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Old 01-17-2008, 09:47 AM
Raine Raine is offline
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Default Martin Guitars - Select Hardwoods?

I read somewhere that newer C.F. Martin guitars use select hardwoods instead of the traditional mahogany that has been used since the beginning. I am looking for a good to mint condition D18 or D28, but want an original.....not something that uses less than the older guitars. Anyone have any info on when this practice started and what wood or materials are used today. Link to stories is appreciated.

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Last edited by Raine; 01-17-2008 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 01-17-2008, 09:58 AM
billgennaro billgennaro is offline
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does "select" hardwood imply inferior hardwood? i would think the opposite. sounds like select rosewood or mahogany might be step up, no?
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:07 AM
imwjl imwjl is offline
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Originally Posted by billgennaro View Post
does "select" hardwood imply inferior hardwood? i would think the opposite. sounds like select rosewood or mahogany might be step up, no?
It often seems to be Spanish Cedar. I've been reading guitar history and learned that Spanish Cedar has been used a long time.

Running out of resources has created a scenario where the way some products have been made for a long time has changed. Many want their Martins to be from 1947 or like that.

I noticed that PRS uses wings on their head stocks but haven't seen the same whining on the PRS forum that takes place on the Martin forum.

There are lots of great used Martins that won't have wings and/or Spanish Cedar, but lots of great new ones that might be as good as they've every been when you consider the nut, saddle and manufacturing standards.

I am in the camp where I have more respect for a guitar company trying to minimize both environmental and product costs so these changes do not bother me, but I'll admit that my once piece necks made of mahogany are pretty. OTOH I forgot about the wings on my PRS pretty quickly.
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:10 AM
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"select hardwood" is Spanish cedar and is being used on more Martins as mahogany is becoming scarcer. I believe it was used on some of the really prized old prewar Marties and gets discussed a lot at UMGF

http://p072.ezboard.com/ftheunoffici...picID=50.topic

The way Martin cuts a complete neck out of one piece of wood is fairly wasteful - you are going to see more wings and laminated necks as other manufacturers are doing (again, in the 20's and 30's some Martins had a separate piece for the headstock - that is the origin of the volute).
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:10 AM
kitsinni kitsinni is offline
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As far as I know the "Golden Era" guitars are still being built without wings and with a Mahogony neck. At least mine was, it is a 2006 model. I emailed Martin to see what my neck material was since it was listed as "select hardwood" and when I talked to them in mid 07 they told me the GE series is all Mahogony neck. If you are serious about it I would email martin they are very helpful.
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:19 AM
imwjl imwjl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitsinni View Post
As far as I know the "Golden Era" guitars are still being built without wings and with a Mahogony neck. At least mine was, it is a 2006 model. I emailed Martin to see what my neck material was since it was listed as "select hardwood" and when I talked to them in mid 07 they told me the GE series is all Mahogony neck. If you are serious about it I would email martin they are very helpful.
My 00-18V has no wings and a solid mahogany neck and it's serial number is well past the start of the winged era.

Again, wings don't stop my PRS from being super easy to play and sounding good, and I've played some superb Martins with the Spanish Cedar necks and wings.

Martin, Taylor, Fender, Gibson and PRS all have quite the name, but I've found Martin to be surprisingly not full of themselves when I've contacted them for support compared to some companies so I'd second the statement that they are helpful.
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:35 AM
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rmyAddison rmyAddison is offline
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My 2007 HD-28V has wings and it's still perfect to me and holds it's own quite well against my one piece mahogany neck D-18GE.

While solid is preferable it has no effect on the sound and with wood shortages wings are becoming a necessity for Martin or they go to multi-piece necks.

Select Hardwood necks should not be a deal breaker, play and listen to the guitar, therein lies the answer.....................
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:41 AM
rlouie rlouie is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitsinni View Post
As far as I know the "Golden Era" guitars are still being built without wings and with a Mahogony neck. At least mine was, it is a 2006 model. I emailed Martin to see what my neck material was since it was listed as "select hardwood" and when I talked to them in mid 07 they told me the GE series is all Mahogony neck. If you are serious about it I would email martin they are very helpful.
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Originally Posted by rmyAddison View Post
My 2007 HD-28V has wings and it's still perfect to me and holds it's own quite well against my one piece mahogany neck D-18GE.

While solid is preferable it has no effect on the sound and with wood shortages wings are becoming a necessity for Martin or they go to multi-piece necks.

Select Hardwood necks should not be a deal breaker, play and listen to the guitar, therein lies the answer.....................
what is this wings thing that you speak about ??????????????
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:44 AM
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Folkstrum Folkstrum is offline
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I've read the controversy about "select hardwoods" being euphemistic for the lack of true mahogany. There are any number of Martin purists who simply will not accept it. Period. Perhaps it's the lack of specificity of what the "select" woods actually are (well, as long as it's not nato! ).

There were some threads-not terribly long, or enduring here-about African mahogany soon becoming the "new Brazilian"-and put on the CITES list. Hence, "true mahogany" B/S and necks getting really pricey. Does anyone have any concrete links or CITES info that this is, indeed, happening or about to? Just curious.
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:55 AM
AndrewG AndrewG is offline
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Quote:
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what is this wings thing that you speak about ??????????????
Two small pieces of wood glued to both edges of the headstock to make up the width required.
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Old 01-17-2008, 11:17 AM
MichaelM MichaelM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Folkstrum View Post
Perhaps it's the lack of specificity of what the "select" woods actually are (well, as long as it's not nato! ).

There were some threads-not terribly long, or enduring here-about African mahogany soon becoming the "new Brazilian"-and put on the CITES list.
No information on CITES possabilities, but Martin's wood buyer often posts over at the UMGF and they are having a lot of difficulty getting Mahogany in the right size to make a one-piece neck. Other supplies vary a lot too (remember that Martin is building over 60,000 guitars a year.)

According to a recent post, woods that are being used for necks are:

Bigleaf Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) with and without wings
Spanish cedar with and without wings
Sapele with and without wings
Aftican Mahogany with and without wings
Nato (Nyatoh) 3 piece necks with scarf joint headstock and glued on heel (Used for the Road Series guitars only)
Maple (occasionally, with or without wings)
Cherry (sustainable Cherry is used for some models)

The frequent changes in supply have necessitated the change to "Select Hardwood" because otherwise they would be constantly changing their marketing materials!
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Old 01-17-2008, 11:45 AM
rlouie rlouie is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewG View Post
Two small pieces of wood glued to both edges of the headstock to make up the width required.
thank you Andrew................................
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Old 01-17-2008, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlouie View Post
thank you Andrew................................
It was also discussed in the UMGF link
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Old 01-17-2008, 01:11 PM
PastorSteve PastorSteve is offline
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I own (like many here) high-end guitars with 5 or more piece necks. When playing a guitar I don't know, or care, how many pieces of wood were claped together to make the neck.

As long as it's a great maker, with a great warranty, I know it will last. If you close your eyes you don't know how many joints, wings or zippers there are on your neck. After all, it's all about tone and playability isn't it?
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Old 01-17-2008, 01:28 PM
billgennaro billgennaro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelM View Post
No information on CITES possabilities, but Martin's wood buyer often posts over at the UMGF and they are having a lot of difficulty getting Mahogany in the right size to make a one-piece neck. Other supplies vary a lot too (remember that Martin is building over 60,000 guitars a year.)

According to a recent post, woods that are being used for necks are:

Bigleaf Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) with and without wings
Spanish cedar with and without wings
Sapele with and without wings
Aftican Mahogany with and without wings
Nato (Nyatoh) 3 piece necks with scarf joint headstock and glued on heel (Used for the Road Series guitars only)
Maple (occasionally, with or without wings)
Cherry (sustainable Cherry is used for some models)

The frequent changes in supply have necessitated the change to "Select Hardwood" because otherwise they would be constantly changing their marketing materials!
thanks for the info. that clears things up for me.
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