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Okay, so today is my birthday and I'm looking to treat myself to a new guitar. I have 5 electrics and not a single acoustic so I'm thinking it's time that I buy an acoustic. I want to maintain a nice collection and my budget is around $1,500 USD (on the high end). I checked out the Martin MMV Solid Top Dreadnought Rosewood/Sitka at GC this past weekend. It looked gorgeous, felt wonderful, and sounded great. I can get about $200 off for the President's Day sale. Is this a good buy? Could anyone recommend a better or equivalent buy in regards to quality/value?

 

Feedback that says "no one can tell you what you like but you so go and check out a bunch of guitars and pick the one that sounds/feels best" is not the objective of this post. I know that. I have done that. I'm just looking for selfish opinions.

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Okay, so today is my birthday and I'm looking to treat myself to a new guitar. I have 5 electrics and not a single acoustic so I'm thinking it's time that I buy an acoustic. I want to maintain a nice collection and my budget is around $1,500 USD (on the high end). I checked out the Martin MMV Solid Top Dreadnought Rosewood/Sitka at GC this past weekend. It looked gorgeous, felt wonderful, and sounded great. I can get about $200 off for the President's Day sale. Is this a good buy? Could anyone recommend a better or equivalent buy in regards to quality/value?

 

Feedback that says "no one can tell you what you like but you so go and check out a bunch of guitars and pick the one that sounds/feels best" is not the objective of this post. I know that. I have done that. I'm just looking for selfish opinions.

Read your post again, "looked gorgeous, felt wonderful, and sounded great" and $200.00 off?

You've already decided [biggrin] Here's the selfish part, I've got 2 Martins, a 6 and a 12. Had them both for over 15 yrs. wouldn't sell them, trade them, or give them away [thumbdn]

Get your guitar bud, it sounds fantasic [thumbup] All this is MHO :rolleyes:

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I just played a nice new D28 Saturday night that a young (late 40s) lady folksinger brought to an event I had to attend.

 

Nice sound for a brand new medium-high end guitar, but I didn't care that much for the neck. But the 28 is an all wood guitar.

 

For around $1,500... I guess you're looking at a used Gibson or Martin, a high-end Epi or a Martin low-end, non-solid wood type guitar.

 

You might wanna look at some of the Epi Masterbilt series that are real wood rather than variations of laminates, etc. Were I to have the $1,500, that's likely where I'd head for an AE cutaway and case unless I could get my hands on a used Gibbie of that variety complete with case.

 

Yeah, I'd prefer the used Gibbie. Where I live there ain't no potential to touch one, and I'd rather not buy sight unseen.

 

But ask this: Do you want a laminated-type Martin body that has no laminated equivalent beyond the Epi line in the Gibbie stable, or do you want an all-wood guitar?

 

Frankly I've played a few moments on a "L" brand and a "T" brand and they don't impress me all that much. In fact, since I'm generally a believer in using an AE plugged in on stage, I've had some pro music vid folks' feedback that even an inexpensive Epi PR5e can sound marvelous run that way. Yeah, I don't feel bad at all when I'm doing double duty "shooting" a benefit that I'm also playing in and might get a "higher quality" guitar crushed or "lost," especially with that kinda feedback.

 

Would I take an all-wood Martin if someone gave it to me? Absolutely. But for my purposes, an AE is best and I'd prefer an all-wood guitar. For example, were I given the D-28, it'd be electrified within weeks if not days.

 

If I'm going to laminates, Epi has a batch of 'em that work quite well on stage, and for a lot less than a low-end Martin.

 

Thunderchild may have you figured, though... If you want the Martin, and it's in your price range... don't feel guilty. It's just not what I would do at my time, place and what I do with guitars. I'd add that I have 5 "acoustics" of various brands, all are AE, even my early '70s Ovations that were the only real AE I had access to back then.

 

m

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You mentioned this will be your first acoustic. If all you have been playing are electric guitars, do you have the hand strength and technique for an acoustic?

In general an acoustic will have more string tension than an electric and requires a different type of hand strength and technique.

 

I owned one of those GC Martins and it was an excellent acoustic guitar, but I din't like the neck so traded up. (Gibson Songwriter). Eventually trade up the Songwriter for a Bird.

 

The reason I mention this is because you are going to want a guitar that is not hard to play and I would recommend a short scale Gibson or high end Epiphone.

You may have to look hard, but there are short scale used Gibson acoustics J 45, Birds, Doves, Tvs etc.. that are not far from your $1500 limit. They sound great, play easy and look good.

 

That GC martin is an excellent acoustic especially for a first timer acoustic player, just be ready to put in time to hone your playing methods.

On the plus side if you like to bend the strings alot on your electrics, that is plus for finger strength.

 

My advice: save up some more and buy a short scale Gibson acoustic new or used.

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markini...

 

Actually... I wear 9s and 10s on the acoustics. Have for years. The 10s are on the one box I use if I'm gonna do flatpicking as in backing up fiddlers, bluegrass, etc.. 9s on most electrics except 8s on the old SG type. But that's all with very light touch fingerstyle pickin'.

 

I think we're agreein' overall on Gibbie and various Epi variations on the theme.

 

All kidding aside, the very inexpensive PR5e AE Epi (figure $400 with a case) is a nice size for old blues material and fingerpicking, and runs nicely through a board. It's very similar in size to the ES175 or the old Gibson cf100e flattop of the 1950s that had a Florentine cutaway and a magnetic pickup. Unfortunately Gibbie dropped that model, but the little Epi comes close. Neither are acoustic boomers but... The size but cutaway may make it of interest if set up for how you play.

 

m

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For around $1,500... I guess you're looking at a used Gibson or Martin, a high-end Epi or a Martin low-end, non-solid wood type guitar.

 

But ask this: Do you want a laminated-type Martin body that has no laminated equivalent beyond the Epi line in the Gibbie stable, or do you want an all-wood guitar?

 

If I'm going to laminates, Epi has a batch of 'em that work quite well on stage, and for a lot less than a low-end Martin.

 

m

Great advice. Exactly what I was looking for. Here's the description of the Martin I'm looking at:

 

The Martin MMV Solid Top Dreadnought Rosewood/Sitka Acoustic Guitar is a dream come true. A solid Sitka spruce top, solid East Indian Rosewood back and sides, mahogany neck and ebony fretboard is what many would call the perfect combination of woods for the acoustic guitar. The renowned Martin X-bracing makes the most of these tonewoods.Featuring a deluxe 19-ply rosette, gold tuners, and white binding, this guitar looks as good as it sounds. The nitrocellulose gloss finish both protects and allows the guitar to get better with age.

It sounds solid to me as opposed to laminated. Am I missing something? This is why I ask about acoustics, because I don't know a nail from hammer. Electrics are a different story.

 

I could get a (dinged up, floor model) new Songwriter for about $1600. I could potentially negotiate a price on a Hummingbird (same condition as the Songwriter) for significantly less than $2900, but not sure if it would be under $2,000 or not.

 

You mentioned this will be your first acoustic. If all you have been playing are electric guitars, do you have the hand strength and technique for an acoustic?

In general an acoustic will have more string tension than an electric and requires a different type of hand strength and technique.

 

I owned one of those GC Martins and it was an excellent acoustic guitar, but I din't like the neck so traded up. (Gibson Songwriter). Eventually trade up the Songwriter for a Bird.

 

The reason I mention this is because you are going to want a guitar that is not hard to play and I would recommend a short scale Gibson or high end Epiphone.

You may have to look hard, but there are short scale used Gibson acoustics J 45, Birds, Doves, Tvs etc.. that are not far from your $1500 limit. They sound great, play easy and look good.

 

That GC martin is an excellent acoustic especially for a first timer acoustic player, just be ready to put in time to hone your playing methods.

On the plus side if you like to bend the strings alot on your electrics, that is plus for finger strength.

 

My advice: save up some more and buy a short scale Gibson acoustic new or used.

Yes, I have the hand strength to play acoustic. I can play an acoustic just fine, but I'd like to develop my hand strength so that I can play an electric even better, as electric is my real passion. That being said, should I just buy another electric??? LOL, at what point do I NEED to break down and buy and acoustic? When I do, I want it to be nice.

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Just did a little checking...

 

That MMV is solid wood. The neck joint is different, and so is the bracing pattern compared to a D28, for example. It's one not listed by the catalog since it's made for MF to meet a price on a Martin. Or... there's always a used D28...

 

That's not to say it's "bad," by any means. It's just an entirely different instrument compared to a D28. Some reviewers suggest it loses the boom and ... although they didn't put it this way, compared the more balanced sound to what Gibson has tended to look for in its designs.

 

Interesting, eh?

 

A songwriter AE for $1,600? Floor model with dings or not, I'd personally figure some way to own that one if I had a chance to try it for "feel."

 

And seriously, I'm utterly convinced AE is the way to go whether you're doing rock or Bluegrass. There's almost always a place for an acoustic sound, but AE lets you blend better with electric instruments or even a solo gig. You probably lose something from the extra crud on the guitar, but... IMHO it's well worth it.

 

m

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A songwriter AE for $1,600? Floor model with dings or not, I'd personally figure some way to own that one if I had a chance to try it for "feel."

 

And seriously, I'm utterly convinced AE is the way to go whether you're doing rock or Bluegrass. There's almost always a place for an acoustic sound, but AE lets you blend better with electric instruments or even a solo gig. You probably lose something from the extra crud on the guitar, but... IMHO it's well worth it.

 

m

I'll really have to think about this as the Songwriter has several noticeable (from up close) dings on the top, side, and neck joint. The Martin was pristine. Aesthetics and the beauty of the wood is kinda a big deal to me, but of course not moreso than the sound. Soundwise, I played the Martin at one store and the Songwriter at another so it's hard to compare the two.

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Can't argue much on aesthetics, although no guitar goes unscathed if it's played "out."

 

Also an AE, especially if it's a cutaway, won't have quite the sound as an equivalent full acoustic - but if you electrify a full acoustic you're at the same place. As I said, I'm definitely into the AE for almost any stage use unless it's a bluegrass thing where everybody crowds the mikes. But that's just me.

 

m

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Milod,

 

I am 60 years old, don't play much bluegrass or flat picking. Typically play my Birds with a singer or harmonica. My hands are not as strong as they once were and I can feel a wee bit of arthritus.

I tried 11s on one of the Birds and lost alot of volume and a tad of tone (to my ears).. I prefer 12 guage strings on the Birds. One bird has the built in fishman and the other I use a Dean Markely when I plug in.. Niether Bird a a cut away. I play alot unplugged.

 

For amplified playing I prefer my PRS SC HBII, through an acoustic fishman tower (piezo side and a Fender twin reverb mag pup input.side. Essentially two amps at the same time.

For strictly electric I prefer my 89' MIJ strat and Giibson LP Custom Classic (LP uses 10s). The Strat uses 9 guages and can imitate an acoustic fairly well. If I want strictly electric.

acoustic I just use the Fishman Bird.

 

String size is subjective but for what its worth, I do use 10s on an acoustic Yamaha concert AE and 10s on a Taylor 110. The Big dog PRS came with 11s and I like the tone so much I don't want to mess with it.

 

So we are pretty much in agreement on Electics (9s and 10s) the PRS is an exception. and some acoustics with 10s also.

 

Aside:I play more bar chords than I would like, but still manage ok. I like almost all styles of music, but I play more blues and old 60s top 40 stuff than anything else.

Lastly: For the first timr in my life I started playing keyboards last weekend and can do 3 neat songs, mostly chords. I needed the KB for fill ins when recording.

 

Keep on jamming!

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Okay, so today is my birthday and I'm looking to treat myself to a new guitar. I have 5 electrics and not a single acoustic so I'm thinking it's time that I buy an acoustic. I want to maintain a nice collection and my budget is around $1,500 USD (on the high end). I checked out the Martin MMV Solid Top Dreadnought Rosewood/Sitka at GC this past weekend. It looked gorgeous, felt wonderful, and sounded great. I can get about $200 off for the President's Day sale. Is this a good buy? Could anyone recommend a better or equivalent buy in regards to quality/value?

 

Feedback that says "no one can tell you what you like but you so go and check out a bunch of guitars and pick the one that sounds/feels best" is not the objective of this post. I know that. I have done that. I'm just looking for selfish opinions.

I'll just mention if you get the chance check out a sj200,j2oo gibbys!wife just got me a woody guthrie SJ200 !!!it;s spectacular!

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The MMV is a good guitar, I think it is a GC exclusive (I amy be wrong about that). I have been very happy with my Martin D16 RGT, solid Sitka spruce top, solid rosewood sides and back. I considered the D28, but the D16 compared favorably in tone and quality for about $1000 less.

 

Good luck and happy birthday.

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Have you considered option to buy used? With this tough economy, some really good deals on used gear at great prices.

 

Sounds like you know enough about gits to not get "stuck" but look at some higher end models of Martin that are used DEALS. Check out EBay and National Craigslist for some better models. Many of the online forums have deals. When you can find one near you, you get the option to inspect it too.

 

Also, that GC price is good, but maybe not the best you could do. For Martins for example check the website of MFG, My Favorite Guitar, who is a one of the better Martin dealers in USA. Their pricing at 40% off would make your $$ go further, even new.

 

Good luck with your search...Enjoy the search.

 

[thumbup]

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