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Martin vs Gibson

#41 User is offline   ChrisA83 

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 10:22 PM

I never really want to play my Martin 00-15, it just doesn't have that much appeal. But then when I do I love it again and wonder why I haven't played it for so long!
For me Martins are just intruments, whereas Gibsons seem to have a soul - but that's probably just some preconceived idea I have for no good reason...
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"If I had the stars from the darkest night; and the diamonds from the deepest ocean; I'd forsake them all for your sweet kiss; for that's all I'm wishin' to be ownin'""
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#42 User is offline   Modac 

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 11:31 PM

Let's not forget that a lot of the Martin-owning-Gibson-bashing fraternity has probably never played a great wartime or prewar Gibson, never mind a great Bozeman-made example. It's harder to understand the Gibson appeal if you haven't. For a lot of them, I'd venture a guess that their primary exposure to Gibson acoustics might have been in the late 60s and/or through the 70s, when Gibson was clearly in a state of serious decline. That would color their perceptions, in all likelihood.

I think maple guitars tend to get a bad rap for pretty much the same reason.....a lot of players' initial impressions of maple as a tonewood were formed when they played Norlin-era Doves and J-200s, which for the most part, were pretty underwhelming, to be kind.
Dennis

#43 User is offline   mooboo 

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 12:43 AM

Quote

For me Martins are just intruments, whereas Gibsons seem to have a soul..

I'm with you there!

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#44 User is offline   jeff5341 

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 06:51 AM

I have 2 of each and love them all. The Gibson SWD is the best sounding guitar I have ever played and it is the prettiest guitar I've seen, it is truly wonderful. The Martin D-35 is the loudest guitar I've played and has the best feeling neck I have encountered, plus it don't sound half bad. As others have said neither is really better or worse just different. I read a comparison somewhere that said "A Martin sounds like a grand piano where a Gibson sounds like a well used honky tonk piano" To me at least that comparison is the essence of the difference in Martin and Gibson.
BTW Guild aint half bad either.
Cheers

Jeff

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#45 User is offline   AustinNoName 

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 08:08 AM

My tenpennyworth, as many have said - apples and oranges. I played a 00028 the other day, blooming marvellous it was too. I was gently reminded however by a very, very talented player that my J45 can do pretty much anything. They are gorgeous beasts though.

Oh, and hey folks. I'm back. Cheers Matt!
[color=darkblue][size=4]'08 Gibson J45 MC // '01 Epiphone AJ45 // '96 Epiphone Sheraton II


#46 User is offline   hallgroper 

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 08:44 AM

I love'em all.


Groper
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#47 User is offline   august_reader 

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 04:53 AM

Quote

Let's not forget that a lot of the Martin-owning-Gibson-bashing fraternity has probably never played a great wartime or prewar Gibson, never mind a great Bozeman-made example. It's harder to understand the Gibson appeal if you haven't. For a lot of them, I'd venture a guess that their primary exposure to Gibson acoustics might have been in the late 60s and/or through the 70s, when Gibson was clearly in a state of serious decline. That would color their perceptions, in all likelihood.

I think maple guitars tend to get a bad rap for pretty much the same reason.....a lot of players' initial impressions of maple as a tonewood were formed when they played Norlin-era Doves and J-200s, which for the most part, were pretty underwhelming, to be kind.


Why is it that there are so many "crap" periods in Gibson's history as opposed to Martin's? Just saying ....

And maybe it's just me but I dont detect nearly as much "bashing" of the other side at any of the Martin forums I frequent. Or from any of the Martin owners I know.

In fact, I own Martins and Gibsons and I love all my guitars.

#48 User is offline   ksdaddy 

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 06:09 AM

Quote

Why is it that there are so many "crap" periods in Gibson's history as opposed to Martin's? Just saying ....


Fair enough observation and one I won't refute. I think a lot has to do with the fact that Gibson has changed hands many times and I suppose a logical extension of that would be the potential for many different management styles and methods, some better than others. Martin has been a family company forever. They still have the potential changes but probably less likely to be as radical.

The good news is that Henry has owned Gibson for what... 24 years now? And I think they've cranked out a consistently good product in that time. Compare the time period of 1985-2009 to, let's say, the changes that occurred in the previous 24 years, 1961-1985... or before that, 1937-1961! I know I'm being a little silly but the point is Henry has done some wonderful things with the company and I wouldn't hesitate to buy a new Gibson product off the rack in 2009. Maybe there was a time when we moaned, "they don't make them like they used to" but I haven't uttered those words in a loooong time.

#49 User is offline   onewilyfool 

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 06:13 AM

I think that there are probably independant luthiers who are making better "gibsons" and better "martins" than the Gibson and Martin Factory themselves. For example, John Greven makes a better L-00 than Gibson, and Bill Collings makes better Dreadnaughts than Martin. Of course, this will start at about $5000 so not for the faint of heart. I think that Martin makes a fine guitar and I own three. They are superior to Gibson in fit and finish in my opinion, but especially in the young stages, are rather vanilla and plain in sound. However, over time.....wow. Gibson's are great guitars, often with visual flaws in fit and finish, but man, the sound. So woody and dry and sweet at the same time. Like with any guitar, you have to try MANY MANY MANY of the model you want before buying. No two guitars are alike and it is very hard to generalize. For example, I played as many as 20 Martin Eric Clapton guitars before buying. I went to every store in our area, I tried one at Guitar Center, that had an action at the 12th fret of about 5/32" and had a saddle of less than 1/16". This guitar was BRAND NEW, and needed a neck reset. Most of the guitars were Bass challenged, and I thought it was a factor of the body size. THEN I went to a Craig's listing, and found a 1999 EC, that probably had on the original strings!!!! Even with the dead strings, it was a fantastic sounding guitar with tons of bass.......so buyer beware. That EC in Guitar Center was still on the wall a month later even after I pointed out the problems to the store manager. Try a lot of the same guitars until one speaks to you. Martin or Gibson, don't matter, just get the one that sings to you.....good luck
"The sole of my shoes is thin, and I'll soon be on my feet again" Lonnie Johnson

#50 User is offline   august_reader 

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 06:37 AM

Yep, I've got a 00028EC that sounded great at the store and sounded great at home and with which I was well pleased, until I picked back up my D35 - had I played the D35 along side the 00028EC I never would have got the EC.

My J200 is totally unlike any other guitar I own and sounds (and smells) so sweet everytime I pick it up.

Then there is the 0-18 and the D-18 ... wish I had a Gibson mahogany to compare ... besides my LG0, that is.

#51 User is offline   Rambler 

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 10:33 AM

"Why is it that there are so many "crap" periods in Gibson's history" Only one, really (Norlin years, 69-80-something), which, curiously, coincides with Martin's worst years under Frank Henry (who may as well have been outside corporate ownership--diversification, etc) and Fender/late CBS (67-80s). It was a bad time for everyone--though, to CFMs credit they did not try a double-X brace or a 3-screw neck attachment.

As for bashing. You can find all kinds, Martin snobs and Gibson snobs/anti-snobs, differentiated only by the degree of arrogance/defensiveness. How much much one encounters probably depends more on the circles that one frequents (real and virtual).
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#52 User is offline   jaxson50 

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 11:29 AM

To many variables to declare one better then another. Martin and Gibson both make so many different models and styles.
Over the years I have owned more Martin then Gibson's, but I would never sell my old Gibson L-4, I just love it. On the other hand I regret selling my 00-18 I bought brand new in 66, man I miss that guitar.
What year Gibson? What year Martin? The you get into each model! Most die hard Gibson fans would agree that Gibson's made very few good guitars during the Norlin years. Like wise Martin has had some bad years.
I think one thing that Martin has going for it is continuity, the same family has owned that company or been involved in making the product since 1833. No other American guitar maker has that heritage.
Martin has some wonderful models, but even Fredrick Martin IV would admit that they have never made a great electric guitar, and their arch tops have not been big hit's although their new model is pretty nice, but not anything like a Gibson L model.
The best advice is, find the guitar that does what you want it to do and play it= [biggrin]






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#53 User is offline   onewilyfool 

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 02:05 AM

Quote

"Why is it that there are so many "crap" periods in Gibson's history" Only one, really (Norlin years, 69-80-something), which, curiously, coincides with Martin's worst years under Frank Henry (who may as well have been outside corporate ownership--diversification, etc) and Fender/late CBS (67-80s). It was a bad time for everyone--though, to CFMs credit they did not try a double-X brace or a 3-screw neck attachment.

As for bashing. You can find all kinds, Martin snobs and Gibson snobs/anti-snobs, differentiated only by the degree of arrogance/defensiveness. How much much one encounters probably depends more on the circles that one frequents (real and virtual).



I have talked to several luthiers who do repairs on vintage Gibsons and Martins, and for some reason the old Gibsons have glue problems on braces and such. Still.....a 1930's Martin, or a 1930-40's Gibson....does it get any better????
"The sole of my shoes is thin, and I'll soon be on my feet again" Lonnie Johnson

#54 User is offline   tomwoolner 

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 10:24 AM

I had to jump in.
I went to college in Kalamazoo in the mid 60's, and a few Gibsons passed through my hands that I never would have ben able to afford otherwise (2nds from the factory, etc.). I had a 65 SJN, a 1948 sunburst J200 (a piece of crap - the whispering giant), but my favorite of all time was my 65 blonde Hummingbird, purchased from a friend for $125. Had it for over 20 years , then it was stolen.
Sincce then, I have had several guitars pass through my hands - a B25, late 60's Dove, and several Martins, including a 69 0018, a late 60s 00018, a 71 D41, and my current guiitar, a fairly new OM28V.

Thay were all different! Some good, some not so good. But if I could only have one, it would be my old Hummingbird. Maybe it is nostalgia, but I loved the neck, the relatively short scale, and the really even sound.

I miss the day when everyone could afford a decent vintage guitar. Or cars (I bought a 1958 Jaguar EK150 for $600 dollars once. The battery was dead, so the owner pt a for sale sign on it.)

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