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Martin Classical guitar

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NormanD 10 Nov 05 - 04:00 AM
Willie-O 10 Nov 05 - 09:11 AM
GLoux 10 Nov 05 - 09:42 AM
Don Firth 10 Nov 05 - 01:45 PM
NormanD 10 Nov 05 - 03:45 PM
Deckman 10 Nov 05 - 04:00 PM
wordfella 10 Nov 05 - 04:32 PM
GUEST,Greycap 11 Nov 05 - 04:13 AM
GUEST,The Artist 15 Oct 08 - 04:50 PM
olddude 15 Oct 08 - 04:53 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 15 Oct 08 - 05:37 PM
Murray MacLeod 15 Oct 08 - 05:44 PM
PoppaGator 15 Oct 08 - 06:01 PM
Leadfingers 15 Oct 08 - 06:28 PM
GUEST,Bruce MacNeill 15 Oct 08 - 06:34 PM
Don Firth 15 Oct 08 - 07:26 PM
GUEST,Bruce MacNeill 15 Oct 08 - 08:01 PM
Don Firth 15 Oct 08 - 11:13 PM
GUEST,Matt in California 16 Oct 08 - 12:20 AM
NormanD 16 Oct 08 - 07:18 AM
Don Firth 16 Oct 08 - 02:33 PM
GUEST 17 Oct 08 - 07:05 AM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Oct 08 - 11:43 AM
Don Firth 17 Oct 08 - 12:26 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 17 Oct 08 - 05:05 PM
NormanD 18 Oct 08 - 06:42 AM
GUEST,Jerry 03 Jan 09 - 11:11 PM
Leadfingers 04 Jan 09 - 08:53 AM
Don Firth 06 Feb 09 - 08:48 PM
GUEST,Bob McCarthy 24 May 10 - 06:31 PM
GUEST,Wally Macnow 24 May 10 - 11:32 PM
GUEST,Wally Macnow 24 May 10 - 11:36 PM
GUEST,Jim Olson 29 Dec 11 - 11:18 PM
GUEST,John L 09 Nov 12 - 03:52 PM
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Subject: Martin Classical guitar
From: NormanD
Date: 10 Nov 05 - 04:00 AM

[I originally posted this message on another recent discussion "Why Are Martin Guitars So Expensive?" but picked up no response. Probably because the discussion had already burned itself out, and the contributions seemed to be MudCatRegulars saying things to each other like "Tee-hee" or "Shaddup". So I took the liberty of re-posting. I've checked the archive but found no info.]

Can anyone please give me their view on the Martin Classical guitar (i.e. nylon strung)? I've recently started learning to play nylon-strung guitar, and will eventually need a better model than the lovely old (but cracked and breaking-up, like me) war house I have (it's a hand-made UK model, the only identifier being a label saying J.E.Vickers, 1966. Any information welcome!!). I fancy the idea of a Martin nylon-strung 'cos that's the kind Willie Nelson plays - sorry, that's the extent of my argument!

Cheers

Norman


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: Willie-O
Date: 10 Nov 05 - 09:11 AM

A search of Martin's website reveals that they put out a limited edition special of 100 replicas of Willie's N-20 in 1998/99. Bet they're pricey too.

They also show a couple of currently manufactured classics in the $2-3000 U.S. range, with the unwieldy model designations of 000C-16SGTNE and 000C-16SRNE . No doubt fine instruments (both cutaways rather than traditional-shaped body) but boy would they cost you to get in the UK.

If you're studying classical guitar, I'd think you could do a lot better looking at the Spanish makers. If you're learning to play folk-pop style like Willie Nelson, but want to stick with the nylon strings, then maybe there are some UK makers building something similar to those current Martin models...bit of a limited market.

"Martin Guitars: A History" shows the N-20 and N-10 were produced from 1969 to at least 1979, almost always less than 100 of each model per year, (except the 262 N-20's made in '69), so there's not a whole pile of them out there. Classics have never been a big thing with Martin, so you'd be pretty lucky to find one. Good luck though, it's fun to dream, and Willie's does sound pretty damn great.

W-O.


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: GLoux
Date: 10 Nov 05 - 09:42 AM

I'm a long-time subscriber to Acoustic Guitar magazine, and they do a good bit of coverage on classical guitars. While I'm a steel-string player, my observation from the coverage of the magazine is that, as Willie-O states above, Martin is not a big player in the classical guitar space, although I'm sure their classical guitars are very well made. Willie-N's is probably the most famous Martin Classical.

I recommend that you try to go through some issues of Acoustic Guitar magazine, and read up on the classical guitar market.

Hope this helps,
-Greg


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Nov 05 - 01:45 PM

I've owned two Martin classics. The first one I bought when I first started taking classic guitar lessons in 1955. It was a 00-28-G (spruce soundboard, Brazilian rosewood back and sides, ebony fingerboard and bridge). A beautiful instrument with a good, full sound. A couple of years later, I got a 00-18-G, essentially identical to the 00-28-G, but the purfling was a bit simpler and the back and sides were made of mahogany. It, too, was a very nice instrument.   At the times I bought them, the 00-28-G cost $175.00, the 00-18-G was $110.00. That was then.

In 1959, the Seattle Classic Guitar Society got organized, and I was very quickly introduced to European made classics. As good as the Martins were, they just weren't up to the volume, richness of tone, sustain, and response of guitars made by Spanish luthiers, or for that matter, some of the German and French luthiers. Soon, Japanese luthiers (many of whom apprenticed in Spain) started turning out top concert quality guitars, the Kohno in particular. These guitars were a little more expensive than Martins, but not that much, especially when you consider how superior in tone they were.

I recently got an Alvarez AC60S classic for a student of mine. She couldn't afford much, so I got it in the internet, from Music 123, for $279.00 (actual list price was just short of $400.00). It has a solid red cedar soundboard with laminated mahogany back and sides. The laminated mahogany back and sides is not as choice as the woods in most Martins, but all in all, the workmanship on this instrument is about equivalent to the workmanship on my first Martin. But the tone and volume are far superior.

This is not to say that Martin classics are not good instruments—but I can't speak to the classics Martin has been making lately. However, there are plenty of classic guitars by other luthiers out there that are better, and considering today's prices, for far less money. I don't know of any serious classic guitarists these days, professional or amateur, who use Martins.

Of course, if the idea is to play the same kind of guitar Willie Nelson plays, regardless of quality, what can I say? That's a whole different thing, so whatever turns you on.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: NormanD
Date: 10 Nov 05 - 03:45 PM

Hi all
Thanks for these comments and advice - all very useful, and appreciated. Mr. Nelson's guitar is full of holes and has produced decades of notes. At the end of the day, it's the player, not the guitar - and I wonder about the value of those sometimes vehement debates about the merits of one guitar over another.

As Willie-O says above - it's fun to dream!

norman


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: Deckman
Date: 10 Nov 05 - 04:00 PM

I am VERY partial to the older models of Martin classics. Do a search on "Elderly Instruments" for vintage Martins. CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: wordfella
Date: 10 Nov 05 - 04:32 PM

I have a 1956 Martin 00-28G that I bought used in the early 60s. It's beat-up but beautiful. I'm not a classical player, but my son is, and he loves it. (Someday it will be his.)

The 00 carried me through my Bossa Nova phase, and enabled me to emulate Charlie Byrd for a while.


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: GUEST,Greycap
Date: 11 Nov 05 - 04:13 AM

I just love reading this stuff - I learn so much. It brightens my day - thanks, guys.


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: GUEST,The Artist
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 04:50 PM

Just saw an N20 Martin classical...like the one Willie Nelson uses...and on craigslist, they are asking $1100.00 Cdn. Does this seem like a deal or are they raking me over the coals???


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: olddude
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 04:53 PM

Honestly I love Martin acoustics but not their classicals. I bought a cordoba and I am absolutely thrilled with it. I would look at them instead.


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 05:37 PM

Has anyone owned a guitar by U.S. luthier Tom Prisloe? I was told that he had a very good value line made in Spain to his specs by a respected house and using his soundboard material. The price range was supposed to be around $900 - $1,200. The fellow who told me about him was a former Martin classical devotee.


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 05:44 PM

what was the Martin classical bracing like ?

it wouldn't surprise me if they X-braced their classicals in the same way as their steel strungs, but I imagine it's more likely that they followed the Torres fan bracing pattern.


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: PoppaGator
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 06:01 PM

Willie's guitar has all those holes in in because he whales away with a flatpick, and ~ because they're intended for bare-fingered playing ~ classical guitars are not made with pickguards.

If you're interested in emulating Willie's picked-nylon-string sound, you might consider checking out flamenco guitars, which are nylon-strung and similar to purely classical guitars, although significantly different in a few aspects.

One difference is that flamenco guitars often feature pickguard-type protection, usually white or transparent plastic both above and below the strings. (I think they're actually "fingernail guards" rather than "pickguards" when played properly by real flamenco players.)


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: Leadfingers
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 06:28 PM

Highly Strung in Wantage Oxon had some very reasonably priced classical and flamenco guitars available a while back ! Google Highly Strung .


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: GUEST,Bruce MacNeill
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 06:34 PM

Just to add an opinion... When I took classical to improve my jazz and folk playing ( and I'm another Charlie Bird fan ) I went to a store in Michigan that had lots of classicals and didn't seem to mind my spending a few hours trying them out. I wound up with an Alvarez CY-116 because it had a great tone and a fairly big bass which Alvarez isn't really known for. That was about 20 years ago and I think the guitar was about $800 then. If you already play enough to test your own guitars, I'd suggest you try some out and buy what you like rather than relying on Willie Nelson's choice. For Jazz, I like Gibsons, old Gibsons like my 1959 L7C but I knew nothing about classicals. I tried everything they had from 200 to 4000 dollars and liked the Alvarez the best. It has served me well and still sounds great 20 years later. I generally crash and burn somewhere in Leyenda but it's not the guitar's fault. BTW, if you're ever in Northville, Michigan, stop by the "Gitfiddler" it's an amazing place or at least it was back then.


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: Don Firth
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 07:26 PM

The tap plates on a flamenco guitar are indeed to protect the soundboard from the guitarist's fingernails, but not just because the nails may hit the soundboard by accident. A standard part of flamenco guitar playing is to tap the soundboard with a right-hand fingernail to produce a percussive effect, emphasizing specific rhythmic stresses. This is called golpé, and the plastic plates are to protect the soundboard. They are called golpéador.

How to play golpé.

More, including an intro lesson.

Don Firth

P. S. "I generally crash and burn somewhere in Leyenda but it's not the guitar's fault." I know what you mean! I still can't get through it without starting to wheeze a bit. I did get Requerdos de la Alhambra down to where I could do a halfway decent job on it.


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: GUEST,Bruce MacNeill
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 08:01 PM

Well Don you're a better man than I am Gunda Din. Requerdos was when I remembered why I had a career as a computer geek rather than a musician. I'm retired now and have a little time to play with my guitars. I can mostly do Leyenda but it's taken 20 years. I don't know if I have the time left to go back and try Requerdos again. I think about it from time to time. I know I still have the sheet here somewhere. I'm not really sure whether it was the Kingston Trio or Segovia that hooked me on guitars back in the '50's. I never had the time or passion to get good at them. As to the wheezeing, I take 2 smoke breaks during the rests between the 3 parts of Leyenda. Maybe that accounts for it. I just hope NormanD takes the time to play classical and not scratch a good classical guitar, Martin or not, with a pick.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: Don Firth
Date: 15 Oct 08 - 11:13 PM

The trick to getting the tremolo for Requerdos down fast and smooth is to practice it    v   e   r   y       s   l   o   w   l   y    while using a metronome.   Most people try doing the tremolo up to speed right from the start, which is a good way to either braid your fingers or to wind up with a tremolo that "gallops." {tuh duh DUM, tuh duh DUM, etc.}

A metronome is a brutal tyrant and I hate the bloody thing, but when learning something difficult, especially something that moves along pretty briskly, I submit to the tyrant and practice the piece with the metronome set so I'm playing it at about quarter speed or even slower. When I can get through it without goofing at that speed, I raise the metronome a notch and do it again. Then again. Finally, when I can play it up to speed, I keep raising the metronome speed until I can play it a fair chunk faster that it should be played. Once I've got that, I back off and play it at the correct speed. The knowledge that I can play it faster gives me a comfortable feeling of security.

It takes a couple of weeks to get a piece down, but it seems to pay off.

But let's face it. Segovia, I ain't!!

Don Firth

P. S. Of course, things like Leyenda and Requerdos are getting up there. But there is a lot of really nice stuff that's fairly easy. Some of the lute transcriptions that Frederick Noad includes in his "Solo Guitar Playing," starting on page 114: Pezzo Tedesco, Orlando Sleepeth, Se Io M'Accorgo, and a few others scattered throughout the manual are pretty nice and not particularly difficult to play after a bit of practice.

But this isn't helping Norman much in picking the kind of guitar he'll feel at home with.


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: GUEST,Matt in California
Date: 16 Oct 08 - 12:20 AM

Recuerdos is a bear to play but worth the effort, if only because it gets your time together.

And wrt to Martin classicals: The N-series are indeed classically braced (e.g., a variation on the Torres pattern) but the 000C-16 series are lightly X-braced, and do sound different from fan-braced guitars.   

You might consider the Lucida Artista series guitars - they're really quite good, all solid woods, with a wonderful neck shape and good sound.

For golpe, you can add a thick sheet of self-adhesive plastic cut to shape; it'll protect reasonably well, won't wear through easily, and can be replaced if needed.

All the best - enjoy playing

Matt, struggling with Andrew York's Andecy....


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: NormanD
Date: 16 Oct 08 - 07:18 AM

Hi again
well, three years down the line from the original post, I did finally get hold of a Martin nylon string guitar 00-28, from about 1956. It is a lovely guitar for finger playing and sounds good through an amp. And guess what? I sound nothing like Willie Nelson, and never will. There'll never be another, and if there were it wouldn't be me, that's for sure.

Playing arpeggiated chords sounds good on this guitar, lovely for accompanying singing.

Thanks for all those views, and advice.

norman


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: Don Firth
Date: 16 Oct 08 - 02:33 PM

Way to go, Norman! Congratulations.

As I mentioned above, my first classic was a Martin 00-28-G, a fine instrument indeed. When I got into the Spanish-made instruments, I sold it. But lately, I really wish that I'd kept it. It may not have the elegance of a concert Ramirez or the pizzazz of a Fernandez flamenco, but it was a fine sounding, comfortable guitar.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Oct 08 - 07:05 AM

If your a beginner to intermediate player of classical, Yamaha makes some nice affordable classical guitars. If you want a sound closer to Wille's go with the spruce top models. I find that I like the sound of spruce better than the cedar.

Darrin


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Oct 08 - 11:43 AM

Why did somebody revive this question from 2005? I'm pretty sure NormanD has made up his mind by now.

Oh, well. It gives me the chance to say that the sight of Willie Nelson's maimed, abused guitar gives me the creeps. If he really respected the instrument, wouldn't he have put on a pickguard when the damage started?

I'm sure it's just a publicity stunt, The guitar probably sounds like nothing and any richness in it comes from the sound man's computerized equipment.


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: Don Firth
Date: 17 Oct 08 - 12:26 PM

No, it's the guitar. I can tell by nuances in the guitar's sound that couldn't really be diddled with by twisting knobs. It's amazing how good some really old, beat-up guiars can sound.

Besides, Willie's has an extra sound hole. . . .

Although I, personally, am not that enthralled with its sound. It tends to sound a bit harsh, especially when he lays into to it hard with the pick.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 17 Oct 08 - 05:05 PM

Right you are, Don. Seems like it shows a little "gutbucket" quality when he lays into it. Can a guitar sound Germanic, as in, dare I say it - gutteral?


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: NormanD
Date: 18 Oct 08 - 06:42 AM

There's plenty of live film of Willie Nelson playing his guitar - is it Trigger, he calls it? There's no sound engineering other than his amp. Love it or leave it. And, indeed, I have made my mind up, as I said above. I guess the thread came up again for the same old reasons most threads come round again and again and again.

norman


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 03 Jan 09 - 11:11 PM

I bought a Martin 000C-16 SRNE about 2 years ago (in Atlanta). They are no longer in production unless you order one from Martin's custom shop. I love it, largely because it's not a 'real' classical. It's got a slightly narrower fingerboard with a slight radius, making it play more like a steal string, but produces a full classical sound. I play it through a Roland AC 90 most of the time, with a direct line out through the house system at my church, but it sounds great totally acoustic as well. I've found it to be well made and the modest, reserved appointments add to the attractiveness, in my opinion.


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: Leadfingers
Date: 04 Jan 09 - 08:53 AM

I dont play classical or Flamenco ,but DID pick up an old Guild Classical in Mechanicsvill VA for a pittance as a gift to Maryrrf !
Its an excellet old guitar in MY opinion


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Feb 09 - 08:48 PM

By the way, when someone with hands the size of ham hocks tells you "I can't play a classic guitar. The fingerboard is too wide!" have them watch THIS!!

Seven years old, and that's a full-size classic she's playing!

Don Firth

P. S. That tickles me every time I watch it. But then I want to go out and stomp on my fingers!


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: GUEST,Bob McCarthy
Date: 24 May 10 - 06:31 PM

I have a 000C16 SRNE. I love it. Great for Jazz, Latin, Brazilian or World Music. To bad they don't make it anymore. Excellent instrument.
Bob


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: GUEST,Wally Macnow
Date: 24 May 10 - 11:32 PM

I wouldn't trade anything for my Martin O-16 NY model. Because of the wide neck and the fact that I've been playing it for 36 years, I have difficulty adjusting to more narrowly necked guitars. However, the sound out of this instrument is incredible and the balance is remarkable.


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: GUEST,Wally Macnow
Date: 24 May 10 - 11:36 PM

I forgot to mention that it will take either nylon or steel strings. I use light gauge steel. Heavier gauge will bend the neck.


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: GUEST,Jim Olson
Date: 29 Dec 11 - 11:18 PM

I have recently took up classical guitar again two years ago after a long break from when I played in mid to late seventies. I have a Yamaha GC20-D which is very nice but I always wanted a Martin 00-18C and found one and purchase it. I absolutely love it. It is not as loud as the Yamaha but it playes easy and sounds sweet. Since I do not perform, I prefer the Martin for playing alone. It is hard to describe but it has an addictive sound when I play it for myself. I am still looking for the perfect strings for the guitar but Augustine strings do sound pretty good on it. I would never ever sell the Marting guitar.


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Subject: RE: Martin Classical guitar
From: GUEST,John L
Date: 09 Nov 12 - 03:52 PM

I read this old topic because i'm looking informations about classical Martin guitars. I just want to write that Nelson uses folk steel strings on his classical martin. It's the reason of the hole (the heavy tension broke the saddle and damaged the top). He keeps the hole because he likes the sweet tone it does when plugged.
Cool story, does'nt it ?


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