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"Martin mastered Rosewood, Gibson mastered Mahogany and Maple"...thoughts?


Jinder

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Hi all,

I had a very interesting debate with a friend recently about tonewoods and which manufacturer does what best. Whilst we both agreed that the AJ was a spectacularly powerful guitar, his thoughts were that Martin were the masters of making Rosewood instruments, and Gibson were the go-to guitars for Mahogany and Maple.

 

This was sparked by me saying about how much more I'm enjoying my 1990 Hummingbird than the '06 D18 I owned for a while last year.

 

I'm half in agreement, but then again the OM18V is one of my favourite instruments ever (still miss the one I owned 10yrs ago!) and guitars like BluesKing777's D18 are just wonderful.

 

What are your thoughts...? I think it's an interesting concept and one that could make for a great debate ☺️

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Man, my J50 is crisp. And man, my HD28 is lush.

That's about all I got.

Seriously, I almost traded in my HD28 for a plain Jane J45 last weekend, even though I own a great J50. So yes... Gibson does spruce/hog well. But so does Martin. Go try the post 2012 D18. You will be floored.

As for maple? I one owned a J200. Perhaps I need to try them again.

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I don't agree with the idea that Gibson do mahogany better than Martin. I think at least part of that notion comes from the fact that several iconic models from Gibson are mahogany, and from Martin they are rosewood. Martin has always used their style numbers, 18, 28, 45 etc, where the 28s and 45s are rosewood, to indicate the level of ornamentation, but I think that in the eye of the average guitar buyer these numbers also tend to indicate quality of tone (which is of course not true...). Different, yes, but not better or worse. So when "the best" Martins get rosewood that must then mean these are better guitars, right? Nah, had Martin made D-45s in the old days with, say, flamed mahogany instead of rosewood, maybe they would today be regarded as the kings of mahogany. Martin does not do rosewood better than mahogany, they have just given these models higher style numbers traditionally, which has over time affected peoples idea of how to rank the quality of tone of their instruments.

 

Lars

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Both make great guitars in all materials

One mans rosewood is another mans laminate

 

If you're going to give accolades to rosewood or mahogany guitars then martin and Gibson don't come close to some of the boutique builders out there

 

I'll agree that a D28 is a fantastic guitar and a j45 is a fantastic guitar, but some won't like them.

BK has been posting evidence of beautiful guitar tones from mahogany and whatever that cargill is made from (ebony?)

I know he won't be offended by me not liking them as I find them 'too beautiful'

An HD35 i owned last year was without a doubt the loveliest guitar I've ever owned , but I prefer the sound my 00015 makes . I find it nicer sounding . .... I know it's not , but to me it is

I'd rather hear Dylan than Orbison , Angus young than Clapton

 

So I'd disagree with both jinder and his friend in the statements

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I find them 'too beautiful'

An HD35 i owned last year was without a doubt the loveliest guitar I've ever owned , but I prefer the sound my 00015 makes . I find it nicer sounding . .... I know it's not , but to me it is.

 

I feel exactly the same about Lowdens. I'm always blown away by the lush tones, amazing harmonic overtones, purity of sound and the way each note blooms. I've never wanted one though. Metaphorically, I'd always pick the tanned farm girl in a plaid dress with windblown hair over the prom queen. I want soul, not perfection and precision.

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Both make great guitars in all materials

One mans rosewood is another mans laminate

 

If you're going to give accolades to rosewood or mahogany guitars then martin and Gibson don't come close to some of the boutique builders out there

 

I'll agree that a D28 is a fantastic guitar and a j45 is a fantastic guitar, but some won't like them.

BK has been posting evidence of beautiful guitar tones from mahogany and whatever that cargill is made from (ebony?)

I know he won't be offended by me not liking them as I find them 'too beautiful'

An HD35 i owned last year was without a doubt the loveliest guitar I've ever owned , but I prefer the sound my 00015 makes . I find it nicer sounding . .... I know it's not , but to me it is

I'd rather hear Dylan than Orbison , Angus young than Clapton

 

So I'd disagree with both jinder and his friend in the statements

 

 

 

Well, I am hugely offended. [biggrin]

 

No, I think it is more to do with what you play and how you play it...... so my Lowden or Cargill sound stunning in DADGAD tuning while my J45 just isn't right for that. Now, belting into my Cargill with a big flatpick won't bring pleasure, too lush and all the notes will tread on each other. They need to be extracted!

But weird Jinder mentioned the (Martin) OM18V - that works beautifully in DADGAD or country blues or.....ballads or...rags, though I have never played it with a pick, but I suppose that is a more 'versatile' guitar. And while I love my old L-0, it sounds plain ordinary in DADGAD tuning!

 

Horses for courses.

 

 

BluesKing777.

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Well, I am hugely offended. [biggrin]

 

No, I think it is more to do with what you play and how you play it...... so my Lowden or Cargill sound stunning in DADGAD tuning while my J45 just isn't right for that. Now, belting into my Cargill with a big flatpick won't bring pleasure, too lush and all the notes will tread on each other. They need to be extracted!

But weird Jinder mentioned the (Martin) OM18V - that works beautifully in DADGAD or country blues or.....ballads or...rags, though I have never played it with a pick, but I suppose that is a more 'versatile' guitar. And while I love my old L-0, it sounds plain ordinary in DADGAD tuning!

 

Horses for courses.

 

 

BluesKing777.

 

Glad you got it

You're playing is immaculate at times and you get something out of those fancy pants guitars that my style of playing doesn't

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From experience, hertiage, tradition, etc:

 

Guy walks in a store looking for a mahogany guitar, goes over... trys a J45 and D18.

 

Same guy walks in a store looking for rosewood, goes straight to the CFM section.

 

Yeah. But that's guy has spent time on the internet making his decision , don't you agree ?

 

 

Or , taking to people who spend time on the internet ....

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bbg, I understand what you're saying and don't disagree at all. My reference is to experienced players who kinda know what to expect from both builders.

 

We're not likely to even find a rosewood Gibson in the store. The just announced 2017 D28, has a new (Taylor) neck, unhuh and is going to sell like fly swatters in a nudist camp. Gibson's forte has always been mahogany, no one could never duplicate my 59' LG3, this baby is beyond torrified, old mahogany just gets better and better.

 

Young. less experienced players go in looking for integrated electronics... they shrug at Gibson/Martin and buy Taylor, this is true. I read the news today oh boy.

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Gibson RW models are rare as hen's teach, whereas they are top of the line for martin, so that might account for the meme. That said, Martin makes fine mahogany boxes. The D18GE, 00018GE and OM18 authentic all hog/adi, are as good as it gets.

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I like my Martin RW's.

 

I have no issues with my Gibson RW's

 

There's room for both.

 

J-45 Custom RW

 

body_zps3d6eae4f.jpg

 

 

 

 

J200 Custom RW

 

b0e9916d-fd53-46c8-8429-79b6cbf6e32d_zps34f6fb8f.jpg

 

 

 

 

Stage Deluxe RW

 

C5045925-80AB-442A-B627-A4FE62E2AC30_zpsdob8k31u.jpg

 

 

 

 

Nick Lucas Limited Mystic RW

 

4_f642305c-d7b1-48c9-ad1e-a171c790b6ee_zpsq0eo0col.jpg

 

 

 

 

Dwight Yoakam Honky Tonk Deuce RW

 

EEE24D02-A152-4C2A-BE08-0573CD5820A1_zpswqodxzlt.jpg

 

 

 

 

Gibson 1934 Jumbo Centennial RW

 

67C476C7-AAD1-4928-95EB-60614BA4B8CD_zpsq3qkryuu.jpg

 

 

 

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I like my Martin RW's.

 

I have no issues with my Gibson RW's

 

There's room for both.

 

J-45 Custom RW

 

body_zps3d6eae4f.jpg

 

 

 

 

J200 Custom RW

 

b0e9916d-fd53-46c8-8429-79b6cbf6e32d_zps34f6fb8f.jpg

 

 

 

 

Stage Deluxe RW

 

C5045925-80AB-442A-B627-A4FE62E2AC30_zpsdob8k31u.jpg

 

 

 

 

Nick Lucas Limited Mystic RW

 

4_f642305c-d7b1-48c9-ad1e-a171c790b6ee_zpsq0eo0col.jpg

 

 

 

 

Dwight Yoakam Honky Tonk Deuce RW

 

EEE24D02-A152-4C2A-BE08-0573CD5820A1_zpswqodxzlt.jpg

 

 

 

 

Gibson 1934 Jumbo Centennial RW

 

67C476C7-AAD1-4928-95EB-60614BA4B8CD_zpsq3qkryuu.jpg

 

 

You are killing me here Dave,

 

 

Amazing !

 

 

 

Enjoy those beauties .

 

 

 

 

 

JC

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I agree with Slimt. The both build great guitars but neither is the "master" of the lumber. I know folks who will tell you Collings, Santa Cruz, Walker, and Kopp have out-Martined and out-Gibsoned them.

 

I agree, although I think the conversation pertained to a comparison between the two manufacturers, rather than the many wonderful boutique/high end builders out there.

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Its really hard to compare when there two totally different makers.

 

This generation of guitars though may be different. All the models with constant changes to get customers whood . at one point a d45 was top of the line. A sj200 was king nowadays there in a medium selection with more of each being higher graded with high end woods and pearls and art work applied.

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When I think of Martin I think of a big, loud, rosewood dread. When I think Gibson a J-45 pops into my head. I don't know about "mastered" but I will agree that when I think of Martin I think of rosewood. However, I don't think Gibson has established that kind of connection with mahogany because Gibson has had a lot of iconic guitars made differing tonewoods.

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