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View Full Version : HPL guitars!!! I'm buying and eating crow!!


Turp
04-06-2007, 06:26 PM
Less than a year ago, I posted critism about Martin using High Pressure Laminates. I didn't go for their guitars using man-made materials priced similar to competitors that were all wood. It seemed "Anti-Martin".

Well now two guitars later I'm eating "crow". My first Martin, a 000-16SGT has a Micarta fretboard and bridge. Components are very well done and excellant quality. The second and on hold, a Little Martin LXM, played like butter and sounded better and fuller than it's size. The setup on it was better than my 000. The (3) LXMs I've heard and played were all superb.

I also played a OOXCE, it was OK. The setup was off but it was decent. I think some imports would give it a good run.

Anyway it seems the HPL Martins have a niche because the material is so stable and the laminated necks are probly stable as well.

With this I'll say.....I.....was.....wrong.

But I'm still not a Martin Fan.:)

Cornerstone Guitars
04-06-2007, 09:20 PM
Laminates if done nicely and creatively can really make a guitar....

cominghome419
04-06-2007, 11:44 PM
Im still pretty pleased with my 000X1, which has a solid top. It doesnt quite have the depth of solid wood, but its still a great sounding guitar, and I do prefer it to many solid guitars (Taylor, Takamine, Breedlove, Blueridge) Ive played.

Glad to see you comin around. I know HPL doesnt sound like a good idea, but I think Martin has done great with it.

GRW3
04-06-2007, 11:53 PM
My 000X1 does not have the tone of my 814 but I can play it without reservation at the jam sessions. Also, since the back is HPL I didn't even hesitate when I had the idea to add a big, yellow vinyl "HOWDY!" to the back of the guitar (that's quite a hit with the crowd, BTW).

alanmurray
04-07-2007, 09:27 AM
HPL=

Formica=

Warite=

Plastic

I Think

Al

:)

mishmannah
04-07-2007, 02:04 PM
I have a friend who owns a Martin Dread with HPL back and sides, and it is surprisingly lively, with a wide tonal palette.

JoeInLex
04-07-2007, 02:13 PM
Folks,

HPL guitars are seemingly well designed and built. The materials are more resilient than wood and will suffer much less from exposure to temperature and humidity extremes. I think that they are, for the price, nice travel guitars that ALMOST sound like the typical Martin sound.

I personally enjoy the 00CXAE for its size, comfort, and durability.

One thing though, it seems that opposed to having an HPL, Micarta, etc. composite material throughout, Martin decided to use real wood bracing internally...... Makes me curious as to why. You would think that the HPL material would be sufficiently strong to do without the internal bracing and te the needed sound gotten from tinkering with the HPL.

I think that Martin made a pretty nice decision in coming out with such good quality guitars within the price range.

Turp
04-07-2007, 02:39 PM
JoeInLex, You bring up a good point and I am by no means an expert, but I think bracing is needed if the top is the proper thickness to vibrate. I too am curious about their use of spruce braces on their X series guitar. My guess the spruce is cheap, available, and works well without having to "completely" re-invent the wheel.

FourT6and2
04-07-2007, 02:43 PM
I tried a few out and I wasn't too happy with the sound: very bright, brittle, metallic, and harsh.

RiffD
04-07-2007, 07:44 PM
The second and on hold, a Little Martin LXM, played like butter and sounded better and fuller than it's size. The setup on it was better than my 000. The (3) LXMs I've heard and played were all superb.

Turp -

Did you happen to test drive the LX1 at the same time? Curious if there's any difference in sound, with the LX1's spruce top (HPL sides/back) vs. the LXM's all HPL, all the time. :)

Rod Neep
04-07-2007, 08:03 PM
I bought a Martin HPL guitar (DXK2) as a "take it anywhere" guitar. In order to get the "decent" sound that would be the most satisfying I went for the dreadnought size. That turned out to be a good move. Now, it isn't a D-28 Marquis, but it is surprisingly satisfactory for the purpose for which I bought it.... places with high humidity and temperature. One of its surprising assets is the sustain.... it rings on for years. Not as "mature" sounding as a D-28 and variants of course, but pretty decent, and with plenty of bass response too.

http://www.rod-neep.com/rod/pers/jan12.jpg

and here in the heat and humidity on the beach and jungle of Malaysia a few weeks ago.

http://www.rod-neep.com/rod/hols/rod-and1.jpg

Rod

Mike777
04-07-2007, 08:23 PM
Im still pretty pleased with my 000X1, which has a solid top. It doesnt quite have the depth of solid wood, but its still a great sounding guitar, and I do prefer it to many solid guitars (Taylor, Takamine, Breedlove, Blueridge) Ive played.

Glad to see you comin around. I know HPL doesnt sound like a good idea, but I think Martin has done great with it.

I have a Martin 000X1. Great little guitar. I put a K & K mini in it. Really great sound plugged into my Roland amp.

TBman
04-07-2007, 08:33 PM
Laminates are the way to go for a guitar you want to throw in the car to go to the beach, camping, whatever. I take mine to work every day and play on my lunchhour in my truck. The best part of a spruce top laminate is that they are loud which is what you need when playing in an environment with a lot of background noise like my local pool.

JoeInLex
04-07-2007, 09:15 PM
Agree fully concerning where these guitars can be taken and used. One of the primary reasons why I purchased another guitar that I own, a CA X performer, is the terrific realization that the guitar can pretty much survive a flood at 120 degrees. No other guitar gives me the sense of overall satisfaction when traveling except my 00CXAE. Yes it is not the best sounding guitar, but let me tell you, the overall package, to me at least, is wonderful. Can't complain. I love the look on friends faces when I tell them about the guitar and the Martin X series in general. I love that look of "you spent how much on a countertop guitar?" Then I let them play it and the consensus has been, except for one friend who admits to being a 'purist', that its a really nice guitar.

Of course, everyone has their own opinions with respect to guitars. I personally also find Ovation guitars beautiful in their design and engineering.

RiffD
04-07-2007, 09:19 PM
I'm curious, for those of you mention guitars that aren't billed as "travel" guitars, whether you manage to get these into overhead bins or how you deal with the logistics from point A to B.

Personally, in my hunt for a travel guitar, I'm dismissing anything that isn't a bit reduced and could *easily* fit in overheads. All factors about HPL or durability aside, it comes down (for me) to being able to drag it along on biz trips and not fight to get in on the plane.

JTWard01
04-07-2007, 10:57 PM
FYI, I have a OOOX1 for sale over in the classified section. $350.00 with case.

cosine
04-07-2007, 11:22 PM
My dad seems to like the HPL Martins. He doesn't play the guitar, but keeps telling me I should get one of the HPL Martins. :D

vti814ce
04-07-2007, 11:24 PM
For what its worth, i like to play all wood guitars as much as i can. I do however own a Martin LXM, I tried the Taylors they are pretty nice, but i heard alot more of what i wante to hear from the Baby Martin in that case. Im having a p/u installed in my Martin LXM just for kicks.

I look at it like this, MONEY AND MARKET SHARE are always going to influence a company the size of the boys were talking about, and what new lengths they travel to keep in the black! i dont frown on martin/taylor/gibson/takamine/ or whomever, for deciding to build and attempt to market HPL'S or even guitars made of "old shoe boxes" as long as they are priced fair, IMHO, these companies know what they are doing and they know thay can make great acoustics out of wood. what they are doing with all the new technology is ok with me, if they are willing to put their name and reputation on the headstock......how bad can they be overall? As long as they market honestly and are priced accordingly, i say c'mon! more people will be able to afford a great sounding guitar and learn to enjoy, my first guitar was a $200 takamine G-240, which i still have. that spawned my interest and got me to try something new. They are a passion now.


besides i played a martin something...i dont know oom or something, it had no binding and seemed to have a rolled top into the sides, sorta a om style body at G/C . it was listed for less than six president franklins, i thought it was awsome!

JTWard01
04-08-2007, 01:02 AM
For what its worth, i like to play all wood guitars as much as i can. I do however own a Martin LXM, I tried the Taylors they are pretty nice, but i heard alot more of what i wante to hear from the Baby Martin in that case. Im having a p/u installed in my Martin LXM just for kicks.

besides i played a martin something...i dont know oom or something, it had no binding and seemed to have a rolled top into the sides, sorta a om style body at G/C . it was listed for less than six president franklins, i thought it was awsome!

Sounds like a OOOX1. Solid spruce top, no binding, HPL back and sides. Looks just like a Little Martin LX1 all grown up.

vti814ce
04-08-2007, 01:42 AM
Sounds like a OOOX1. Solid spruce top, no binding, HPL back and sides. Looks just like a Little Martin LX1 all grown up.

That thing shocked the heck out of me, i picked it up because it looked different than the Martins Im used to seeing, at the time i was playing it i only knew the price and the brand. I was finger picking a James Taylors song."sweet baby James" or trying .....that guitar was one very nice acoustic! i dont care what it's made of! I'd personally trade my Taylor110 for it in second!

If it sounds good and priced right.......who cares, a Taylor or Martin or Gibson or a few other popular forein brands, its going to be pretty nice overall.
Standards have changed and the consumers are getting the benefit,IMHO.

SeamusORiley
04-08-2007, 05:39 AM
I found a slightly nicer sound comparing the Martin LXM and Lx1. The LXM is all laminate, but the LX1, with wood top, sounded fuller. I think the retail difference is about $20 or so.......

Has the laminates been out long enough to know how they hold up over time, as some have said that they are better for humidity/temp fluctuations?


I also carefully compared the LX1 and LXM with the Baby Taylor, and the LX1 seemed to be the nicest, fullest sound. Deeper bass. a very unprofessional .02

Turp
04-08-2007, 07:01 AM
Turp -

Did you happen to test drive the LX1 at the same time? Curious if there's any difference in sound, with the LX1's spruce top (HPL sides/back) vs. the LXM's all HPL, all the time. :)
I demoed a LX1 last year and it struck me with the same surprise. I didn't have a LX1 to A and B for this choice. As much as I like wood tops, the idea of a more stable synthetic top material on a travel guitar appeals to me.

I have read opinions stating the LX1 has more volume and sustain.

JTWard01
04-08-2007, 07:08 AM
In addition to the OOOX1 I'm selling I also have an LX1 and for it's size and price ($300 new) it's a great sounding guitar. No, it doesn't sound like the OOOX1, it can't. The HPL is very tough. I've bumped it around quite a bit and there's not a mark on it.

Big Eric
04-08-2007, 07:39 AM
Had an early DXM and ended up getting rid of it. Couldn't get used to the neck. Also, the all laminate sound just wasn't right for me. Even for travel. The DX1 might be better for that. At least for someone like me.

They are decent guitars. And approximate the Martin sound. But in the price range, there is a lot of competition. Especially if you buy used.