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Old 01-09-2021, 06:49 PM
Peacemaker Peacemaker is offline
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Default My First Acoustic: The Martin 000-28EC

Happy new Year everyone. New member here, just registered.

Been playing guitar (electric mostly) for some 30 odd years now and -believe it or not- never had an acoustic guitar. I always wanted a fine acoustic guitar and specifically a Martin. I'll never forget when I was like 14-15 years old and saw a D45 for the first time in my life and thought wow that's a great-looking guitar, that's what I'm buying next. Then I saw the price tag... LOL I had no idea what a Martin was back then and how insanely expensive they were.

Today at 40, I am in a position where I can pretty much afford any Martin I want, but I'm not a pro-player. No matter what, I figured it was about time to buy my first Martin! The process started 7-8 months ago and at this point I'd like to give special thanks to "Wade Hampton" and "rmyAddison" for their posts here at AGF, I learned a lot from them during my research. And of course to all members here at AGF.

Anyway when I decided to buy my first Martin, the irony was that a D style seemed to no longer appeal to me mainly because of its size. Although I'm a tall guy (6'6) and have pretty large hands it always felt awkward playing a D-style, let alone a Jumbo, and I can only imagine what a problem that can potentially be for smaller-sized people. Maybe it's because I'm used to electric guitars, not sure.

I started researching 000/OM style Martins and based on what I read, I figured that maybe a 000/OM would be ideal for me based on their sonic specs as well. At that point I had never tried a 000/OM. On another note, although I could afford a brand-new one, I avoided it based on my experience with electrics. The best sounding ones I had/have were bought used, being regularly played for many years by their prior owners and I figured this would apply to an even greater degree for an acoustic.

So I found a 2005 000-28EC for sale locally and arranged to go and try it. I was immediately amazed by how it sounded. It had tremendous clarity, projection and it was very loud at least to my ears. It rung like a bell and I could feel the whole guitar vibrating on my body, it was a surreal experience. Bought it on the spot. That particular example was vigorously used by a touring pro for 15 years since he bought it brand new back then. It had its fair share of dings/nicks/scratches but I didn't care, my aim was to buy it to play it not store it in a case. Another interesting thing was that the inside of its case had completely faded from its original "Diamond green" to a cool looking "red wine" color except for some areas (mainly the pocket) which still has the original color. I later found out that this was a common problem with Martin cases circa 2002-2005 (correct me if wrong)

After nearly 7 months, it still amazes me and still love how it sounds, but being new to acoustic guitars I have a few questions and any help/recommendations would be greatly appreciated. I'm going to list them in a 1,2,3 form to make it easier for you.

1. The guitar originally came with brand new Elixir Polyweb 80/20 light strings. Those were the strings I tried it with before buying and I really liked those strings. I deliberately kept them on for nearly 6(!) months as a kind of my own little experiment to see whether this was true about Elixirs lasting for so long and I got to say this is true based on my experience. The strings sounded great even after months of everyday use, obviously not the same as brand new, but even when they were worn they had a nice mellow tone.

Of course I had to change them at some point and I deliberately put on a Martin "Eric Clapton" set, since this set was (theoretically at least) the ideal for that guitar and they were Phosphor Bronze, so I wanted to see the difference between them and the 80/20s. Boy am I disappointed with them... For some reason they sound dull and lifeless. Things did improve after a few hours of use, but I really don't like them. They kinda sound flat and lifeless. Maybe I got a bad set or something? What is your experience with them?

Now, I have a Martin "Marquis" M1100 set which is 80/20 and this is what's going on next. I think I like the 80/20s more. Now here comes the crucial question: From what I read during my research the EC28s are relatively/inherently "dark" and mellow sounding, so doesn't it make sense to put 80/20 strings if one wants to even things out in a way and maybe pronounce the highs a little bit? From what I know 80/20 strings are relatively brighter. What are your experiences with various strings and ideally if you happen to have a 28EC? Obviously I will have to try different strings and see for myself, but I'd really like to know your recommendations.

2. The original owner told me that these guitars were really meant to be used with light strings. Could I use mediums maybe? I understand that heavys are out of the question when it comes to 000/OMs but correct me if I wrong.

3. I plan buying at least another Martin. If you were in my position would it make sense to buy an OM-42/45 as well, or maybe get a D45? I am thinking of buying an OM-42 which has the longer scale, but is this maybe an overkill when I already have a 000? Are the sonic differences between a 000 and an OM that much obvious or we're splitting hair here? Or maybe it'd make more sense to buy a D style?

Ok, I realise that this is already a very long post so I'll stop here. Tried to keep it as short as possible... I have some more questions but I don't want this to be unreadable. Thanks in advance for any thoughts and recommendations.

Last edited by Peacemaker; 01-10-2021 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 01-09-2021, 07:14 PM
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Godfather Godfather is offline
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Welcome to the AGF Peacemaker.

I am far from an expert but will throw in my two cents.

1. I have had great luck with Martin Lifespan (treated) Authentic PB strings MA540T. Not overly bright and they last a long time.
2. I use only lights in OM/000 size guitars.
3. When deciding on your next Martin, take your EC and A/B it against whatever you are considering. If you can have someone else play them so you can listen, that is usually a good thing.

Best of luck in your quest. Please keep us posted.
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Old 01-09-2021, 07:30 PM
leew3 leew3 is offline
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Godfather nailed the advice above so I'll just say welcome to the AGF and you've chosen well for your first acoustic!
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Old 01-09-2021, 07:36 PM
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Methos1979 Methos1979 is offline
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Congrats! You started pretty much nearly the top with your first acoustic. I've owned two 000-28EC's and both were excellent.

For strings, pretty much a personal thing but give the John Pearse PB New Mediums a look. Not as expensive as the Elixirs (which I used to use as well) but they last pretty long. Also, they run a fine line between lights and mediums.

As for next, since you're a big guy at 6'6", a dread seems like a natural. A D-18 will give you a classic huge Martin mahogany tone which will be a great compliment to your 000 rosewood guitar.
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Old 01-09-2021, 08:03 PM
Peacemaker Peacemaker is offline
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Guys thanks for your replies and welcome notes, I appreciate it!

@Godfather: This is actually a good idea, I'll take the EC with me and compare it to whatever other Martin I happen to find.

@leew3: Thank you for your welcome note!

@methos1979: Maybe you're right, but on the other hand I figure since I went the 000/OM rabbit hole I should finish what I started LOL

Seriously, a D style always felt awkward size-wise but maybe it's because I am so used to electrics. The EC feels perfect when it comes to body size, although it's obviously larger than an electric.
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Old 01-09-2021, 08:35 PM
Peacemaker Peacemaker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfather View Post

1. I have had great luck with Martin Lifespan (treated) Authentic PB strings MA540T. Not overly bright and they last a long time.
Ok, I'll check them out thanks for the recommendation.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Methos1979 View Post
Congrats! You started pretty much nearly the top with your first acoustic. I've owned two 000-28EC's and both were excellent.
Just read that thread of your "beater" 28EC. What a cool looking EC. I love guitars which have been used and have natural wear.
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Old 01-09-2021, 09:01 PM
Rosewood99 Rosewood99 is offline
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Where are the photos? Donít you know the rules but itís not official until we see some pictures?
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Old 01-09-2021, 09:56 PM
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Methos1979 Methos1979 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peacemaker View Post
@methos1979: Maybe you're right, but on the other hand I figure since I went the 000/OM rabbit hole I should finish what I started LOL

Seriously, a D style always felt awkward size-wise but maybe it's because I am so used to electrics. The EC feels perfect when it comes to body size, although it's obviously larger than an electric.
If you're set on the 000/OM size then the 000-18 is a great choice. It's the Swiss Army Knife of the Martin line in that it does it all, and does it well. And like the D-18 it the mahogany back and sides gives you a nice tonal difference from the rosewood of the EC.

As for size, I hear you. When I started I really felt I couldn't play dreads as they were just too big for me at 5'7". Then I slowly kept creeping up in size and now I play a killer 12 fret all-hog dread. Doesn't get much bigger than that! Go figure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peacemaker View Post
Just read that thread of your "beater" 28EC. What a cool looking EC. I love guitars which have been used and have natural wear.
That second EC I had was even better than the first one. The tone and playability was one of the best I've ever played. And I loved the 'mojo' of the finish checking. I keep an eye out in case the local guy I sold it to decides to sell it!

What you're going to find moving forward is that there is a seemingly bottomless selection of incredible acoustic guitars out there to try. Brands and builders you've never even heard of making some incredible instruments. Have fun!
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Old 01-10-2021, 08:10 AM
ClaptonWannabe2 ClaptonWannabe2 is offline
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Peacemaker, if you have an EC Martin you should try EC strings. I did NOT like them, and was very sad because of it. But YMMV.

Past that go with a forum sponsor in Strings by mail and go down their wormhole. Brands you've never heard of, and if you buy the most expensive strings available, you've spent 25 bucks.
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Old 01-10-2021, 09:07 AM
tomcstokes59 tomcstokes59 is online now
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Default Congratulations

Peacemaker
Very nice first acoustic. I have played a couple but have never owned one. As far as a second guitar, you might want to consider a mahogany slope shoulder dread - Gibson J15/35/45/50 body style. The slope dreads (to me) don't feel as big as the typical Martin D 14 fret dreads. They are a touch thinner at the body and have a shorter scale of 24.75". There are a lot of manufacturers to choose from - Larrivee, Gibson, Taylor Grand Pacifics, Eastman plus all of the small bench buys - Fairbanks, Kopp, John Walker, Greven etc. I recently acquired a 50's Gibson J-50 and I find it very comfortable to play. I just think a mahogany slope shoulder would compliment the rosewood 000 nicely. Good luck in your search.
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Old 01-10-2021, 09:16 AM
musicman1951 musicman1951 is offline
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Welcome and congratulations on a new guitar.

I had a 000ec that I traded for an Authentic D-28, which I eventually traded for another 000 sized guitar - so good for you deciding ahead of time on a comfortable size.

I wouldn't use 13's on your guitar, but some might. Coming from electric, I suspect you'll find 12's to be stiff enough.

You're going to have to try a bunch of strings to find out what you like. Someone else describing your guitar as dark would be considered useless information in my book. Try a bunch and see what you like. I use Martin Retro 12's on my 000, but you have to please your ears.

I would definitely wait a while to purchase another guitar. Live with this one for a while and see what other sounds might float your boat. There are a lot of guitars out there, and in a few months it will be safe again to spend hours in music stores testing your theories on what might be the next purchase.
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Old 01-10-2021, 10:29 AM
000Guy 000Guy is offline
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Congratulations on owning one of Martin's most beautiful and successful guitars. I encourage you to play your EC with mediums if you want to draw maximum tone from your instrument. I've tried many string brands and types on my 000-18 Authentic 1937 and I keep returning to the Martin Medium Phosphor Bronze and 80/20 Bronze strings that seem made for the guitar. I encourage you to continue to experiment with string brands- your instrument will tell you what it prefers. The experimentation is part of the fun of making the guitar you own.
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Old 01-10-2021, 11:10 AM
Lwilliams Lwilliams is offline
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Welcome!

I prefer the 80/20 on my 28EC as well. I just love the brighter tone. I use 80/20 on all my acoustic. I do have a new 000-42, 3 months old. It still has the factory PB (MA540T) set on it. But I am changing them today.

For your next Martin, I strongly suggest the D-42. There is not going to be that much difference in tone between the 000 and OM. I think you'd adjust to the physical size pretty quickly. And, there is a lot more of everything from the D size guitar - especially bass. And, if the cost is not an issue, go ahead with the D45. Just make sure it is a Reimagined version.
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Old 01-10-2021, 12:36 PM
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1. I liked 80/20s n my EC, but then I generally like them on Rosewood backed guitars. I like PBs on Mahogany family. Try the Nanoweb Elixers, although generally I favor John Pearse. Strings are cheap. Try a bunch.


2. Should be OK with mediums, but generally midsize guitars don't take as much tension to drive the top. Just keep an eye on the bridge. The suggestion of the New Mediums is also a good one.


3. Personally, I don't like Dreads. Usually the bass is too tubby. I like a better balanced instrument. (And before someone accuses me of not liking bass, keep in mind that I have two Baritones. I just like clear and focused low end.) Also they are uncomfortable to play seated. I do have a small jumbo. I would go with the suggestion to look at alternate woods, like a mahogany-backed guitar, to give yourself a different voice. More clarity and separation string to string. More fundamental but less overtones. Some people like both, some do not. Or if you really want a different voice, try something like a Gibson. Or Walnut. Or Koa. Australian Blackwood. Et al.

Be aware your EC is a shorter scale: 24.9." OMs are generally 25.4." Like the difference in feel between a Les Paul and a Strat. Dreads are usually 25.4." Not all 000s are the shorter scale either. Personally, I like the shorter scales. OMMV. Your EC also has a wider nut: 1 3/4." Again, and particularly with older used instruments, not all do.

Have fun. Glad that you like the EC.
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Old 01-10-2021, 01:35 PM
Peacemaker Peacemaker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulzoom View Post
Where are the photos? Don’t you know the rules but it’s not official until we see some pictures?
Here you go. Had to take it to a bathroom for better lighting conditions LOL Btw, I'm lousy at taking pics so I don't think these do justice to it but anyway.

Notice how the inner material of the case has completely faded to a "new" color. The only areas where the original green remains is the pocket and the area where the headstock is but it's difficult to capture. It actually looks great as is, but the original "shattered diamond" (isn't that how they call it?) looks great too. Maybe I'll buy a period correct spare case as well if I can find one. I found out that this was a problem with Martin cases circa 2002-2005 but I could be wrong.

IMG_3697 by Peacemaker Peacemaker, on Flickr

IMG_3693 by Peacemaker Peacemaker, on Flickr

IMG_3694 by Peacemaker Peacemaker, on Flickr
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