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Info reqd: Martin guitars

03 Jan 05 - 07:47 PM (#1370478)
Subject: Info reqd: Martin guitars
From: GUEST,Allan

I have been told that Martin are now making/part making their guitars in Asia. Is this correct? (Hope not)

03 Jan 05 - 08:28 PM (#1370508)
Subject: RE: Info reqd: Martin guitars
From: Once Famous

As far as I know, everything from the 15 series on up is still made in Nazareth, PA.

I have heard that the lower end ones, DM, DR, X series, etc are assembled in a Martin plant in Mexico.

03 Jan 05 - 10:27 PM (#1370580)
Subject: RE: Info reqd: Martin guitars
From: open mike

see the thread on Sigma guitars -- we were discussing this a while back
search for Sigma in the mudcat search feature.

03 Jan 05 - 11:34 PM (#1370613)
Subject: RE: Info reqd: Martin guitars
From: Bev and Jerry

Three months ago we toured the Martin factory in Nazareth, PA and asked this very question of the tour guide. She said that all work on Martin guitars is done in this facility with the exception of fancy inlay work (such as might be found on a D-45) which is subcontracted.

Bev and Jerry

04 Jan 05 - 10:51 PM (#1371651)
Subject: RE: Info reqd: Martin guitars
From: GUEST,Allan

Well, Martin Gibson(surely a nom de plume?!) and Bev and Jerry seem to be at odds. Thanks anyway folks.

05 Jan 05 - 01:47 AM (#1371741)
Subject: RE: Info reqd: Martin guitars
From: open mike
this is where we discusssed Simga "made in Japan for C.F. Martin"

05 Jan 05 - 04:52 AM (#1371814)
Subject: RE: Info reqd: Martin guitars
From: Dewey

Whereever they come from, They all are STILL awesome sounding, which is the only requirement for me. I like Martins for singing. And for flatpicking, Give me a brighter sounding gibson or even guild with projection!

I think the sound quality can still be great in the overseas or Mexican models Martin has, the difference is that they just don't have the collateral value of the vintage models, rarity or handmade beauty. that is especially true with Martin, but those are the ONLY differences.

I've play cheap Martin Road Series models that sounded better than the D-28's next to them in the store, and I am sure others here will vouch for that experience as well. Most of the time its sticker shock that you end up paying the bucks for, not over-all sound between the various Martin models.

The only exception is the Martin DXM, This model seems to have chronic buzzing and neck issues. Don't know if it is a mass production problem or not, but if the neck stays playable, you will definitely still hear that signature martin tone that marks all of these instruments reguardless of where on the globe they originated from.

I think Martin has been vary careful about preserving their image as the sound leader, as this is why people seem to choose their guitars over many other brands.


05 Jan 05 - 06:22 AM (#1371848)
Subject: RE: Info reqd: Martin guitars
From: Lanfranc

As the owner of four Martins, and a Martin nerd of some forty years standing, I understand that the backpackers (GBP 140 for a backpacker uke!!!), and at least some of the plastic guitars are made in Mexico, but everything else is made in Nazareth. Given the multitude of models and the numbers in which they are made these days, productivity at Nazareth must be awesome!

This might cause one to question quality control, but my three recent Martins - a 1998 SPD16, a 1999 DM12 and a 2003 00016C-GTE - show no sign of compromise, but they are all significantly lighter in construction than my original 1968 D18. Nonetheless the sound and playability of all of them is excellent. Will they last 37 years like the D18? Who knows, I'll ask my executor to get the next owner to post the answer when the time comes, because I doubt if I'll be around!

My DM12 is quite awesome considering what it cost, it blows away any other 12-string I have ever played and has the finest-grained spruce top of any of my guitars. I was initially somewhat miffed to discover that the 00016 had a plastic (Micarta) fingerboard and bridge, but there's nothing wrong with the way it plays and ebony is an endangered wood and expensive if you can find it, so I suppose that it's an ecologically sound substitute.

Even the entry-level laminate models I have come across sound and play well. The main problem for guitar snobs (which I hope I am not, I also own Washburns and a Tanglewood) is that there are now so many affordable Martins in the UK (the US Dollar rate must help, here) that they are becoming almost commonplace! I went to a singaround recently where four of the six guitars being played were Martins!


06 Jan 07 - 08:04 PM (#1928749)
Subject: RE: Info reqd: Martin guitars
From: Robin June

Re: I have been told that Martin are now making/part making their guitars in Asia. Is this correct? (Hope not)

The new Little Martins come from Mexico.

Back in 1990, I bought a new '89 Martin Shenandoah D12-2832 which was a 12 string with a Fishman 332 undersaddle pickup. Between the parts and the assembly, I forget which was done in Japan and which was done in Nazareth in an effort to save on costs. (It was an experiment by the Martin factory that ultimately didn't work.)

The Fishman pickup never worked reliably, and it only had a 1-year warranty instead of the Martin lifetime one on the rest of the guitar. Unfortunately, for the last month of that year it was stolen for the first time, and by the time I got it back, there was no fixing it for what I could afford.

The second time it was stolen it didn't come back, but by then I had insurance. I took my money and bought a standard D12-28. The sound was similar, the feel was definitely the same, but the soundboard was much whiter than the orange-finished Shenandoah's

07 Jan 07 - 07:29 PM (#1929693)
Subject: RE: Info reqd: Martin guitars
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton

I have a martin 00-21 which I bought in 1957 in Chicago. Still play it. Called Martin to ask if they could recommend an authorized repairman to do the fret job on it. Gave them the numbers and they couldn't locate me. Sort of gave me the brush off. Martin is now a "Corporation". The word is out too that the authorized repair people don't do the careful work required for the older models.

If I were going to advise people to buy a new guitar, I wouldn't recommend Martin today.
I'd go with an individual craftsperson....Taylor, Collings, Larrivee,...

As for 12 strings, I'd take a Guild over a Martin any day.

The old Martins, you can't beat 'em. But I find the new ones leave something to be desired. I also think that their PR sucks.



07 Jan 07 - 10:56 PM (#1929862)
Subject: RE: Info reqd: Martin guitars
From: Robin June

Ooh, an 00-21!

Is it old enough to have the herringbone rosette and slotted diamond fretmarkers?

If it does, it would make a Norman-Blake-matched set with my Martin Style B 1922 flatback mandolin.

(The Style B mando was decorated like the Style 21 guitar. The Style A matched the 18 guitar and the Style E matched the 45. When Norman Blake gave an interview to Acoustic Guitar magazine several years ago, he had two such pairs of matching guiatr/mandos. One was a Martin pair and the other a Gibson.)