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Old 08-30-2019, 07:14 AM
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Haasome Haasome is offline
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Originally Posted by UncleJesse View Post
I appreciate the responses but I have to laugh because of the mention Collings and Martin Authentic? They'd better be great! That's kind of like saying I hope the Porsche I buy online is fast
I’ve owned a Porsche and it was fast. However, if you asked me if it was great and exceeded my expectations, I’d say No and Not by a long shot. Different question.
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Old 08-30-2019, 07:23 AM
beatcomber beatcomber is offline
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Another guitar that has pleasantly surprised me is my Farida OT-25.

For one thing, the guitar that I ordered was an OT-22 (solid top, laminated back and sides), but what I received was an all-solid OT-25 mislabeled at the factory as an OT-22. SCORE!

Besides that bit of good fortune, the guitar is quite a bit better than I would have expected from a budget guitar made in China. I have owned an all-solid Recording King ROS-10 - possibly made in the same factory as the Farida - and it did not sound nearly as open and nuanced as the Farida.

At the 'correct' price of $738, the guitar is a very good deal. At the $423 that I paid (the OT-22 price), it was an absolute steal.

And yes, I made Elderly aware of the labeling error, and they congratulated me and hoped that I enjoy the instrument for many years.

2019 Martin 000-15SM
2018 Farida OT-25VBS
2007 Gretsch Americana "Sundown Seranade"

...and a bunch of nice electrics too
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Old 08-30-2019, 07:28 AM
reeve21 reeve21 is offline
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Moving the discussion away from Porsches to Yugos....

Ibanez AC 240, solid mahagony top for $250 with a coupon online. It has become my daily player.

I bought a Voyage Air OM with a solid spruce top for travel, but I like it so much I play it quite a bit at home, too. $500-- ish new.

These do not have solid back and sides, but for the money they really shine--very comfortable and surprisingly good tone. And they don't need to be humidified, in the winter so I can leave them sitting out.

Moving it up to Chevys, my Martin MMV sounds like 90 per cent of a D 28 at 50 per cent of the cost.

My skills don't require or deserve expensive guitars, so I'm really happy these were available at a reasonable cost. For a total investment of under 2k I've got 3 very different instruments that meet my needs. They do exceed expectations! (I'm good until someone hands me a J-45 and then GAS strikes hard).
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Old 08-30-2019, 07:55 AM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
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Originally Posted by Kerbie View Post
Love that C100, Paul... just gorgeous. Is that the Iced Tea burst? Sure is beautiful. As much as I like the C10, I'm sure I'd love that one.

I had owned a couple Collings 0s, one with Mahogany/German and one EIR/German. And I'm a huge all-Mahogany fan. I had owned several all-hogs and loved them all. So, putting those two loves together... one day I was perusing the websites of my favorite guitar stores. Lo and behold, there was a brand new Collings 0 all-Mahogany with all the specs I wanted. I'd never played one, but I thought it must be a sweet guitar. So, after a telephone conversation or two, it was on its way to my house.

It's not the most expensive guitar ever built, it's a stripped-down version of their 01, it's not a custom build... but I flipped and fell head over heels. It just has the coolest little personality. I knew I'd like it, but had no idea how much.

Attachment 26550
That does look like one sweet guitar, Kerbie.
Speaking of all-mahogany guitars that surprised me, (though not in the same league as this Collings) is my Alvarez Masterworks all-mahogany parlor. It is actually between the size of a parlor and 00 but it is so responsive and light. It has a focused clarity to it without sacrificing any warmth. A nice bass that can rumble if you need it to. I find that when I play it near the bridge, I can get that raspy blues flavor but over the sound hole, it gets a smooth sweetness without being boxy. I keep getting amazed at what I can bring out of that little guitar. I have to confess that I have played a number of more expensive small all mahogany guitars that I haven't liked nearly as much. A Santa Cruz 00 and a Collings 00 being the two exceptions.

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Old 08-30-2019, 07:59 AM
1Charlie 1Charlie is offline
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I recently bought one of the original Road Series Huss & Daltons made in 2013 to use as my stage guitar. It is a rosewood and sitka dread, essentially a stripped down version of a TD-R.

It is an astoundingly good guitar, at any price, better than either the TD-R or TD-M I used to own.

A few nice ones, a few beaters, and a few I should probably sell...
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Old 08-30-2019, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by UncleJesse View Post
I appreciate the responses but I have to laugh because of the mention Collings and Martin Authentic? They'd better be great! That's kind of like saying I hope the Porsche I buy online is fast
Not all that glitters is gold, Jesse. I once owned an OM-28 Authentic that was 'meh' and I sent it packing after 6 months. Other examples of the OM-28A and OM-18A have garnered a similar response from me. The AGF is filled with threads about members who could not adjust to the strange 'thin to super thick' neck of the D-28 Authentic 1937 and had to sell. The Goodall I have for sale or trade in my sig is a killer guitar. Brazilian. Bass biased. Super loud. Amazing by every measurement except its ability to excite me like the Martin 000-18A can, so I'm sending it off in the hopes of finding a Pre*War D or OM.

The only thing that matters is what YOU like and bond with.
SCGC | Martin | Bourgeois
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Old 08-30-2019, 08:26 AM
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DenverSteve DenverSteve is offline
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Of all the guitars I expect to be great probably the most surprising is my Voyage Air VAD-1. I had owned a couple of other VA's and knew they are excellent guitars. However, when I purchased this one (my first all-solid VA) it exceeded my desires. It turned out to be a guitar that not only travels well but does everything that a great Mahogany dread does wonderfully. This is certainly not the first time I've extolled the virtues of this guitar and it probably won't be the last.
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Old 08-30-2019, 08:29 AM
zoopeda zoopeda is offline
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Originally Posted by beatcomber View Post
Same for me, but for somewhat different reasons.

I'd played a 000-15M (the 14-fret, non-slothead model) at Guitar Center and was completely unimpressed. It sounded dull, dark and muffled.

In May, I walked into the Music Emporium here in Lexington, and saw that they had a 000-15SM in stock, and was immediately drawn to it. (I'm a sucker for slotheads.) This guitar didn't sound dark like the 000-15M at GC, it was warm, yes, but had plenty of 'life' and bloom.

The next day I went back to TME with some trade bait, and worked out a very fair deal with the shop for the Martin.

The guitar has only gotten better and better since, and I have completely bonded with it. As many have stated, the 15 series is probably the greatest value in Martin's USA line, and the 000-15SM might be the best model in the 15 series.

As for the dead 000-15M at Guitar Center? My guess is it had old strings and/or the action was high enough to suppress the treble response.
I had the same experience with the 000-15M. Dead sounding to me. Also at a Guitar Center, haha. I then ordered the 000-15SM sight unseen after being blown away by other similar 12 fret instruments. I agree, something about that design with the 12-fret body is magical.

In addition, Martin now uses African mahogany on the 15s instead of the coveted Honduran mahogany. So, again, if you go by what you read, you expect the new ones not to sound as good. Couldn't disagree more. I've played both, side by side, and my ear can't tell the difference. I agree the 000-15SM is the gem of the 15 series.
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Old 08-30-2019, 09:21 AM
vintageom vintageom is offline
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I own and have owned many guitars over many years. I buy them because they sound good.

It seems to me those that I bought more on a whim or when the opportunity came along for a great deal when I wasn't really looking, are the ones that qualify for your question.

Here are a few that this happened to me:

Martin 000-15M. Was tossing around the thought of a great, comfortable couch guitar that was very warm in tone. A used one came up in the Seattle craigslist and I bought it for $600. It is an amazing guitar in tone and neck profile and overall comfort. Out-punches its weight class easily.

Taylor GS Mini Mahogany. Wanted a camping/travel guitar that I would not worry a bit about taking it around or passing it around to others. Again, I found one used for $350 in perfect condition. I added a bone saddle and what a fantastic sounding and playing little guitar! Much bigger sound than expected and the bone saddle really improved clarity and sustain.

Gibson J-45 I bought this one used recently, a 2019 Mint condition, only a few month old. I wanted a short-scale slope dread with comfortable neck for acoustic blues and a "darker" rhythm strummer. I changed the strings and took some relief out of the neck and what a fantastic guitar! It plays like butter. The trebles really fatten up with medium-gauge treble E and B strings and gets more balanced with the mids and bass. Great value at $1500 in new condition.

Martin D-28 Dan Tyminski Bought it used for $2500 in mint condition. I was not looking, just saw it hanging on the wall of a dealer and strummed some open chords and knew it was special. Huge sound, articulate and a focused roar when strummed hard. Superb note clarity.

All of my others were planned purchases and I knew what to expect when I hunted them down. They met expectations. These four stand out as exceeding expectations.... Serendipity.
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Old 08-30-2019, 09:38 AM
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I'd say more "pleasantly surprised" at the depth and sustain of the Gibson AG Parlor I bought here on a whim last month:
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File Type: jpg Gibson AG Parlor in Rosewood.jpg (37.0 KB, 192 views)
Twin Cities AGF Group on FB
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Old 08-30-2019, 09:45 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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A $500 Cigano D hole "Maccaferri" style guitar.

Has all the volume of the guitars 5k more expensive, and most of the tone. Sure, it'd sound better to record with a Dupont, but in a loud jam, you never notice those little nuances. This guitar can HANG. I'm just thrilled with it.

Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
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Old 08-30-2019, 09:49 AM
baw3 baw3 is offline
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I bought a Martin 000-18 just a few months ago from Sweetwater and was kind of worried about if I would like it or not. I have had other smaller body guitars that I just wasn't really happy with. But I read a lot of good reviews and decided to give it a chance. I was pretty surprised how it sounded on the day that I received it. The tone and volume of the guitar really surprised me. It really just rings out. My second choice would have to be my Eastman E20ss. Just a great guitar. My wife just loves it. It surprised me too with how good it sounded.
Eastman E10D, Eastman E8D, Eastman E20SS, Eastman E20om-tc, Eastman E6om
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Old 08-30-2019, 10:03 AM
bufflehead bufflehead is offline
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Honestly, every guitar in my signature is something of a gem, playing beyond the expectations for its purchase price. I would not have bought any of them if this was not the case.

My Martin Custom G may well be the gem among gems. It's an all-solid-wood, made in Pennsylvania Martin that is sonically indistinguishable from a D-18. It differs from the D-18 by having a satin finish, a mortise-and-tenon neck, and non-scalloped braces, all of which created a price point of under $1,000. But its tone is comparable to guitars costing twice as much. It took about six months to open up, but once that happened it sounded priceless.
1 dreadnought, 1 auditorium, 1 concert, and 2 travel guitars.
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Old 08-30-2019, 10:07 AM
lowrider lowrider is offline
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I don't understand. How is a $5000 guitar unexpectantly great? What were you expecting, average? If I buy a guitar for that kind of money, it better be great or it's not leaving the store.
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Old 08-30-2019, 10:11 AM
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I traded a Brook Taw for a Rein 00. I was pretty sure it was going to be good, but it was unexpectedly great.
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