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  #1  
Old 09-28-2009, 12:48 PM
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Default Question about Martin HPL material

Does anyone know if there is any wood used in the making of in Martin's HPL material? Also, does anyone know if the rosewood HPL is supposed to sound different from the sapele HPL used in different models? I have looked where I can for the answers to these questions, but came up empty. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 09-28-2009, 01:01 PM
Huckleberry Huckleberry is offline
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As far as I know the HPL is the same and the rosewood/mahogany is just a digital print on top. Couldn't tell you if there's any wood material in it but if there is it wouldn't bear any resemblance in properties to solid or traditional laminates.

That being said, I owned a Martin DX1R and it sounded very good. Not the equal of an HD-28 but I wouldn't be embarrassed playing that guitar in any situation. It was the last of my Martins to leave the stable.
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Old 09-28-2009, 01:19 PM
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Thanks for your input. I have played some of these HPL Martins, but none of the rosewood models. I realize that what one sees is digital print. I was just curious if there was any wood used in the making of the material at all. I am also curious if these are two different materials (you suggest they are the same) and, if they are different, if there are any discernible tonal differences between the two HPL materials.
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Old 09-28-2009, 01:34 PM
Jesse_Dylan Jesse_Dylan is offline
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Nope, all the HPL is the same. They don't use one mixture for "mahogany" HPL and another for "rosewood". All HPL is the same composition. What is the composition? From my understanding, it's something like Formica (yup, countertop material). This is some wood in it. Also some "plastic", I'd imagine. It's different than laminated wood (which is actual wood shoved together).

Which sounds better? I dunno. HPL sounds amazingly good for what it is (though obviously it won't beat out solid wood).

So there should be no difference between, say, the Koa LXM and the regular "natural" LXM.

But what about a DM (solid spruce top, laminated mahogany back and sides) and a DR (same but rosewood)? Dunno. Again, HPL is different from standard laminated wood.

Hope that helps a little! I'm no expert.
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Old 09-28-2009, 01:41 PM
Hambone Hambone is offline
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HPL is a wood product derivative. Kraft paper is layered using phenolic resins and put under pressure to form a very stable product. Like formica countertops, a top layer of plastic with a photoimprint is also glued on for the "finish".

When speking with Martin employees they look at HPL as a manmade product, and plywood as a laminate, even though both HPL and plywood are both technically laminates.
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Old 09-28-2009, 01:49 PM
cpabolting cpabolting is offline
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Formica was just not meant for guitars, sorry.
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Old 09-28-2009, 01:58 PM
Jesse_Dylan Jesse_Dylan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpabolting View Post
Formica was just not meant for guitars, sorry.
Maybe not on the fancy ones, but it sounds good on cheapies like the LXM. I actually preferred the HPL top on the LXM to the solid top on the LX1.

The "java mahogany" 00 (forg0t the actual model #--solid top, HPL back/sides) obviously does not compete with an 00-18, though.
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Old 09-28-2009, 02:04 PM
rmyAddison rmyAddison is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpabolting View Post
Formica was just not meant for guitars, sorry.
I second that opinion.......wood is good
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:15 PM
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I actually think the ones I have played (mostly 000X1 models) had a nice tone and projected real well. I am looking for a guitar that will be very stable despite road trips, etc. and that I do not have to worry (as much) about getting stolen. I am considering one of these. I have '79 Martin M-38 that I just love. It is my only acoustic and I could not be happier with it, but it makes me nervous sometimes to bring it to some gigs. I recently had to travel far (15 hours by car) to visit people and play a gig. I did not bring the M-38 (worried about it baking in the car, getting stolen, etc.) and ended up borrowing a really bad guitar (intonation off, warped neck, etc.) when I got to my destination to play the gig. That is what decided it for me. I am getting a backup guitar. The HPL construction is actually a plus for me because of my needs. Another plus is that there is a local Martin dealer that will repair any guitar I buy there for life no matter what I do to it. If I drop it on the ground and crack the top in 5 places, they will glue it. Neck reset? They will do it, all for free. They carry a few of these x series Martins, including the 000X1, which I do like. Still, I have not decided. The search continues. Wow, this is a long winded post!
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:07 PM
Jesse_Dylan Jesse_Dylan is offline
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Hey, that's nothing. Have you seen how long my posts are??

I think you'd be all right with a laminate or HPL Martin, especially if you're plugging in.

However, if you want something pretty close to indestructible, and better sounding (though it will not sound "like a Martin"), try a guitar from Composite Acoustics. Knowing that you like the sound of an M-series (I do too), I'd have you consider a Legacy (which frankly sounds a lot like Martin's dreads) or a GX or a GXi (neither of which will sound like an M, but they sound great--they are different and awesome in their own right). They make an OM model called the OX, too. I actually have an OX, GXi, Legacy and a Cargo (their travel guitar) and adore all four.
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:22 PM
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Jesse_Dylan - I actually did try a several CA models and liked one or two of them a lot. But...they were quite a more expensive than what I want to spend on my second/backup/not guitar friendly gig guitar. I think they start at around $900 or so, right? The ones I played were considerably more than that. I did not consider them very seriously because of their prices.

By the way, I do not expect any guitar I get to sound like my M-38. To my ears, I have yet to hear another guitar sound that good, except for an M-36 and another M-38 I got to play! I have been playing my M-38 for more than 10 years and still marvel at it every time I pick it up.
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:49 PM
Chicken_Tonight Chicken_Tonight is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m-thirty-great View Post
I actually think the ones I have played (mostly 000X1 models) had a nice tone and projected real well. I am looking for a guitar that will be very stable despite road trips, etc. and that I do not have to worry (as much) about getting stolen. I am considering one of these. I have '79 Martin M-38 that I just love. It is my only acoustic and I could not be happier with it, but it makes me nervous sometimes to bring it to some gigs. I recently had to travel far (15 hours by car) to visit people and play a gig. I did not bring the M-38 (worried about it baking in the car, getting stolen, etc.) and ended up borrowing a really bad guitar (intonation off, warped neck, etc.) when I got to my destination to play the gig. That is what decided it for me. I am getting a backup guitar. The HPL construction is actually a plus for me because of my needs. Another plus is that there is a local Martin dealer that will repair any guitar I buy there for life no matter what I do to it. If I drop it on the ground and crack the top in 5 places, they will glue it. Neck reset? They will do it, all for free. They carry a few of these x series Martins, including the 000X1, which I do like. Still, I have not decided. The search continues. Wow, this is a long winded post!
I was in a similar position to you. I live in Cambodia, regularly fly, wanted a guitar that would inspire me to play every day but which wouldn't cause too many tears if it went west. Humidity here can reach 90% and the temperature 45 Celsius. So non-traditional materials make sense.

I have a 000-28EC, so I wasn't keen on getting a "cheapie" Martin. But I did try the 000-X1, and was surprised by how much I liked it. Salespeople in two shops suddenly lit up when talking about the 000-X1, and how much they liked it as a stage guitar. It seemed to be genuine enthusiasm, not just sales talk.

I ended up with a Taylor 214 - laminate back and sides, lovely sound and action. But if I were not already a Martin 000 owner, I may well have gone with the 000-X1. The desire to have "something different" won!

Wood is good? Sure, if the conditions are right. But in some circumstances, for some people, non-traditional solutions fit the bill.
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Old 09-28-2009, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicken_Tonight View Post
I was in a similar position to you. I live in Cambodia, regularly fly, wanted a guitar that would inspire me to play every day but which wouldn't cause too many tears if it went west. Humidity here can reach 90% and the temperature 45 Celsius. So non-traditional materials make sense.

I have a 000-28EC, so I wasn't keen on getting a "cheapie" Martin. But I did try the 000-X1, and was surprised by how much I liked it. Salespeople in two shops suddenly lit up when talking about the 000-X1, and how much they liked it as a stage guitar. It seemed to be genuine enthusiasm, not just sales talk.

I ended up with a Taylor 214 - laminate back and sides, lovely sound and action. But if I were not already a Martin 000 owner, I may well have gone with the 000-X1. The desire to have "something different" won!

Wood is good? Sure, if the conditions are right. But in some circumstances, for some people, non-traditional solutions fit the bill.
I really like the idea of the Taylor 114/214 models - the body size, the feel of the neck, etc., but I just don't like the sound. There is something tinny about them and what seems to me to be a lack of bottom end thump that I like. It is hard to explain, but to me there is something missing in the tone. They just did not sound deep to me at all. I am going to give them another try. I see that most of the 214s are Sapele back and sides. I think the 114 and 214 models I tried were sapele, laminate and solid back and sides respectively. I wonder if the rosewood laminate version of the 214 would suit me better?
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  #14  
Old 09-28-2009, 10:28 PM
Chicken_Tonight Chicken_Tonight is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m-thirty-great View Post
I really like the idea of the Taylor 114/214 models - the body size, the feel of the neck, etc., but I just don't like the sound. There is something tinny about them and what seems to me to be a lack of bottom end thump that I like. It is hard to explain, but to me there is something missing in the tone. They just did not sound deep to me at all. I am going to give them another try. I see that most of the 214s are Sapele back and sides. I think the 114 and 214 models I tried were sapele, laminate and solid back and sides respectively. I wonder if the rosewood laminate version of the 214 would suit me better?
My model 214 has the rosewood laminate back and sides. Sounds fine to these ears - bright trebles but with more of a piano tone to the bass strings. I did try the 114, but found it lacking, much as you describe. And there was quite a big difference between the 214s that I tried; the salesperson got a new one from the stockroom which was much better in tone than the one I had been playing in the shop.
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Old 09-29-2009, 05:03 AM
Hambone Hambone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse_Dylan View Post
Hey, that's nothing. Have you seen how long my posts are??

I think you'd be all right with a laminate or HPL Martin, especially if you're plugging in.

However, if you want something pretty close to indestructible, and better sounding (though it will not sound "like a Martin"), try a guitar from Composite Acoustics. Knowing that you like the sound of an M-series (I do too), I'd have you consider a Legacy (which frankly sounds a lot like Martin's dreads) or a GX or a GXi (neither of which will sound like an M, but they sound great--they are different and awesome in their own right). They make an OM model called the OX, too. I actually have an OX, GXi, Legacy and a Cargo (their travel guitar) and adore all four.

You're talking $2700 for a CA versus $500 for HPL Martins.
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