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  #61  
Old 02-08-2019, 08:00 AM
Petty1818 Petty1818 is offline
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I love Martin guitars and I think in terms of quality and consistency, they are far better than Gibson. I think I have played two Gibson acoustics over the past 5 years that have wow'd me. There have been a lot of terrible ones.

With that said though, I have never pulled the trigger on purchasing a Martin. I think a lot has to do with the strings dying so quickly that most Martins I play just sound muffled.

Recently, I picked up a Boucher acoustic and it was the "wow" moment I had been waiting for. I am not going to say that Boucher is better than Martin but for around $3500-4000 Canadian, I can get a new Boucher with an adirondack top and stunning workmanship. In comparison, most Martin standard series guitars, at least here in Canada are in the $3700-4000 range. I just think there are better alternatives at this point.
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  #62  
Old 02-08-2019, 08:24 AM
Mycroft Mycroft is offline
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Originally Posted by zmf View Post
This was in jest, of course. But I'm a Porsche track junkie, so I take car analogies seriously. A F1 "vehicle" is a different species from a car, which can be functionally defined as something that legally and practically can be used to go to the grocery for a loaf of bread. F1's are a different animal. All guitars are guitars.

I own a Froggy, so have some idea of what you're getting at. Could swear there's a hidden battery somewhere in it that powers a sympathetic oscillator that gives it extra energy.
But at their base, both the F1 car and the Civic are still "Cars:' a powered 4-wheeled motor vehicle used for transportation. (Although we do have to account for that 6-wheeler that Tyrrell raced) Then may then be further subdivided by use. SUV. Smart Car. Ragtop. Grocery-getter. Or by power.

Is the Tesla the automotive equivalent of the electric guitar?

I like your battery analogy. Now, add a second one and soup it up just a tad more? And keep in mind that I LOVE my Froggy?
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  #63  
Old 02-08-2019, 08:42 AM
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brencat brencat is offline
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With the boutiques, you're paying for the increased attention to detail, hand voicing of the tops, better responsiveness, and an overall improvement in "feel" and playability that is difficult to describe.

I love the Martin tone, have owned a bunch, but never liked the neck profiles (most are too shallow, I prefer a deep C/D shape) or their playability further up the neck or capoed (thin tone and plunky). The Authentic series is a vast improvement over Martin's standard line, both in feel and responsiveness, but even there you don't have the consistency from guitar to guitar like you will with something like a Santa Cruz or Goodall for example that are individually voiced.

Martin has a couple huge advantages, namely global brand recognition, easy resale, and attractive pricing when bought new "smartly." Boutiques get absolutely killed on resale because you can't buy them new anywhere close to 40-off MSRP, but are the superior buy in the secondary market.
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  #64  
Old 02-08-2019, 08:44 AM
Rmz76 Rmz76 is offline
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My question to you would be "define better"? Better is not objective when it comes to guitars because desired tone, playability and even aesthetic are all subjective things. The respected attributes of craftsmanship are also subjective. When you press anyone to point out what makes that $8000 Froggy Bottom different from say a Martin Authentic or Martin Custom shop model, your going to get a list of differences, all of which benefit to tone and playablity could be disputed. Here's what can't be disputed: Only C.F. Martin can build a Martin D28. You could go on forever with these sort of discussions and I've heard players say things like "My Santa Cruz has more bass response than a D28 or that Collings D2H has more sustain than a D28". So all that means is that these boutique interpretations of Martin's classic design don't sound like a D28. They sounds like what in some players minds a D28 should have sounded like, which is an altogether very different thing and VERY subjective. One only becomes "better" than the other when in the players mind there is some imaginary line going from 0 to 100 that all similar guitars must fit on with 100 being some magical Holy grail of tone... I think that we're wired to think of all products like this, but It doesn't work like that with guitars.

Different players value different things, but the non-subjective that impact price include a long list of aesthetics (bindings, inlays) which have no impact on quality or tone from a utility stand point. Rarity of exotic woods (if you're a player that prefers mahogany with its tonal attributes, are you really going to spend $5000 an Brazilian back and sides and have to deal with the sites paperwork, etc..). My point is buying an acoustic guitar is not a spend more=get more game unless your context is just to have the most expensive, most coveted guitar among guitar enthusiast. Respect the boutique creations for what they are and understand the reasons behind their seemingly exorbitant cost. Maybe those details are worth it to you as a buyer, bu maybe they are not. It's a very personal thing.
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  #65  
Old 02-08-2019, 09:08 AM
s2y s2y is offline
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Perhaps this is because I'm the young pup of this forum and perhaps a punk. Tell me something can't be done and it only motivates me. Traditionalists hate change and always claim it can't be done.

There really aren't too many trade secrets or proprietary parts on Martins that can't be duplicated elsewhere. That's not to say a shop in China can do this for $500.

I haven't pursued Gibson clones yet. Bob Thompson does a nice job with offering well built Martin style acoustics. I wanted a really slim neck. He didn't even charge me for some of the options I requested, which is something small shops can sometimes do. I easily spent a lot less money than had I gone through a dealer and Martin's custom shop.

Can't be done. No way. Well, I already did it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rmz76 View Post
Different players value different things, but the non-subjective that impact price include a long list of aesthetics (bindings, inlays) which have no impact on quality or tone from a utility stand point. Rarity of exotic woods (if you're a player that prefers mahogany with its tonal attributes, are you really going to spend $5000 an Brazilian back and sides and have to deal with the sites paperwork, etc..). My point is buying an acoustic guitar is not a spend more=get more game unless your context is just to have the most expensive, most coveted guitar among guitar enthusiast. Respect the boutique creations for what they are and understand the reasons behind their seemingly exorbitant cost. Maybe those details are worth it to you as a buyer, bu maybe they are not. It's a very personal thing.
I have 2 Brazilian guitars. I have zero worries or concerns about paperwork. It's not like I travel internationally and bring my expensive guitar with me. One of my Brazilian guitars was about $4k. I can't complain. To be honest, my Brazilian OM probably cost less than a Martin custom shop with EIR.
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  #66  
Old 02-08-2019, 09:08 AM
Goodallboy Goodallboy is offline
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Originally Posted by gitarro View Post
A local guy had a guitar collection consisting apparently of mostly small shop and factory guitars. He had the opportunity to try out my Somogyi side by side with his guitars and for the first time realised that his guitars were outshone by the somogyi in every tonal department. When they get it spot on, the ceiling on good luthier made guitars is far higher than a factory guitar and the civic vs the formula one analogy is perfectly valid.
Having played a great Somogyi, I laugh at the idea that the interpretation of the sound of an exceptionally stellar guitar is "subjective".
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  #67  
Old 02-08-2019, 09:23 AM
zmf zmf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rmz76 View Post
My question to you would be "define better"?
It's a very personal thing.
Agree. Very personal. How about this for quantifying "better". If you have two guitars, which one do you grab most often without thinking? If the percentage is greater than 50%, it's the "better" guitar. As you increase the number of guitars to chose from, the percentage is likely to drop, but the "better" guitar might still stand out.

And if someone were to ask why you don't pick up your Somogyi more often, the answer would be that it's not the "better" guitar. This could mean that you're a heathen and have no appreciation for fine guitars, but that's irrelevant because it's personal.
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  #68  
Old 02-08-2019, 09:24 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Originally Posted by asilker View Post
Background
In December I purchased my first high quality acoustic guitar. After over a decade of playing, I nabbed a Martin 000-18 2018. I had read a bit about the updates to the Martin standard line and got to play through the whole series at CME. The 000-18 was the one that connected for me.

When I was shopping, I purposely did not compare Martin to boutique (not sure if this is the correct term)guitar brands like Collings and Santa Cruz. In terms of cost, the Martin was an enormous reach up for me and I am in no way able to afford a guitar in a price class above that. That's not a complaint, I feel very fortunate and I think it's great that people can afford the next models up.

My question is this
My understanding is that companies like Gibson and Martin did quite a bit to establish what a flat top, steel string acoustic guitar is and how it's made. Vintage examples, especially pre-war, seem to be regarded as a sort of pinnacle.

Does anyone have examples of nicely made Martin or Gibson guitars competing with smaller, more detail oriented manufacturers? Perhaps it is a case where more cost does usually represent a better final product. Has anyone transitioned from a highly regarded small builder back "down" to a Martin or Gibson? Are any of these guitars comparable?

I am comfortable with the fact that there are finer guitars out there than mine. It's good that they exist, and I am not trying to justify my purchase as the wisest. Just interested to gather information. Thanks folks

weeellll - we've gone in deep with this one haven't we?

I'd just like to add in some thoughts.

1. Yes Martin and gibson make to a "recipe"
2. Yes The better small factory makers (Collings, Santa Cruz, Bourgeois, and for the sake of discussion - H&D) do make more individual guitars, with tap tuning, and hand scraping and strutting etc. ... and yes you might argue that someone has to cut the struts in the Martin factory, lets notb go wdown too many rabbit holes.

I admire both Martin and Gibson, and both have gone though good and bad periods.

I have played a pre-war Martin D28 which I felt was "meh".
I have played a montana Gibson (SJ-100) which was pretty dam' good.
I ordered a custom built H&D 12 fret jumbo (DS-12) that was a total mess.
I now have a Santa Cruz 12 fret jumbo which is a lovely piece and far better than the Gibson 12 fret jumbos (Jackson Browne) versions that ALL needed a lot of finish repair and set up - out of the box. My "RS" is great, but not a "perfect" in presentation as my Collingses.

However, apart from all the variables in woods, and building styles and the happiness of the assemblers (Gibson I'm looking at you) there are other important group of variables ....i.e. ......Us guitarists.

No maker can build a guitar to suit any/everybody that suits all. We have different criteria, ears, hands, styles etc.
What is gold to you may be lead to me and vicey versy.

What is the secret? Decide what it is in the guitar that you are searching for. test as many as possible (if you can) if not mail order the one on spec that meets your criteria.
If you have no connection with it as soon as you open the box - turn it around, OR work with it.
In reality, no guitar sounds at its best as soon as you drag it out of the box, (or in the store) but us humans are strange beasts and we are emotional and instinctive. And we are not always right.

Now and then you find the "love of your life" guitar. hold on to it with both hands (and feet if necessary). It may stink to me, but that desn't matter.

The hunt is often as exciting as the "kill". That why there are so many NGD threads here.
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  #69  
Old 02-08-2019, 09:39 AM
rokdog49 rokdog49 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petty1818 View Post
I love Martin guitars and I think in terms of quality and consistency, they are far better than Gibson. I think I have played two Gibson acoustics over the past 5 years that have wow'd me. There have been a lot of terrible ones.

With that said though, I have never pulled the trigger on purchasing a Martin. I think a lot has to do with the strings dying so quickly that most Martins I play just sound muffled.

Recently, I picked up a Boucher acoustic and it was the "wow" moment I had been waiting for. I am not going to say that Boucher is better than Martin but for around $3500-4000 Canadian, I can get a new Boucher with an adirondack top and stunning workmanship. In comparison, most Martin standard series guitars, at least here in Canada are in the $3700-4000 range. I just think there are better alternatives at this point.
Boucher makes fantastic guitars. I played an OM with Adirondack and Walnut that was incredible and it was $3200 American...very well worth every penny.
Here's the thing...
The word "alternative" means different things to different people.
If you want the Martin voicing, you'll not get that in a Boucher.
Are you saying a D18 costs between $3000 and $4000 Canadian?
What Martin "Standards" would that pricing window include?
By the way, how many Gibson's have you played recently. I haven't had your experience and I be played quite a few.
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  #70  
Old 02-08-2019, 03:29 PM
DukeX DukeX is offline
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Originally Posted by gitarro View Post
...the ceiling on good luthier made guitars is far higher than a factory guitar and the civic vs the formula one analogy is perfectly valid.
Perhaps when comparing to a low end Martin, but not to a high end Martin. Comparing an F1 to a Corvette would be a better car analogy IMO.
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  #71  
Old 02-08-2019, 03:51 PM
mcduffnw mcduffnw is offline
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Originally Posted by Goodallboy View Post
Having played a great Somogyi, I laugh at the idea that the interpretation of the sound of an exceptionally stellar guitar is "subjective".
Bluegrass flatpickers would not be impressed at all with the sound of a Somogyi...or the looks for that matter...no matter how good you feel it sounds.

Old timey Delta or Piedmont Blues players would not likely be impressed with the Somogyi tone either.

Django/Gypsy Jazz style players...not so much either.

Tone...no matter how good you or I think it might be for a given guitar is still completely subjective...

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  #72  
Old 02-09-2019, 10:41 AM
silvereagle48 silvereagle48 is offline
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A really excellent Camry is a very good automobile. A really excellent Mercedes S-550 is a great automobile. Is the Mercedes "worth" 3 times more? One has to pay dearly for the extra quality. Same with guitars.
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  #73  
Old 02-09-2019, 12:09 PM
mcduffnw mcduffnw is offline
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Originally Posted by silvereagle48 View Post
A really excellent Camry is a very good automobile. A really excellent Mercedes S-550 is a great automobile. Is the Mercedes "worth" 3 times more? One has to pay dearly for the extra quality. Same with guitars.
But in normal everyday city, suburb, rural area driving, and the typical roads you encounter in those situations, and the typical speeds you drive on them, the typical handling maneuvers you make on them...what does the Merc do noticeably different or better than the Camry...or even a Corolla. Sure, the Merc wraps and swaddles you in the lap of high style and luxury, but in terms of actual everyday driving performance, what does it do so much better than the Toyota to be worth the $$$$$ price difference? And...if you are just the average skilled Joe driver...good, but no NASCAR or F1 level skilled driver, do you even access whatever "higher performance" the Merc is capable of over the typical Toyota Camry/Corolla average Joe family sedan?

This last thing is IMO a very important and almost always intentionally overlooked point. Most of us as guitar players...skill wise...are realistically about the equivalent of 25+ handicap golfers. Any well made, basic model level...D-28, J-45, 814, F-50R, LL-16 factory guitar, USA Made or Pac Rim, is going to EASILY be capable of handling our 25+ handicap playing skill, and in fact, we will not likely ever really press said guitar to it's performance capability limits. This is even more true for the higher end factory models, or boutique and solo luthier level guitars...or the high end vintage instruments.

We guitar players talk all the time about how much better the high end custom factory, or boutique, or luthier made guitar instruments are, what tone, dynamic response, and playability performance characteristics the "best" guitars have that we feel are lacking in the lesser model guitars, when in reality, we as players rarely have the skill to bring these higher performance capabilities out of said "super" guitars, and in fact, have our hands more than full, just accessing, or bringing out in our playing, the maximum performance capabilities of the good old solid Camry or Corolla factory guitars.

We are often "big talker Betty Crocker" about what we can do with the better, higher end, higher performance capability guitar...but...the "proof is in the pudding" of our playing, and by and large in either case, the chocolate tastes the same, no matter how much better the ingredients.

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Last edited by mcduffnw; 02-09-2019 at 12:24 PM. Reason: correct spelling
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  #74  
Old 02-09-2019, 12:21 PM
RussL30 RussL30 is offline
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Originally Posted by mcduffnw View Post
But in normal everyday city, suburb, rural area driving, and the typical roads you encounter in those situations, and the typical speeds you drive on them, the typical handling maneuvers you make on them...what does the Merc do noticeably different or better than the Camry...or even a Corolla. Sure, the Merc wraps and swaddles you in the lap of high style and luxury, but in terms of actual everyday driving performance, what does it do so much better than the Toyota to be worth the $$$$$ price difference? And...if you are just the average skilled Joe driver...good, but no NASCAR or F1 level skilled driver, do you even access whatever "higher performance" the Merc is capable of over the typical Toyota Camry/Corolla average Joe family sedan?

This last thing is IMO a very important and almost always intentionally overlooked point. Most of us as guitar players...skill wise...are realistically about the equivalent of 25+ handicap golfers. Any well made, basic model level...D-28, J-45, 814, F-50R, LL-16 factory guitar, USA Made or Pac Rim, is going to EASILY be capable of handling our 25+ handicap playing skill, and in fact, we will not likely ever really press said guitar to it's performance capability limits. This is even more true for the higher end factory models, or boutique and solo luthier level guitars...or the high end vintage instruments.

We guitar players talk all the time about how much better the high end custom factory, or boutique, or luthier made guitar instruments are, what tone, dynamic response, and playability performance characteristics the "best" guitars have that we feel are lacking in the lesser model guitars, when in reality, we as players rarely have the skill to bring these higher performance capabilities out of said "super" guitars, and in fact, have our hand more than full just accessing, or bringing out in our playing, the maximum performance capabilities of the good old solid Camry or Corolla factory guitars.

We are often "big talker Betty Crocker" about what we can do with the better, higher end, higher performance capability guitar...but...the "proof is in the pudding" of our playing, and by and large in either case, the chocolate tastes the same, no matter how much better the ingredients.

duff
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Good point.

My basic Camry gets me reliably from point A to point B everyday just like my basic factory Gibsons and Taylors reliably sound good and give me all the tone I need everytime I pick them up.

The boutique guitars may be worlds better than my guitars and I do want to try some one day, but their are certain sounds only Gibson, Taylor, Martin, Larrivee etc can give you. Maybe if I was a world class player, that extra bit a boutique gives you would be important to me, but the only that limits me on my current guitars is my ability as a player.
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  #75  
Old 02-09-2019, 01:06 PM
Mycroft Mycroft is offline
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Originally Posted by mcduffnw View Post
But in normal everyday city, suburb, rural area driving, and the typical roads you encounter in those situations, and the typical speeds you drive on them, the typical handling maneuvers you make on them...what does the Merc do noticeably different or better than the Camry...or even a Corolla. Sure, the Merc wraps and swaddles you in the lap of high style and luxury, but in terms of actual everyday driving performance, what does it do so much better than the Toyota to be worth the $$$$$ price difference? And...if you are just the average skilled Joe driver...good, but no NASCAR or F1 level skilled driver, do you even access whatever "higher performance" the Merc is capable of over the typical Toyota Camry/Corolla average Joe family sedan?

This last thing is IMO a very important and almost always intentionally overlooked point. Most of us as guitar players...skill wise...are realistically about the equivalent of 25+ handicap golfers. Any well made, basic model level...D-28, J-45, 814, F-50R, LL-16 factory guitar, USA Made or Pac Rim, is going to EASILY be capable of handling our 25+ handicap playing skill, and in fact, we will not likely ever really press said guitar to it's performance capability limits. This is even more true for the higher end factory models, or boutique and solo luthier level guitars...or the high end vintage instruments.

We guitar players talk all the time about how much better the high end custom factory, or boutique, or luthier made guitar instruments are, what tone, dynamic response, and playability performance characteristics the "best" guitars have that we feel are lacking in the lesser model guitars, when in reality, we as players rarely have the skill to bring these higher performance capabilities out of said "super" guitars, and in fact, have our hands more than full, just accessing, or bringing out in our playing, the maximum performance capabilities of the good old solid Camry or Corolla factory guitars.

We are often "big talker Betty Crocker" about what we can do with the better, higher end, higher performance capability guitar...but...the "proof is in the pudding" of our playing, and by and large in either case, the chocolate tastes the same, no matter how much better the ingredients.

duff
Be A Player...Not A Polisher
Explicit in your premise is that there is no "feedback loop" between player and instrument. That a player, even a "+25 handicap" duffer is incapable of being a better player given a more responsive and accurate instrument. While that indeed may well be true of you that does not make it true of anyone else. Even a "living room hack."
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