come to the sensible conclusion. Chris Martin has gone mad- for a guy running a privately-owned company he is acting like all other CEOs of Wall Street-owned companines. Why is it necessary to have a piece of ALL of the market? There are already guitars at the "low end" (price-wise) that are WOOD, highly playable, good-sounding, and attractive to look at. Go check out a few Seagulls or Blueridges- a few hundred bucks, and they ain't plastic! There are lots of "alternative" woods out there, folks, many of them used to make these guitars, and they ALL make better sounds than plastic. Kids entering the guitar market should not be entering with a Martin, even a cheapo Martin- that's bullshit. They should be getting a $150 Seagull or Yamaha, learning to play, then working their way up to the "holy grail" of guitars. That's what I did, and I am the better for it. And BTW, I work for Disney....I know something about milking and watering down the brand in the name of greater and greater profits. It sucks.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Justa Picker
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 02:13 PM

Thanks Steve.
I am glad you got my points.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Mooh
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 03:06 PM

Steve-o...Why shouldn't kids start with a cheap Martin? If they're playable, sound as good as the competition, are decently made, and don't offend their eyes, what's the difference? I see alot of crapola guitars in kids hands, if Martin can outdo the competition, I don't see why they can't have a piece of that market. Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: GUEST, Claymore
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 04:57 PM

Just as they say in football that "On any given day in the NFL one team can beat another", the same can be said for guitars. In forty years I have had many, and although I have heard many bad Martins, my favorite is a tight grained dark Koa model, the SPD16-K2, which I string with heavy gauge strings (14-59s) in violation of the Martin coda, without a hint of bridge lift and it has incredible tone. I do a lot of sound jobs for folk and acoustic shows, and in many years I have heard only two or three guitars whose tone could match it, a Martin HJ-28, one old Gibson, and a relatively new Taylor (models forgotten).

Whatever Mr. Martin does with his company, it is our job to compare and buy only those individual models that please us. And that is true for any guitar or guitar brand. And if a young student buys one of the hopped up jobs and doesn't like the sound later, we can call that the Claymore IQ test...


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Midchuck
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 09:50 AM

I hope this is not the real beginning of the end. Always before, when Martin sold something built outside of the US, they put some other label on it, like the Sigmas and the Shenandoahs...

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: clansfolk
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 11:36 AM

Steve-o - I don't think the Martin Company set out to make expensive guitars just the best they could...... in various ranges (Including Ukes) - this they succeeded in doing even when they had to make cheaper guitars in the 20s/30's they kept up a standard and a range - it is only because they made desirable guitars they stayed in business and (some) people attributed a status symbol to the name - like most businesses when you find your product is desirable and you can charge more the price goes up - the Top Liners at festivals tend to do a lot less appearances and get paid a lot more than the "lesser" Artist - this doesn't make them better than others just more desirable - for whatever reason.

If martin make cheap guitars - that are good value that's great and if they drop the price of their more traditional models that's better still I'd rather boast of having a good guitar as appose to an expensive guitar!

The Wood against "Plastic" argument holds no water (well the plastic one hold it better than the wood) - and falls into the same brigade as the Real Fur lovers and the activists - why wear real fur if imitation looks as good?

as said earlier Don't Judge a Book by its cover - and why can't Martin make what they want - Fylde Guitars used to make snooker cues - and good ones to boot!


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Steve-o
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 12:23 PM

Martin CAN, of course, make exactly what they want, including models that will capture some of the "low end" market- they can also "outsource" assembly to Mexico- both of which will water down the brand. Words like "legendary" and "unique" will soon no longer apply to their brand name, they will no longer be considered the "state of the art", and they will be just another homogenized big company like so many others. This saddens me, and although I know it's the way of the world, I still don't think it's OK. Change is NOT always good, and some traditions do not HAVE to die in the name of "progress". But they didn't ask me for my opinion, anyway. The whole thing is moot for me, since I will die with my hands wrapped around my funky, beat-up, wonderful 1946 D-28 (to paraphrase one of my favorite Norman Blake songs). BTW, thanks to ddw for providing one of our most interesting music-related threads of late.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 01:43 PM

Am I just confused, or is the main thrust of tis that Martin is using plastic (based on non-renewable resources) to replace a renewable resource like wood? And that this is good?


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: clansfolk
Date: 04 Feb 04 - 03:02 PM

Dick - the way I have read the threads is that:-

Martin make a guitar out of a material that is not wood...

They have some of these guitars painted.....

Some people like them and the sound - some don't

Some see the reason for making "Plastic Guitars" is to save trees

Some think it is to make money (which is Martins business)

Some think the Name "Martin" is important - because it means "good" or "the Best" or maybe even "I've got a lot of money"

Many (like myself) judge every instrument in its own right and not what it was made from, where it came from, and how much it is worth.

- sounds a bit like how I "judge" people

wouldn't it be a boring world if we were all the same?


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: GUEST,chainslinger
Date: 17 Jul 04 - 08:26 AM

o g lets see goes from my home to my truck to the bar stays in tune durnk chick spills beer on it wipe it off drunk guitar player (thats me ) kicks it over not so bad did ya ever play in a smokey bar? well for us non smokers when you get home ya smell like smoke and so does your priceless guitar "read as penis"and like someone said when it goes through an amp it ain't the wood and the stratabond that martin uses is not plastic its thin slices of wood melded together for sterngth purfect guitar to take in your caR TO USE IN A BAR TO HOWL AT THE STARS.........og i did all that and i bet your still wainting for your penis"read as my preacious probably paid to much(insert brand name)guitar hell i ain't mad at ya


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 17 Jul 04 - 09:34 AM

jOhn, is that you?


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 05:56 PM

I see a potential market for these plastic, metal and composite guitars among our local scuba diving and surfing communities. Never before have we had the opportunity for underwater folk music! And, in a pinch, it could serve as a life preserver for small boats. I can see it now: The first ever Coast Guard-Approved guitars.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: GUEST,highlandman
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 08:51 PM

Since someone brought up boats, here's an analagous bit of history.
Back in the 1950's wasn't it, when the great debate was raging between the "fiberglass is the way of the future and will soon be better than wood" crowd and the "if God wanted boats to be made of plastic he'd have given us plastic trees" crowd.
Half a century later, after the fiberglass people have had phenomenal success building quality, functional, and sometimes not bad looking vessels, history shows they were both right.
Fiberglass and its newer cousins, carbon fiber and kevlar, are fabulous materials and have shown the ability to outperform natural stuff in most situations,
BUT
there is still something about a wood boat, despite the difficulty in getting the materials, the godawful expense, the maintenance, and the weight, that makes a nautical heart go pittapat.
I suppose in 50 years we might be in the same boat (groan) with guitars, huh?
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Don Firth
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 09:05 PM

I've never had my hands on one of these, or even seen or heard one in person, but I've heard that folks who have them seem to like them. I dunno. . . .

Twang!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Deckman
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 09:22 PM

I was reading through all these postings, and it reminded me of that wonderful line from Woody Gutherie's song: Talking Columbia Blues ... "What's next (sic) "PLASTIC BEDROOMS!" Bob


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 09:30 PM

I find it nauseating. There you have it. Mike Longworth became a friend via the Winfield, KS Festival. This crap dilutes his memory and his legacy at Martin every time another travesty like this is shipped to a music store. Guess it just presses my buttons---and begs for a heartfelt disappointed spewing polemic.

I once made a "panjo"---a banjo neck on a bedpan I'd brought home after using it for 2 months in the hospital. I gave it to Cathy Fink and she played it during her hospital stay a while back. All the doctors and nurses thought it was pretty hilarious. (I have a photo of Pete Seeger playing it on my folk photos website at htttp://rudegnu.com/art_thieme.html)

Hilarious? Yes it pretty much was/is that!! But so are these monstrosity instrument creations of Martin & Co. I did what I did as a joke. But friends, Martin must be serious, right?. This is bad dream-nightmare stuff----like Edith Piaf and John McCormick and Roscoe Holcomb donning striped Ivy League shirts and doing a revival in black-face of folk nostalgia singing Tom Dooley and other Kingston Trio and Brothers Four hits with Carmen
Miranda fruit bowl headdresses on their heads.

That Felix thing, and the like, being part of Martin's catalogue, doesn't negate the years of great guitars from this company, but it demeans and dilutes every good and honest feeling and emotion I ever had about the Martin guitars I owned over the years. And I resent that!!!-------

---- Well, what the hell. The more things change, the more they get different. It's the way of the world. But the existence of these charicature guitars is one of those things I really wish I'd been totally ignorant of before I shuffle off this mortal coil completely.

It's not just the changes I see as I look around now. It's the serious dumbing down that's everywhere. And the amazing mind-boggling acceptance of shit -- and calling it diamonds. Then the old mantra is again heard in the land-------- Forgive them lord. They know not what they do! What new religion is gonna come out of this to divide us even further---if that is possible??

And please forgive my little diatribe tonight. I usually know better than to get so touchy-Felix. ;-)

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 09:33 PM

.. actually..

"Switch" guitars

..moulded from "Vibracell" foam and coated with some kind of hardened plastic finish

are by general consensus very good players and sonic performers..

kinda like tuppaware cloned good tone-wood mahogony

but at a fraction of the usual price..


http://www.switchmusic.com/vibracell_page/vibracell_01.html

Btw.. as a contented owner of 4 Switch guitars.. i'll positively vouch for 'em


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 10:11 PM

My God, Art. Touchy-felix ??? Priceless!


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 10:36 PM

Good to know how you feel about them, Art!:-)

IF they are so sure these things sound so good why couldn't I find any sound samples?


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 11:24 PM

Actually plastic gutars have been around quite awhile...Macaferri (sp) being one their pioneers. From what I've read, when well made they're actually supposed to play and sound quite well...it's just they have a stigma about them. I recall reading a story that Segovia was given one (a plastic one) from Macaferri (sp)and he actually was quite impressed with it, but then disappointed Macaferri (sp) by not agreeing to play it in public as he thought it would possibly be perceived as a toy instrument. That was probably 50 years ago. Since then, synthetics and perceptions of synthetics has changed...the leader being Rainsong guitars with their graphite bodies. It's interesting, though, that many early 60's Fenders had Gibson SG's had super high gloss finishes that when sitting on music store walls almost gave the impression of being plastic coated (not that they were.) Those sure took off...


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 14 Jun 07 - 04:47 AM

I started out in about 1956 with a blue, plastic four-string guitar painted up to celebrate 'Britain's answer to Elvis', Tommy Steele. I can honestly say I've never played another instrument quite like it. If only Martin had seen that one......


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: M.Ted
Date: 14 Jun 07 - 09:02 AM

I've played the Maccaferri plastic guitars--they had a good neck and played like a real instrument, but the sound was *not* good--

As to the Martins, it has been pointed out that one recurrent of the characters painted on the guitars looks a lot like Chris Martin--


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 14 Jun 07 - 09:20 AM

What amazes me is that Entry Level Martins in Virginia are starting at $400 , and starting at £600 in UK ! Why ?? Or is this another example of Rip Off Britain ??


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Wesley S
Date: 14 Jun 07 - 11:11 AM

"Rip off Britian" ?? No we're just trying to get some of our Tea taxes back.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: mandotim
Date: 14 Jun 07 - 02:11 PM

Hey Don; I play a Rainsong WS1000. I've got loads of guitars, some of which are very expensive, but this is the one that goes out most often. All carbon fibre (unlike some Ovations and others.) Very resonant (no need to trade weight for stiffness with carbon) and very loud. The tone is a little more trebly than a Dread or a Jumbo, but as much bass as a well-aged Martin OOO-28V I played back-to-back with it recently. It's very light (no neck block, tail block, braces or truss rod), and it never goes out of tune in response to heat, cold, humidity or whatever. The lack of weight makes it a great gigging guitar; no more aching shoulders! Add in some terrific Fishman Prefix Blender electrics, and you have a practical, almost indestructible guitar with good acoustic tone and volume, and it sounds good plugged in too. I was a bit sceptical when I bought it, as I'm a bit of a traditionalist about wooden instruments, but I'm convinced having owned it for a year or so. I believe Peter Mix, a former director of the sadly missed Rigel Mandolins is now making carbon fibre A-style mandolins. Can't wait to try one of those.
Tim


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Wesley S
Date: 14 Jun 07 - 02:53 PM

Some of the first Rainsongs I played were not very good. The last time i played one they had vastly improved their tone quality. If I lived on a boat it would be the way to go.

And Tim - I was able to play one of those mandolins a few weeks back. Just like the Rainsong guitars - it will never replace wood. But the tone quality was not bad at all. If I played in bars or outside a lot it would be worth considering.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: mandotim
Date: 14 Jun 07 - 04:39 PM

Wesley; the early Rainsongs were made differently. The top was essentially a slab of carbon fibre, the same thickness throughout. The newer ones (like mine) have a graduated top that is effectively 'tuned' like a carved top for mandolins or archtop guitars. Rather than carving, they layer the carbon sheets, laying the weave (the carbon equivalent of grain) in different directions, so that the top resonates differently in different areas. A friend who works on vibration engineering in the aircraft industry reckons this is how they get the tonal separation that characterises the Rainsong sound.
Another use; they're a good weapon if the crowd turns nasty!
Tim ;)


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 12:50 AM

Plastic shmastic. No one in their right mind buys a Martin less than 30 years old, anyhow. That's the point of Martin.

They make a guitar that will survive and improve for generations. If the plastic one make it that long and still sound good then I say "more power to them".

In the meantime, look at the instruments that Martin made before 1980 and buy what you like.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: mandotim
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 07:36 AM

Personally, I wouldn't give good money for a 70's Martin. It was a bad era for the company, too many build quality and design issues. Tone was rubbish on all but the very high-end Martins, and having listened to a few, they haven't improved much without major surgery on the tops and braces. Sorted by the mid-80s though.
Tim


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: M.Ted
Date: 16 Jun 07 - 02:03 AM

I've heard all the stories about 70's Martins--but I've had a chance to play a fair number of them, and they are fine instruments.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 Jun 07 - 04:17 AM

I'd really like a Rainsong Dread - but the price, the price!


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: kendall
Date: 16 Jun 07 - 06:36 AM

No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public. (H.L. Menken)


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Mooh
Date: 16 Jun 07 - 08:44 AM

Has Martin gone mad?

Take a look through the literature, Martin Guitars by Jim Washburn and Richard Johnston, or Martin Guitar Masterpieces by Dick Boak, and you'll see that in every age Martin has produced unusual instruments for their time. It is not always the staid company that their image implies.

I'm still of the mind that however you hook folks into music, even with cartoon guitars, it's better than most of the alternatives.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jun 07 - 11:08 AM

".. 'last time I checked, Rolls Royce didn't make an economy model and they're still in business. "
--Actually they went bankrupt in the '70's and they were split off from Bentley and both divisions sold. I think Toyota owns the Rolls Royce car division. Volkswagen owns Bently. Or the other way around. THe RR aircraft engine business is still British.

Back to guitars: I own a Martin DXM. The neck and the bridge is wood. I think. Everything else is man-made. And I love it. It is what it is. It will never mellow with age. It will not increase in value (I suspect). But it is rough as a hockey puck and I can bring it into crowded rooms without fear of dings or dents. It is eay to play and does hasve an acceptable tone. And I could afford it.

Thanks you Martin compnay for decanting my guitar.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Betsy
Date: 16 Jun 07 - 07:41 PM

I have a DCX1E cutaway - one of these lamimated Martin guitars - it knocks the socks off my 1994 HD 28 - I adore it ,if I had to choose ( and the HD has been fitted with Fishman preamp etc.) there's only one winner !!!!
Luthiers hate them, but when I am playing it - next to my belly - I lobve it. Will they last as long as conventional wood made guitars - time will tell.
Joe ( Offer ) I thought we were not going to have any nore anonymous "Guests" - much as I agree with the one obove.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Midchuck
Date: 17 Jun 07 - 07:05 AM

For what it's worth, I have a Martin 000-X1. Standard OM or 14-fret 000 size, solid spruce top, linoleum back and sides covered with wood-grain contact paper, "Stratobond" (plywood) neck.

I'd say it's as good a player's guitar, in feel and tone, as anything on the market that retails under a grand US.

I took it to Old Songs a year or two ago, because KT was in the lower 48 without a guitar, and had asked Kendall if he'd loan her one for the festival, but he had no spare 6-string and knew I tend to accumulate them so he asked me.

Kendall and KT both seemed to find that guitar eminently acceptable for festival purposes.

I don't play it much myself, but only because I really like a 1 3/4" at nut or wider neck, and this is the Martin "standard" 1 11/16. I plan to keep it indefinitely as a loaner or emergency backup instrument for adverse conditions such as bad-weather festivals with drunks.

I do think the wood-grain contact paper on the back and sides cheapens it. They should have just painted them plain brown.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 17 Jun 07 - 08:32 PM

What I don't understand is the use of pickups on a fine guitar. The maker spends a lot of time perfecting the natural sound of the instrument and then someone slaps a pickup on it and it sounds comparitively poor. Yes, you can tell the difference. To me the best solution is a fine condensor mic if you want to amplify for larger venues or record.

As to plastic guitars, well you can take 'em to the beach and serenade the waves.

The Rainsongs aren't bad and if they can withstand the elements outdoors, why not?

Martin has depreciated its business by treating their customers like crap. It's no mystery why they would put out plastic guitars to finance their bad attitude. The prices on those suckers are ridiculous.

I agree with Art that the public has become inured to musical values and will accept the pablum they are given in the same way the accept watered-down information by the media.

Music has been American Idolized.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 11:48 AM

I am not an "nore anonymous "Guests" " I just don't post that often and the site is a bear to re-log onto. When it recognizes me I am Philj200.

Despite the nay-sayers, (according to The Guitar Museum, New HydePark, NY) Martin began their line of composite guitars in response to requests by working musicians for rugged instruments that could stand up to the rigors of the road and still sound acceptable.

That is exactly why I purchased my DXM. My old Gibson was too valuable to expose to crowded open-mikes and bad roads. Does the DXM sound as good as a vintage D-28? Of course not. And it doesn't cost as much either.

I paid a fair price for an American-made instrument. I have no problem with the knowledge that no trees died to make my guitar.

By the way, no one is forcing people to buy composite guitars. That's sort of a big point.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Philj200
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 12:05 PM

Actually, seeing all the spelling errors in my earlier "guest" post, I should have kept my head down.

Martin is not a charitable foundation dedicated to upholding the ideals of people who might buy one or instruments in a lifetime from them... and maybe another one or two used for which they receive not a penny.

And if you were ("you" being the critics) them, you would not keep the factory open for long if you tried to satisfy everyone.

My DXM shrugs off real-time use. I don't have to treat it like the crown jewels. It is well-made, the neck is as accurate as any of my guitars and more so than some. The action out of the box is fast and easy. The volume production was good enough for acoustic jams. I added a Mini-Western pick-up and had not the sligthest trepidation to boring out the base-plug and running the cables through the instrument. The pick-up works fine. If anyone quibbles that it's not the "best" possible choice, they can send me better ones.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 18 Jun 07 - 06:45 PM

More than three years ago, Midchuck mentioned CA (Composite Acoustics) guitars. Since then they've retooled, built a new factory, recovered from Hurricane Katrina, begun shipping all new models and introduced new models.

These CA guitars are great. They stand up against top-drawer wooden instruments. The new GX-Performer is truly a wonderful guitar. The small Midwest guitar shop where I work has sold more GX-Performers (new in January) than any single model of any make of guitar in the last five years. People play these and just can't put them down.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Philj200
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 12:37 PM

Don't you just love it when someone says that nothing is worth anything if they personnally don't like it. (Or can't afford it) (Or haven't tried it.) (Or woke up with a thorn in their paw.)
    (C.F. Martin's from the 70's.) What are these pundits credentials to make such sweeping statements?

Analogy(s) coming: (place your tongues in your cheek)
   Any banjo pickers who use anything other than animal skin on their pots are committing crimes against all that's holy. No one can make good music on a plastic skin. No one. (Recreated snippets from the 40's and 50's). Good thing that crazy fad died out and everyone stuck with natural hide.

And let's get back to turtle hunting for the only kind of flatpicks an honest folkie will use.

And while we're at it, search the alley for a stray cat. Nylon and metal strings are abominations too.

And you had better be sure that the finish on your guitar is made with the crushed shells of beetles (no, not Ringo) and not of johnny-come-lately polywhosis crap).


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: mandotim
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 02:30 PM

Philj200: I'm always wary of things like 'common knowledge' or 'received wisdom', so I'm basing my punditry on two things. My own experience of playing Martin guitars (over 50 now) of all types and ages, and some fairly extensive research I did when asked to 'sort out' a 70's Martin belonging to a good friend who despaired of the damn thing. The results seem to be that 70's Martins, especially the Dreadnaughts, were noticeably inferior in tone, volume and build quality when compared to Martins from other eras. The literature suggests that some of the main problems included;
- poorly graduated tops, often left far too thick to compensate for the poor quality tonewoods in use at that time
- Innacurate and badly fixed top and back bracing
- Ill-fitting neck joints
- Uneven finish coatings, often applied too thickly, thus affecting tone
- Pickguards that shrink over time, often causing soundboard cracks
- Inaccurate and badly fitted bindings
- Poor quality machine heads (i.e. cheap ones)
- Badly set-up nuts and bridges
- Necks prone to warping, probably because of poor wood selection.

Martin sorted out pretty well all of these problems by the mid-1980s, and my evidence suggests that the company has improved its standards steadily since then, probably in response to makers like Taylor and Takamine, who raised the bar for mid-price guitars from the 1980s on.

Finally, just to gently challenge your rather sweeping first paragraph; I like most of the Martins I've played, and I've owned more of them than I care to think about; I've bought them even when I couldn't really afford them too. I've just never found a good one from the 70's. I don't have a thorn in my paw either.

And your credentials are?
Respectfully,
Tim


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Philj200
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 03:29 PM

Tim gives a cogent and adult response. For which I am appreciative.      

Until presented with evidence to the contrary, I accept his point of view about Martin guitars from the 70's or until people who Martin guitars from that period raise their hand.

However, we were also talking in detail about composite guitars. Mine was made (or injected into a mold) in 2005. And it is exactly what I expected and paid for. If it was made of paper machie (sp?) and did the job, that would by fine with me.
   BTW: Mandolin bodies were made of paper machie in the 19th century, (albeit not very good Italianate ones). I just turned down a repair job because the neck separation from the body was caused by the paper shell beginning to disintergrate. And to fix it would mean rebuilding a cheap mandolin body. The price of such a repair was far more than the value of the instrument. I advised the owner to retire the instrument to his mantle.

Further, Tim said, "Finally, just to gently challenge your rather sweeping first paragraph;"
    That paragraph said, "Don't you just love it when someone says that nothing is worth anything if they personnally don't like it.
    By Tim's statement, he seems qualified. But he did say, "Tone was rubbish on all but the very high-end Martins, and having listened to a few,"
Tone was rubbish on all
Having listened to a few
    Which was it? By listening to a few, you passed judgement on all. Maybe you're right. By is is also a sweeping statement, don't you think.
    As I recall it wasn't a very good time for Gibson either.

I wish Tim continued success with his guitars. He might end up with a Martin from the 70's he likes some day. I would recommendd he listen before checking it's pedigree. I check the price first myself.I don't want to shop for instruments I can't afford.
   BTW: I have a Takamine 12-string that is a fine instrument, for the price. I also have a 1949 J200 that is an exceptional instrument, at any price.
   My qualifications, (since you asked):
Been playing most stringed (and fretted) instruments since 1959. I've worked as a sideman, accompaniest and soloist. I've taught (and continue to teach) guitar, banjo and harmonica. I've had compositions purchased for commercial purposes. I've worked for luthiers and continue to repair and setup instruments on the side. I've built instruments from scratch and from collected parts. And I know and have jammed with people that many consider legends. Will that do?
   And I value wood as well. But I don't close my mind to progress.

I wish Tim continues luck with avoiding thorns.
Respectfully,
Phil(j200)


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Philj200
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 03:35 PM

Damn, I wish there was a way to edit posts here. And fix typos and spelling errors. Please assume I went back and tidied up.

Tim, you played 50 Martin guitars. Not own 50 Martin guitars? In the time frame you gave, that's likely, I must have played a huge number as well. Never occurred to me to count.

If you own 50 Martin guitars than I think you should give serious consideration to adopting me.


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Subject: RE: Has Martin gone mad?
From: Wesley S
Date: 19 Jun 07 - 04:30 PM

Proof of CF Martins "madness" - a Woody Guthrie model guitar that sold for over $3,000.


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