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Played some sunburst Martins this weekend…...


onewilyfool

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I guess after being spoiled by Gibson sunbursts…..I really don't think that Martin should do sunbursts……just HORRIBLE!!! I owned one built in 2004 several years ago, and they haven't improved since then??? Are Martins done by hand or by Robot like their finishing/buffing is done??

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In the 1950s when Gibson was coming up with the ES-335 (which they considered their finest moment in the days after WWII) the discussion turned to what finish the first ones would have. Gibson President Ted McCarty plain and simple said a sunburst as it was as much a Gibson trademark as their logo. What is crazy is that Gibson actually used to heat the Forbes/PPG lacquer they used so they could apply it in a thick, even coat (the finish would lose about 1/2 its thickness in the first year).

 

No offense meant to C.F. Martin but I prefer his guitars au naturale. While I do admit to seeing some wickedly nice bursts on other guitars in the 1930s, in terms of mass produced guitars from WWII on, a Gibson burst is in a league of its own. Not much of a fan for the cherry burst though and those clown bursts from the 1970s may have set a new low in the history of guitar finishing.

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Gibson = sunburst

Martin = shadetop

 

Weird isn't it?

 

I agree as a whole I like Gibson more but Martin has done some nice ones in the past. I think their OM body style shadetops look better than their dreadnaught style ones.

 

The recent Jeff Tweedy model finish wasn't bad either. Wish I had found a good sounding 00-DB....

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Even I would look that good in that small of a photo….what those small photos don't show is that, up close, the Martin SB is a bit blotchy, like they didn't use a proper sealer for the top before applying the burst. I can see little "bubbles" of color…like they didn't use a fine enough nozzle on their sprayer. The blend is not as smooth Gibson's flawless blend. It is just not as professional as Gibson's. The only other company who comes close to Gibson's Sunburst that I've seen id the sunbursts of Colling's guitars….very close to Gibson's quality.

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I don't think Martin bursts are horrible or ugly, I just think they don't look right. On the other hand, although they are very fine guitars, I don't think natural finish J-45s look right either. I think J-200s work both ways, I guess because you see so many of them done in both finishes.

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Really nice Martin, GT! [thumbup]

 

Thanks Mark! She is a beauty, and sounds great too. But I still find the Southern Jumbo my favorite for darker stuff, i.e. Blues and allot of Country. But there is something special about the clear as a bell sound of that D45.

 

GT

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As many of you know, we have spent over half our lives acquiring an assortment of vintage flattops, many from the golden era of the 1930s. We always collected sounds and designs -- not finishes. Mostly, we paid no attention to how a guitar looked. I wasn't until the last decade and the arrival of the forums that it occurred to me that it might be cool to photograph groups of guitars. A lot more of our Gibsons have shaded tops because percentagewise, Martin made less of them.

 

I have probably posted these before, but they are historically sort of visually interesting and important.

 

First some Martins.

30MartinBursts.jpg

 

These are chronological -- 32 to 41.

 

Now the Gibsons.

 

30s

30gibs.jpg

 

30 Zoos

Zoos.jpg

 

40s

 

40Gibs.jpg

 

And even some 60s.

 

60acoustics.jpg

 

Let's pick,

 

-Tom

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I've recently seen a couple newer Martins where the upper bout of the '35 burst is completely dark and they look great. One was on a D28 and another on a 000-28EC.

 

Tom,

 

I really like seeing your collection.

 

 

 

 

 

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