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Old 08-08-2010, 08:58 AM
Snippet Snippet is offline
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Default Why is Martin set up so poor?

Hi

I went to my local shop today to try out a few guitars.

Played a couple of Taylors(one was a 312ce) and they were very nice to play straight off the bat.

Played a couple of Martins including a D28 and though (for me) the sound of the Martins was warmer than the Taylors,the high set up on all the Martins was not great at all.

The sound of the D28 won the day for me and I really want one but the set up didn't make it as comfortable to play as I hoped,whats the score with Martin set ups?

Thanks

PS-on reflection 'Poor' should be subsituted with High

Last edited by Snippet; 08-08-2010 at 11:08 AM. Reason: added 'high' to expalin what i meant by set up
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:02 AM
hflsmg17317 hflsmg17317 is offline
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could you clarify what you mean by "setup." All you said is that you liked the sound, but "setup" is not specific enough.
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:04 AM
ewalling ewalling is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snippet View Post
The sound of the D28 won the day for me and I really want one but the set up didn't make it as comfortable to play as I hoped,whats the score with Martin set ups?

Thanks
Maybe some guitars suffer from being tuned all over the place in big stores. I've bought a Martin from Maury and one from My Favorite Guitars and both were set up beautifully ie. relatively low action and no fret buzz.
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:04 AM
HudsDad HudsDad is offline
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Martins generally come from the factory with a high action, but that's something a lot of players prefer (bluegrass, etc) and it's easily adjusted if you like a lower action. Other than that, I've yet to see one in a shop with a setup I'd consider "poor."
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:07 AM
imwjl imwjl is offline
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I hope you're not just trolling because a lot of disk space and bandwidth has been wasted on this topic.

I don't find them to be set up poorly as much as usually having higher action than many like. I also know players who don't like the low setup some guitars have.

It's not a bother for me because the shops I like take care of a proper setup with a purchase.
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:09 AM
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I own two Martins, a dread, and a 000. Both came with set ups a bit higher than I prefer. Both were easily adjusted. If you like the tone, you can adjust the rest. It is the sound that matters.
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snippet View Post
Hi

I went to my local shop today to try out a few guitars.

Played a couple of Taylors(one was a 312ce) and they were very nice to play straight off the bat.

Played a couple of Martins including a D28 and though (for me) the sound of the Martins was warmer than the Taylors,the set up on all the Martins was not great at all.

The sound of the D28 won the day for me and I really want one but the set up didn't make it as comfortable to play as I hoped,whats the score with Martin set ups?

Thanks
Martin's historical roots are in bluegrass and folks, bluegrassers expecially like a higher action to allow for aggressive flatpicking. Most Taylors are acoustic electrics with low action that suits their purpose.

The latest Martins are coming with a lower action than years ago but still higher than Taylor. The expectation with a Martin is to get a setup to suit the owner, also Martin dreads come with mediums and most Taylors lights, that too influences feel.

A setup is not a big deal, like getting fitted for a suit, every guitar should have a setup, even if you like it stock almost any guitar will play better if you have it set up to your liking by a good luthier.

I do my own setups anymore and the first thing I do when I buy a guitar is take it home and "set it up".
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:22 AM
NAFIGATOR NAFIGATOR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snippet View Post
Hi


The sound of the D28 won the day for me and I really want one but the set up didn't make it as comfortable to play as I hoped,whats the score with Martin set ups?

Thanks
I think the topic of a set up is covered pretty well by others, the bottom line is that usually Martin sets up string a bit higher and that's probably what felt uncomfortable. It can be fixed by any competent luthier in about 10 minutes.

Now, I want to comment on the sound difference. It seems like you were comparing Taylor's 312 to Martin D-28 and Martin won in warms and volume. Before you make a final decision, make sure you are comparing "apples to apples". Martins rosewood dreadnought will always sound warmer than smaller body, mahogany Taylor. Compare D-28 to Taylor 710, 810 or 910 to make a realistic comparison. And good luck with your choice whatever that will be :-)
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:27 AM
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Ted @ LA Guitar Sales Ted @ LA Guitar Sales is offline
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It is impossible to compete with the Taylor factory setup simply because of the way they build their guitar. The neck is an independent unit that is perfectly straight and can be infinitely adjustable. This is not possible with a neck using dovetail construction. however tonally there is a difference.

If it's the Martin tone you seek than a simple setup by a local luthier should solve the problem. Many Martin dealers even offer setups at no charge but in some cases a minor tweak is needed after a setup so if at all possible I would recommend getting a setup done locally to make sure it's right for you.
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:56 AM
Brent Hutto Brent Hutto is offline
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I'll bet you a nickel if you called Martin's customer support and asked that question they'd tell you there's no such thing as a factory setup being good or bad on Martin guitars. Their position is that their dealers are responsible for delivering a guitar that is properly set up for the customer's satisfaction. So maybe you should say "Why are the guitars at the Martin dealers I've visited so poor?".

If you were building a guitar to send to a third party (dealer) to be set up individuallly for each buyer, it would make sense to leave action, nut slots, everything set pretty high. Lowered those things is trivial for a qualified technician and it beat the heck out of having to make a new nut and/or saddle because the guitar came with one that's too low.
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Old 08-08-2010, 10:06 AM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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Well, everyone above me here has already hit the nail on the head. If you like the sound of the D-28, have the store or their recommendation of a guitar technician set the guitar up with the lowest possible action without buzzing. As Rich notes, this is like getting your suit tailored properly for you; it's standard practice. And Tarpman and Brent's comments are right on, as well.

I own both Martins and Taylors and others, and my Martins play just as well as my Taylors.

Regards, Glenn
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Old 08-08-2010, 10:47 AM
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Yeah, I guess this subject gets covered about once a month.

Some players like high action, some like low action. Martin assumes that the new owner will want to have the guitar set up to suit his/her preferences.

Lowering the action by filing high nut slots down, and shaving a high saddle down, is a whole lot easier and cheaper than raising the action by replacing a nut cut too low, and replacing a saddle shaved too low.
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Old 08-08-2010, 10:56 AM
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Woooaah,I am novice regarding Martin's and Taylors so excuse my lack of understanding or indeed phrasing.

When I said the set up is poor,I meant the action is too high for me and everyone I know.Poor may have been too strong a phrase so excuse my haste.

If its easily resolved(adjusting the action) then thats great but as I say I am a novice and am finding these things out by asking the question.
I just thought it a little bit of a strange thing that in comparison the Taylor's were set up 'high' and thus easier to play for the likes of myself or the more novice player.Guess Martin's price bracket should tell me they are not or nor do they to need to appeal to the novice payer who doesn't know so much yet.

I have never fixed a guitar in my life but I have played a few,I'm not lazy just never felt comfortable with fixing things by being too worried about messing things up.Also although I've played for a fair few years,the second guitar I ever bought was last year(prior to that I used a fender 65 for 20 years).
Really feel in love with the look and feel of Martins recently and the action was something I noticed along with a large number of friends.Most of the people I know dont play bluegrass but I understand the Martin concept for set up now,thanks.

All the Taylors and Martins I played sounded great,I just preferred the d28(what a wonderful full sound).They had a beautiful Martin 00042 second hand that was very rich in tone but at 3k well of my reach.

Also,rightly or wrong for me its not just the sound that matters,yes thats mega important but a close second for me is how easy and enjoyable it is to play.Because of Martins high set up I kinda dont know its going to be easier or more enjoyable to play after the action has been lowered.I hope it will but sometimes you just wanna see it and feel it before you invest that kind of money,you know what i mean.

Sorry if this has been covered,its all a learning curve for me
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Old 08-08-2010, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snippet View Post
I just thought it a little bit of a strange thing that in comparison the Taylor's were set up 'high' and thus easier to play for the likes of myself or the more novice player.
Taylors are set up low, not high.

Quote:
Guess Martin's price bracket should tell me they are not or nor do they to need to appeal to the novice payer who doesn't know so much yet.
It's not that Martin does not appeal to novices - their guitars are perfectly suitable for beginners, once set up - as that Martin attracts customers who often prefer a higher action, as others have said. So the initial setup is designed to be modified by the user. Once modified, it can be very easy to play. I have a Taylor, but my Martin 000-18 has an easier action than the Taylor, and my 000-28 comes very close.

Quote:
I have never fixed a guitar in my life but I have played a few,I'm not lazy just never felt comfortable with fixing things by being too worried about messing things up.
The setup is best left to a tech or luthier. It's not hard, but if you don't know how ask someone who does.

Quote:
Sorry if this has been covered,its all a learning curve for me
Not a problem - asking questions is how we all learn!
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Old 08-08-2010, 11:15 AM
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Thanks for putting me right sachi and for correcting my mistakes
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