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Martin Factory Tour

24 Apr 09 - 10:16 PM (#2618257)
Subject: Martin Factory Tour
From: Sandy Mc Lean

This week I was passing through Pa. and stopped in Nazereth and visited the Martin factory. I have never owned a Martin because my playing ability suits a cheaper box better. I got a chance to try a few out and all were nice, especially a D-18 that had the best ring. However none tempted me to consider a purchase. I went on the factory tour which was fascinating but I was a bit disappointed with the production line process and the high degree of automation. I think that the workers were skilled in what they did but it was very much a production line. Only the special orders were being built by luthiers totally by hand. The museum had some real eye candy from years past that made me drool though. Another thread asks if Martins are overpriced and after the tour I would be more inclined to say that perhaps they are.
   I wonder what others who have been there have thought?

25 Apr 09 - 05:42 PM (#2618725)
Subject: RE: Martin Factory Tour
From: Peace

Never been, Sandy, but my old Martin D-28 cost me $350 back in the day. I couldn't afford one these days.

Hope you are having or had a great trip.

26 Apr 09 - 09:30 AM (#2618962)
Subject: RE: Martin Factory Tour
From: Sandy Mc Lean

Thanks Bruce! Having a great trip!

06 Jan 11 - 11:11 AM (#3068527)
Subject: RE: Martin Factory Tour
From: GUEST,BruceAndrew

Yes They are over priced. A problem as well is certain guitars like the j12 40e 12 string are not in most music stores, therefor you cannot play one. You have to order it and take your chances. Thats a hell of a chance when spending $3800. I do believe I would not be dissapointed but it is still a gamble most musicians do not want to take. Martin seems to be all about production assembly lines.I played at least 4 martins price from $800-$3400 at a music store and none of the martins came close to several other guitars i played that were half the price.
unhappy about this for sure.Saving my hard earn cash for a martin and now im not to sure what brand I will choose.Would love to try the mcphearsons 12 strings.

06 Jan 11 - 12:59 PM (#3068612)
Subject: RE: Martin Factory Tour
From: Brian May

'Yes they are over priced'.

Based upon what?

When I bought my 000-28, I played every guitar in the 'expensive stuff' acoustic room - some 20 high quality guitars, Lowden, Taylors, Gibsons and other Martins.

Even with 'rusty' strings it stood head and shoulders above any other guitar there.

Interesting about folks' views on automation. My local luthier (who does guitars for Martin Simpson) says that in his opinion, the best guitars ever made are being made now - all makes, but particularly the 'better' end.

The handling and cutting out of the raw materials in terms of care, accuracy and construction is excellent and the 'hand crafted' bit is because human beings still do THAT better.

Also, never under rate the effect that a high quality instrument has on the player. I am now more interested and (judging by peers' and family comments) playing better than I ever have. That is as much my feelings about me - a sense of self worth which is a real fillip.

There is no feeling of guilt, only that over-used cliche from the TV advertising 'Because you're worth it'. I am, and it feels good.

Over priced ? No. Expensive ? Yes undoubtedly, but in this world, you usually get what you pay for.

06 Jan 11 - 02:13 PM (#3068659)
Subject: RE: Martin Factory Tour
From: GUEST,jeff

"...played every guitar in the 'expensive stuff' acoustic room...etc."

I did exactly the same thing a couple of years ago w/the same brands you mentioned both new and vintage. The best guitar in the room hands down was a Rainsong JM-1000. I've posted the story on other posts, so please excuse the repetition.

And I've owned and/or played over a hundred Martins(pre and post war), Gibsons, Guilds, Gurians. Carbon fiber in the abstact may or may not be one's taste, but one can't argue w/t sound.

Recently, Martins I've heard have been 'dead'. Even HD-28s and 'Special Edition' models. I've been around long enough to know that w/a good onboard transducer and eq one can hide a multitude of sins in terms of tone. I'll hear a fine sounding guitar in a songwriter's round w/a transducer and ask the owner to play it off-stage and they sound like crap. I've got an Alvarez DY39 solid/laminate w/a well designed internal system that blows away guitars costing thousands of dollars. Mine was 450.00US. That being said I KNOW when the tone of a guitar will lend itself to a microphone. None of the present day Martins I've heard would qualify.

Therefore, based on objective criteria the OP is right. They ARE overpriced. On the otherhand Olsens, Lowdens, etc. though expensive are not. Consider yourself fortunate to have gotten a good one which is very much an anomaly in today's manufactured guitar market.

Another thing. If one is primarily a finger-style guitarist most of the Lowden, Taylors, etc. would be too 'boomy' for one's playing style. Unless they're the OM or 000 size. My style is plectrum for most songs w/a use of thumb and metal fingerpicks for finger-style so a full-sized dreadnaught or jumbo is more suitable for my playing style.

06 Jan 11 - 02:28 PM (#3068667)
Subject: RE: Martin Factory Tour
From: lefthanded guitar

For me, personally, there's NOTHING like a Martin.(we've been here before Taylor fans)I think some Martins are better than others; the old ones sound better b/c they've aged of course; and I'm not so happy Martin started making some 'student' models. But overall, I think Martin makes an inspiring amazing guitar- I don't really know personally if every great Martin I heard hand made, but I DO know that when a certain performer I love (initials BS) switched from Martin to Taylor, he lost half the resonance I prized.

I surely think the higher end Martins are high priced, but I think they are WORTH the price- NOT overpriced- it's just like the difference between an Aston Martin (hehe) and a Hundai. A good Martin is warm, resonant, easy to play, beautiful to behold and even the scent of the wood has sustain.

Took me a LONG LONG time to finally own a Martin, but every time I strum mine (as one poster said, even with old strings) I am elated.

06 Jan 11 - 02:45 PM (#3068684)
Subject: RE: Martin Factory Tour
From: Brian May

"Consider yourself fortunate to have gotten a good one"

Well, actually, I've got 3. A D-28, a D12-28 and the 000-28.

Each one is superb - the luthier agrees (I presume you know who Martin Simpson is).

I've been playing since 1964 so have also 'been around the block a few times'. These guitars, which were chosen by me (not mail-ordered) are sublime in their looks, their construction and their sound. That is of course my opinion (shared by the luthier as it happens), but it's only my opinion that matters - if I'm the one paying.

The point is, I suppose, I take exception to bold statements which do not have room for discussion such as 'THEY ARE OVERPRICED' oh really?

The Martins were right FOR ME (and tens of thousands of other customers over 175 years), and I didn't think they were overpriced at all. Does my personal experience carry any less weight than yours? (Collectively).

If the Rainsong was right for you - or any other come to that, that's fine - I really hope you enjoy it. Doesn't make guitars (or anything else) you don't choose wrong - it just means you prefer something else.

Why do people damn what they don't like? Is it some form of insecurity? Enjoy your 'whatevers' and I'll enjoy my Martins, others will enjoy their Gibsons et al. It's called 'live and let live'.

07 Jan 11 - 10:45 AM (#3069277)
Subject: RE: Martin Factory Tour
From: Silas

No. Not overpriced at all. Despite all the bullshite spoken here, I have yet to play a 'poor' martin. Even my humble DX1 leaves most other marques standing.

10 Jan 11 - 02:17 PM (#3071494)
Subject: RE: Martin Factory Tour
From: GUEST,jef

What's MS's luthier got to do w/this? Who cares? My luthier is Vince Gill, Larry Coryell, Brent Mason, Pat Flynn and Sam Bush's luthier/tech. You know who THEY are, don't you? Offering a well considered, experienced opinion could hardly be interpreted as insecurity. I take exception to THAT type of condescension.

"THEY ARE OVERPRICED" I was referring specifically to contemporary manufactured models that I have heard. And suprisingly some of the 'special edition' ones as well. The fact that you found a good one IS fortunate. And they are overpriced in general.

I don't own a Rainsong. Although, when I start touring again I'll get one for sure. If you read the post it's stated what I own. What wasn't stated was comparative sound w/a transducer set up. While my guitar sounds pedestrian acoustically the Joe Mills/LR Baggs set-up I've got lends the instrument much more tone than it actually has. The same with instruments costing thousands of dollars. Whatever TD set-up that's used(usually Fishmans) greatly enhances the tone. Then, acoustically they sound like 'bullshite'. These are present day Martins not vintage. The point was/is that I was shocked and continue to be shocked at what people will pay for sub-standard instruments based on name recognition. Obviously, based on your experience I wasn't referring to you. Had the instrument been sub-standard you wouldn't have purchased it.

I've bought, used and sold many, many Martin's, Guilds, Gurian and Gibsons myself. Martins I've owned are a 57-D18, 64-D18S, 69-D12-35S, 76-D35S, 67-D18, 69-D18S, 49-D18, 52-D18, 78-M38. Guilds: 79-D35, 71-F50, 69-D50, 80-F30, 76-F512. Gurian: S2M, S3M and Jumbo models. Gibsons: 50s-B25, 50s-J45, 60s-J200.

And I never stated anything I don't choose as wrong. And there was no 'damning of what I don't like'. Merely stating what has been my experience in listening to present day Martins, specifically.