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View Full Version : Best Martin guitar for strumming?


garyyoung
06-30-2008, 04:19 PM
I'm looking to upgrade to a Martin guitar, but I am strictly a strummer. Can you recommend the best model(s) for balance and dymanics when strumming? Are there other brands I should consider for my purposes? I'm looking to spend in the $2500 - $3500 range. Thanks!

Tsckey
06-30-2008, 04:30 PM
Well in the early days of Bluegrass, before Doc Watson and others liberated the guitar as lead instrument, lots and lots of guitarists wailed away on D-18s, D-28s, and D-35s, they still do. All are in your price range

TC

grantgsc
06-30-2008, 05:15 PM
I have an OM28 Marquis. It is excellent strummer. But my Dread Martin listed below is just awsome. Interestingly, it has an Eng. top.

rmyAddison
06-30-2008, 05:27 PM
If you are strictly a strummer I think you should look at dreads. I own all the Martin sizes and would generally categorize them as:

strumming -dreads
fingerpicking - short scale 000's
nice all around - OM's

Of course you can use any guitar for any style, some are just better suited than others.

I would look at D-28 Marquis, D-18GE, HD-28V and HD-35 to get the flavor of Martin dreads, the bargain being the HD-28V, wonderful guitars.

If you want to look at other brands too try Collings, Bourgeois and Santa Cruz, they all make great guitars. But if you want the classic Martin sound for rosewood I would say the HD-28V and for Mahogany the D-18GE.

If you want to spend more the D-28MM (Marquis Madagascar) is a tone to the bone monster. Happy shopping.

ljguitar
06-30-2008, 05:29 PM
I'm looking to upgrade to a Martin guitar, but I am strictly a strummer. Can you recommend the best model(s) for balance and dymanics when strumming? Are there other brands I should consider for my purposes? I'm looking to spend in the $2500 - $3500 range. Thanks!
Hi Gary...
Hello and welcome to the forum. Glad you joined, and I will toss in my few cents worth.

I'd go to a shop that handles better brands, and play every Martin, Gibson, Taylor, Collings and Huss & Dalton you can put your hands on. Suspend your budget till you find the guitar you cannot live without and then spend whatever it takes to bring it home.

There are amazing instruments out there, and what you need to find is the one that makes you sing.

banpreso
06-30-2008, 05:32 PM
if you are strickly a strummer, and don't mind the dread body, you'll want a martin dread. the D-18GE is a good place to start, or HD-28V.

other brands to consider will be stonebridge dread, gibson AJ, webber dread, breedlove triditional series dread maybe, collings dread, bourgeouz, stanta cruz, all that.

just gotta find a good place and play a few to get the idea.

HHP
06-30-2008, 05:37 PM
Dumb question, but when you say you are a "strummer" are you saying you only play rhythm or that you play lead and rhythm with a flatpick?

Ed422
06-30-2008, 05:53 PM
Hi Gary...
Hello and welcome to the forum. Glad you joined, and I will toss in my few cents worth.

I'd go to a shop that handles better brands, and play every Martin, Gibson, Taylor, Collings and Huss & Dalton you can put your hands on. Suspend your budget till you find the guitar you cannot live without and then spend whatever it takes to bring it home.

There are amazing instruments out there, and what you need to find is the one that makes you sing.


As usual, Larry has come very close to hitting the nail on the head. The only thing I'd change in his comments;

Don't limit yourself to those brands but think about limiting yourself to your budget (or what you could scrounge up in a short amount of time). In the range specified, there are some darned fine instruments. Play everything in the budget and not just the top end of the budget. IMO, if you can't find a "gotta have" with that budget, you're just not trying. Remember to try to budget in a few dollars for setup tweaks.

Ed

Chesapeake
06-30-2008, 06:14 PM
The nice thing about a dread is there's no reason you can't do anything you want with it. Nothing wrong with "just strumming," but a really good one might inspire you to go further.

I have a Martin D-28 Marquis and a Martin HD28VC, virtually identical guitars, both with Adirondack (red spruce) tops. I really should sell one (I also have a Martin D-35 - definitely over-invested in dreads), and at one point had listed the Marquis, but have decided to keep both because I just love 'em both. They have big voices - bright trebles and bottoms that sound like pipe organs. Whether I'm "just strumming," or running a bass line (which in a jam almost sounds like an upright bass), or flat- or fingerpicking a melody, well, let 's just say it makes me real happy.

woodruff
06-30-2008, 06:17 PM
D-35, just nothing like it for strumming. great old martin tone.

and gibson AJ.

john bange
06-30-2008, 06:21 PM
I have to agree with HHP...flat pick,thumb pick, thumb only...might get a different choice. john bange

urbanmike
06-30-2008, 06:35 PM
i know you said that you really want to get a martin, but considering your price range, i would recommend you at least try a santa cruz dreadnought.

martins are great and i love them, but santa cruz seems to have the great traditional dreadnought tone along with a special "oomph" in them that makes me love them even more.

Michael T
06-30-2008, 06:58 PM
Got my son a D-28 this year. Sat down with a D-28, D-35, HD-28 & simply loved the balance and over all sound of the D-28 (saved a few dollars too).

maurerfan
06-30-2008, 08:22 PM
Garyyoung - I'm a martin fan ... own three myself; a D-18, a 000-18GE and a custom 14-fret 00-21. All strum very well. If you like the dry, open, airy voice of a vintage Martin, you would probably like the 000-18GE (mahogany/redspruce) ... a very fine guitar that is within your price range. I think it strums at least as well as it fingerpicks. Good luck.

Ranger1964
06-30-2008, 09:08 PM
I'm a rosewood/spruce dread fan. For me it came down to the HD-28 and HD-35. The HD-35 was a little too much, the HD-28 was perfect. I like the sound of the scalloped bracing and the low profile neck fits my hand better than the mod v.

nairbil
06-30-2008, 09:41 PM
cant go wrong with anything D or HD - 28 or 35
martins have got beautiful sound especially in the low end

i notice you also have a thread asking about best taylor strummer in the taylor section...
since i don't want to post two posts, for that i'd suggest some sort of GS (8 or 6?) or maybe an 810 or 610 or jumbos of those guitars ( x15)

weatherford
06-30-2008, 10:04 PM
I played everything in the Martin "special" room at the factory when I was there in April - and I must admit the Vintage Dred model (of course, I can't remember WHICH vintage it was D-18V or D-28V) blew the other instruments in the room away.

However, you really should go to a great music store and play everything - in and out of your price range. You might be surprised. Certainly, Ken Hodges (AGF sponsor) makes a wonderful dred and there are others out there, too!!

Open your ears and don't limit yourself!!

:guitar:

scadgrad
06-30-2008, 10:40 PM
Best two strummers I've played lately were my own D-28 Mad Marquis and the Gibson Advanced Jumbo. I also like the D-18GE, particularly the Amberburst ones, but greatly prefer the sound of rosewood, particularly for a strumming vocalist like myself. The Taylor GS8 is in the conversation as well, but doesn't quite do what the upscale Martins and the AJ does, at least not for my ears. For you budget though, I'd go with a HD-28V and get a custom Adi top (Gruhn keeps these in stock). I'd put it up against just about any new guitar that doesn't have Mad RW or Braz. The D-35s are sweet as well, but I just don't dig that 3-piece back

TwoStep420
07-01-2008, 01:59 PM
As has been said...The Martin Dred!

Glennwillow
07-01-2008, 02:52 PM
Garyyoung,

I agree with the suggestions regarding Martin dreadnoughts. I have used a Martin D-35 for 40 years to play a combination of strumming and fingerstyle with good results, at least from my perspective. In recent years I acquired a Gibson Advanced Jumbo that is also a great guitar for strummming. I think it might sound even better than the D-35 for pure flat-picking. This particular AJ has a Red Spruce (Adi) top, so it has a very full sound. Most AJ's have Sitka spruce tops, which is a little mellower (and less expensive) but still a great sound.

The suggestion of getting into a room full of great guitars and finding out what you like is right on the money. Sometimes you think you want one thing until you compare it with others and suddenly you can be on a completely different track.

Thanks, Glenn

Spook
07-01-2008, 03:11 PM
Best Martin for strumming? A Collings D1.

Ed422
07-01-2008, 03:37 PM
Best Martin for strumming? A Collings D1.

LOL!

I'm pretty fond of the Larrivee L shape, specifically the L-05. I prefer mahogany over rosewood almost exclusively.

Ed

kwakatak
07-01-2008, 07:59 PM
+1 on the D or HD, 28 or 35 series. My fave is the HD-35.

Marvingriff
07-01-2008, 10:04 PM
I have had all the Martin dreds and for me the J-40 beats them all. It is a more agressive strummer than a D-35 but you can finger pick it like a OM. It is the best of all worlds. Expensive but well worth it. More people should try one. I think they would be surprised.

mjz
07-02-2008, 06:05 AM
The best guitar for strumming is the guitar you pick up an play and think "This guitar is perfect for strumming."

In the Martin line check out the

000 -- most people think of these as picking boxes but the sound great strummed. Louder than you might think, too

The dread is the obvious choice. Mahoganey will cut through the mix a bit more. Rosewood will growl. There are dreads in every price range. Consider an 11/16th neck. Might be more conducive to strumming -- might not. Anyway, just know the neck width at the nut varies on models as does the profile or shape of the neck

The 0000 or M is a killer guitar. Has the attributes of a dread in terms of punch, but more balance -- meaning the tone from each string is a bit more even, unlike a dread, that takes some experience to play with balance.

Be sure to play the OM's. It might be the most versatile Martin shape out there. The OM-28v might be the perfect guitar.

The only Martin body style that may be more versatile than the OM is the J. Shape of the M with the depth of the dread.

The 00 and 0 srtrum well, a bit of a boxier closed down blues kind of tone, for me, but may be the perfect strummer for you.

After you've played all the Martins you can move one to
Gibson,
Larrivee,
Taylor,
Collings
Huss and Dlton,
Godall,
Tacoma,
SCGC



Then again, you could just order a Martin HD-28 from Maury's Music and be done with it :D

max

Ranger1964
07-02-2008, 07:48 AM
I'm a rosewood/spruce dread fan. For me it came down to the HD-28 and HD-35. The HD-35 was a little too much, the HD-28 was perfect. I like the sound of the scalloped bracing and the low profile neck fits my hand better than the mod v.


Oh and my other guitar is an 810ce and I strum the bejeebers out of that too. I'm one of those that loves both Taylor and Martin sounds. "Vive la difference!"

lofapco
07-02-2008, 08:31 AM
I've noticed several people mention the Gibson AJ.... I have one and can say, they make for an awesome strumming, flatpicking and even fingerstyle guitar. The Gibson tone seems to go great with anybody who sings along as well.

I have never owned a Martin because other than a really nice Eric Clapton small body one I played, I tend to be more partial to the Taylor and Gibson tones. I have heard some very nice Martin Dreads being played by others, but just have never found one as "balanced" as I tend to like my guitars for sound.

I agree with everyone who said, play many and find the one that appeals most to your sense of tone, playability, etc. The process is almost as much fun as bringing your new baby home!

:)

Fredmando
07-02-2008, 08:56 AM
I think the D-35 is one of my favorite Martins. I like the 18 series guitar a lot, but a good D-35 really knocks me off of the chair.
I also like Martin's 000-15, which strum like a champ and are a deal.
Otherwise, the Gibson AJ kind of reminds me of a Martin in some of its tone and they are a great player.
If you have the scratch, make sure you check out a Santa Cruz OM/PW or D/PW--both are awesome strummers.