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The proverbial Martin/Gibson debate....


onewilyfool

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I know this debate rages on, but I've come to this understanding....if comparing new Martins to New Gibsons is really like comparing apples to oranges...they are completely too different beasts.....BUT "Vintage " guitars are totally a different subject.....Vintage guitars have a destiny of their own...they evolve and "mature" so that they become something the factory can't really predict. All new guitars come out a little tight and predictable, no matter which brand you prefer....Vintage...just unpredictable....but when you find the right one....ahhhh

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Can't get my hands on enough whiskey and morphine to take care of the pain in the side of my face from this blasted tooth, [cursing] so I'll rant on about vintage guitars. I will probably never own a truly vintage guitar - they are too expensive for what they are to me, and the maintenance scares the hell outta me. I am a hack player who has fun. I make it a point to look, but don't touch, for fear that the first pluck will steal away my soul, and send me down the vintage guitar rabbit hole. I am very grateful that there are folks that collect, repair, and keep that vintage vibe going - I enjoyed seeing a wide collection of some truly marvelous vintage guitars that some folks brought to the Gibson Homecoming in Bozeman this year, but I know that I am too impulsive to venture out on to that level. I would be the proverbial "sucker" with money I don't really have tied up in marginal vintage guitars. [confused] So, if you ever see me on here seriously considering a purchase of an expensive ($3,000+) guitar, older than 1956, you have my explicit permission to come out here and slap me silly. I'll even buy your plane ticket.

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Dan, totally with you on the $3000 figure. ......What always amazes me is that so many guitar companies are striving to make "new" vintage models in an attempt to duplicate/find that vintage look and sound from decades ago. The problem for me is that the "new" vintage models are more than I'm willing to pay for most any guitar. (I'm not judging or commenting on anyone that will pay over 3-grand. Just saying it's not worth it to me. We all like different things.) Then you add into the equation that the instruments (especially the non-Martin/non-Gibson) vintage instruments that builders are trying to recreate regarding sound/tone/feel/looks were often $8-$10 dime store guitars....

 

Hey, Wily, what's going-on with your coffeehouse gig? You still doing it? I enjoyed the reports you were giving us. A real "slice of life" from a coffeehouse singer's corner of the world.

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I think the more mature (in years terms) guitar buyer must have a difficult time seeing some of the figures today, when your history is buying 'glory years' stuff for a few hundred dollars... to may so many pro grade instruments are 3k and up that it sort of normalises things... now that';s not saying that I don't believe companies are shoving it on quite a bit, further to that I can also see why so many people will go with Asian imports at the 'decent instrument' side of the things. 3K might not be what 3K was 40-60 years ago, but neither is it a small sum of money. Some can afford it easily, others never will....

 

It takes on a whole new meaning though in vintage terms and while we're all romanced by the lure of some aged gem, the sad fact is there is a massive divide between a vintage instrument and an old guitar.... An awful lot of what's out there will fall in to category two but you'll still pay category one prices. It's probably the area where most people get burned, but you wont hear of it as much, it's an industry in itself so too many negatives will damage the business of those in that domain.

 

For some it may be a dream come true, for others it's like adopting a 12 year old dog from the pound, it's probably on its last legs, needs to be at the vet a lot and is held together by medical force more to appease the owner than to help the animal. But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the people who do it.....

 

It's a minefield and no manufacturing name can save you if you've not chosen well.....

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It's a minefield and no manufacturing name can save you if you've not chosen well.....

 

I have a few 'news' and a few 'olds' that I have bought over the years. I have some really nice 'buys' from the internet and have been 'fleeced' once from the eBay.

 

BUT I have been 'unfairly traded to', not exactly fleeced, a number of times in guitar shops - cheeky to my face! But we live and learn and are ready to take the next 'hunt'.....all we can do is read the forum and learn the ropes a bit and keep an eye out for that gem, new or old. (my last 'gem' was my brand new National Resophonics M14 - a ripper!)

 

 

BluesKing777.

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It took me quite awhile to finally decide about which I like better but in the end Gibson won the tone battle. For many years I was, and still am mostly, surrounded by Martin guys. The sound is so ubiquitous and tied to bluegrass (for me let's not forget) that I'm bored with it. I wanted to bring a different tone to the table, for my own personal taste and for when I play with others.

Duluthdan, I'm with you 100% on the vintage versus new decision and you know what living in our state does to these guitars. On a side note about your toothache, hie thyself off to a medical maryjane clinic and get some help with the pain brother. It was the initial excuse to get the stuff legalized but for a lot of people it is the truth that it helps handle chronic pain. Peace and love.

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I make it a point to look, but don't touch, for fear that the first pluck will steal away my soul, and send me down the vintage guitar rabbit hole.

 

Probably a good decision because that hole is deep. Let me tell you it is deep! And it can steal away your soul. I got bit by the bug a couple of years ago and there is no cure. Martin, Gibson, Fender, etc. I don't care I just can't keep my hands off of them. I am lucky to have a loving and understanding wife that doesn't mind sharing our apartment space with too many old instruments. Well, to an extent of course. I walked in with a '63 Bassman 2 weeks ago and there was almost a melt down but we worked it out. Looks like I'll be selling a bunch off soon.... only to then get more.

 

A deep hole indeed.

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I just think they are different animals....Sometimes I feel like a Gibby, sometimes I like the Martins, other times I have other flavors that can get my boat floating. I have never seen the point to all of this blind allegiance to one kind over the other.

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Hey, Wily, what's going-on with your coffeehouse gig? You still doing it? I enjoyed the reports you were giving us. A real "slice of life" from a coffeehouse singer's corner of the world.

MP...I used to go in and just play music, NOW I'm playing fewer songs cause folks come over to me and want to chat, kind of like that TV show "Cheers", where everybody knows your name. I't become much more of a social thing for some reason. Still enjoying it, try to add one new song per month just to keep me on my toes. Thanks for askin'!

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so I'll rant on about vintage guitars.

 

Dan,

 

Your head may so "no" to vintage guitars but I'm confident that your heart said "yes" when you played me 1943 went-to-the-war SJ.

 

Regardless, I'm certain that your teeth are saying "more whiskey."

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My old D18 and L00 play and sound so different that I never feel that urge to set up a contest, but I do love to seperate the songs I play on each based on those differences. I'm not attracted to that stiff consistancy of many new acoustics off the GC shelves, good as they may play, as I like to hear and play AFTER the break in period. Besides, I probably don't have that much time on the planet to wait around and appreciate the mellowing. With my scant GAS dollars I go right for the vintage and am grateful for the dumb luck I've had, including my friendship with a great small town luthier.

 

As far as the $3,000 mark goes...I've managed to keep costs tweeked just under 3G's for old Guilds, Martins, and Gibsons...most models except for the biggest jumbos. My range has run $900-2600 across all those flat tops, the smallest a fine Guild M20 up to a couple of mid 50's J45's. Don't think I would sound better on a $10,000 guitar, but I'd love to have one to try for the weekend.

 

Sorry for your torment Dan. Alcohol will increase the pain so beware. You got morphine? Holy crap! I think you need antibiotics and a 40's era J45 to stop the pain.

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"Whiskey and Morphine" is a song by a friend of mine - Josh Harty. Don't have morphine, but last night wish I did. Infection from a prior root canal gone bad, have anti-biotics and pain meds now - appt with Endocronologist tomorrow to address. Feeling much better with a little sleep - 2 days not sleeping is not good.

 

John - you're "Over There" guitar, as I recall, you insisted that I play it - and I consider it more of a museum period piece than a vintage guitar - especially with the "mop-n-glo" finish on the back. I'm going to try and hold steadfast on the vintage train, really.

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I'm going to try and hold steadfast on the vintage train, really.

 

Dan, the man, if anyone can do it, you can.

 

But, you've gotta admit that the mop and glo back finish really augmented the instrument's tone, if not its mystique.

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I just think they are different animals....Sometimes I feel like a Gibby, sometimes I like the Martins, other times I have other flavors that can get my boat floating. I have never seen the point to all of this blind allegiance to one kind over the other.

 

Amen brother .......

A good guitar is a good guitar .Period.

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Can't get my hands on enough whiskey and morphine to take care of the pain in the side of my face from this blasted tooth, [cursing] so I'll rant on about vintage guitars. I will probably never own a truly vintage guitar - they are too expensive for what they are to me, and the maintenance scares the hell outta me. I am a hack player who has fun. I make it a point to look, but don't touch, for fear that the first pluck will steal away my soul, and send me down the vintage guitar rabbit hole. I am very grateful that there are folks that collect, repair, and keep that vintage vibe going - I enjoyed seeing a wide collection of some truly marvelous vintage guitars that some folks brought to the Gibson Homecoming in Bozeman this year, but I know that I am too impulsive to venture out on to that level. I would be the proverbial "sucker" with money I don't really have tied up in marginal vintage guitars. [confused] So, if you ever see me on here seriously considering a purchase of an expensive ($3,000+) guitar, older than 1956, you have my explicit permission to come out here and slap me silly. I'll even buy your plane ticket.

 

A good read -

 

 

I have a left shoe and a right shoe.

 

A wise word -

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