T Nation

Anyone Know About Acoustic Guitars?


#1

Trying to decide between a Martin D16GTE and a Gibson J15.

Martin:

-spruce top
-mahogany body

Gibson:

-spruce top (I like spruce)
-walnut body

Martin Pros

-it's a Martin
-love the dreadnought body shape. I like smaller bodied guitars.

Martin Cons

-no pick up, although a mate of mine has a spare LR Baggs element he said I can have.

Gibson Pros

-It's beautiful. That walnut body looks amazing.

Gibson Cons

-potential boomyness

Decisions, decisions. Price wise they're pretty much the same so that's not really a consideration. I've played a Martin (albeit cheap ones) for a while so I know that the dreadnought body really suits me, and that Martins in general suit my playing style (do more strumming than I do fingerstyle). The Gibson acoustics I've played in the past have been a bit boomy for my taste, but the J15 has a smaller body than other high end Gibsons I've played so there's that.

Anyone have any input? I know we've some pretty talented guitarists on here? I'm also open to suggestions for other guitars in a similar price bracket.


#2

It’s a Gibson dreadnought VS a Martin dreadnought. The quality of both brands is insane (although I’d wager that Martin has a better rep) so it’ll come down to personal preference. I’d pick the Martin since I love their sound, boomy guitars turn me off (I play gigs somewhat frequently) and I like cutaways. The absence of a pickup system, however, would be a big con for the same reason. Which LR Baggs pup are we talking about?

EDIT: Also, do NOT buy one online. Acoustic guitars are unique items, keep that in mind.


#3

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:
It’s a Gibson dreadnought VS a Martin dreadnought. The quality of both brands is insane (although I’d wager that Martin has a better rep) so it’ll come down to personal preference. I’d pick the Martin since I love their sound, boomy guitars turn me off (I play gigs somewhat frequently) and I like cutaways. The absence of a pickup system, however, would be a big con for the same reason. Which LR Baggs pup are we talking about?

EDIT: Also, do NOT buy one online. Acoustic guitars are unique items, keep that in mind.[/quote]

Aye but Martin dreadnought’s are way smaller and when I talk about dreadnoughts I incorrectly am always referring to Martins! I’m an idiot that way.

Yeah it’s the potential boominess that’s worrying me about the Gibson, it just looks so BEAUTIFUL! Haha.

The LR Baggs my mate’s got spare is an Element. And I’d never buy online! Always try first.

Cutaways not such a big draw for me.

What do you play?


#4

also, the Gibson J35 looks pretty schmexy, too…


#5

Both solid choices.

I have a 1967 Martin D-18 and I’m in love with it. However, I perform very infrequently so the lack of pick ups does not impact me very much. I have used magnetic pick ups before and believe you lose a bit of that martin character.

Somewhat related, one of my favorite purchases has been the Taylor GS Mini. It’s a 3/4 guitar and really inexpensive, but the sound quality for that price is unreal. Super portable and fun guitar.


#6

[quote]Yogi wrote:
What do you play?[/quote]

A fairly inexpensive Takamine EG-10C dreadnought, bought many many years ago. If I ever had the money I might go for a Guild or Martin - but I’m sentimental and my current model sounds very good considering the price tag, so there’s no rush.


#7

I currently play an Ovation, which I like, but is definitely not for everyone. My husband bought a Seagull Artist Series about 6 months ago and we both really like the sound and look. Their high end models sell for $1100-$1600 US, but are of comparable quality to $4000-$5000 Martins.


#8

I sold my soul to Yamaha a long time ago for acoustic instruments.


#9

[quote]LiftingStrumpet wrote:
I currently play an Ovation, which I like, but is definitely not for everyone. My husband bought a Seagull Artist Series about 6 months ago and we both really like the sound and look. Their high end models sell for $1100-$1600 US, but are of comparable quality to $4000-$5000 Martins.[/quote]

Damn you for mentioning seagulls…


#10

[quote]LiftingStrumpet wrote:
I currently play an Ovation[/quote]

I’ve been thinking of picking up one these cheap off craigslist. Just something to keep in the living room and fuck around with. Love the thin body acoustics.


#11

[quote]broyourmybro wrote:
Both solid choices.

I have a 1967 Martin D-18 and I’m in love with it. However, I perform very infrequently so the lack of pick ups does not impact me very much. I have used magnetic pick ups before and believe you lose a bit of that martin character.

Somewhat related, one of my favorite purchases has been the Taylor GS Mini. It’s a 3/4 guitar and really inexpensive, but the sound quality for that price is unreal. Super portable and fun guitar.[/quote]

aw man, I’m so jealous of your D18. I’ve considered them but sadly it’s a little too far out of my price range.

Interesting stuff abotu the Taylor, my girlfriend wants a guitar and I think a tiny little one would suit her.


#12

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:

[quote]Yogi wrote:
What do you play?[/quote]

A fairly inexpensive Takamine EG-10C dreadnought, bought many many years ago. If I ever had the money I might go for a Guild or Martin - but I’m sentimental and my current model sounds very good considering the price tag, so there’s no rush.[/quote]

yeah I can understand that. I’m quite attached to the total piece of shit I learned on. This guitar is the the most rank instrument on earth. The action’s so high the strings are like 2 inches off the fretboard. Growing up playing that has meant every guitar I’ve played since feel like a little toy.


#13

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:

[quote]LiftingStrumpet wrote:
I currently play an Ovation, which I like, but is definitely not for everyone. My husband bought a Seagull Artist Series about 6 months ago and we both really like the sound and look. Their high end models sell for $1100-$1600 US, but are of comparable quality to $4000-$5000 Martins.[/quote]

Damn you for mentioning seagulls…[/quote]

Funny you say that about Seagulls, a lot of people rate them highly but I’ve never played one. I honestly think I’m too married to Martin and Gibson to be fully satisfied with anything else.

Never played an Ovation I liked, although I’ve never played a high end one so I can’t say I’ve ever given them a fair go.


#14

[quote]dt79 wrote:
I sold my soul to Yamaha a long time ago for acoustic instruments. [/quote]

Didn’t know you played my bruthafromanuthamutha


#15

[quote]Yogi wrote:

[quote]dt79 wrote:
I sold my soul to Yamaha a long time ago for acoustic instruments. [/quote]

Didn’t know you played my bruthafromanuthamutha[/quote]

Haha not so much anymore. Spent a lot of time in my teens and early twenties trying to be the next Nuno Bettencourt.


#16

I play a Martin D35, which I got at a good price due to cosmetic damage.
I did order it online, but guitar center gives you a month to try the guitar out and return it to your local store if you don’t like it.

My suggestion is that you find a store where you can play each guitar. Spend at least an hour with each one before coming to a decision. It’s going to come down to what feels comfortable and sounds best to you.


#17

Acoustic guitars are for betas.

Alphas play electric!

:wink:


#18

Yogi - have you had either one in your hands?

Based on your original description of pros/cons, I got the impression that you liked more about the Martin and that the Gibson “would do”.

Ultimately, it comes down to your style of playing, feel, and tone that pleases your ear. For a mid/high end acoustic, I would worry less about built in electronics and more about tone and feel. Not saying it’s not a consideration, but depends on what your plans for it are.

I have a Carvin C780. When I bought it, I absolutely needed onboard pickup, but most importantly, playability for my style. Carvin acoustics set up like electrics (very low string heights). It’s a jumbo, so it’s designed to boom and project unplugged. It’s not the most beautiful acoustic tone ever, but, live and plugged in, it’s punchy and crystal clear (The magic of EQ). It’s a different beast altogether plugged vs unplugged.

My point is, that I got it for it’s versatility and playability (ie. a functional purchase) because that’s what I needed at the time.

Sounded from your own words like the Martin fit your needs the best. They play and sound great.

Seagulls are Godins. (Canadian)


#19

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
Yogi - have you had either one in your hands?

Based on your original description of pros/cons, I got the impression that you liked more about the Martin and that the Gibson “would do”.

Ultimately, it comes down to your style of playing, feel, and tone that pleases your ear. For a mid/high end acoustic, I would worry less about built in electronics and more about tone and feel. Not saying it’s not a consideration, but depends on what your plans for it are.

I have a Carvin C780. When I bought it, I absolutely needed onboard pickup, but most importantly, playability for my style. Carvin acoustics set up like electrics (very low string heights). It’s a jumbo, so it’s designed to boom and project unplugged. It’s not the most beautiful acoustic tone ever, but, live and plugged in, it’s punchy and crystal clear (The magic of EQ). It’s a different beast altogether plugged vs unplugged.

My point is, that I got it for it’s versatility and playability (ie. a functional purchase) because that’s what I needed at the time.

Sounded from your own words like the Martin fit your needs the best. They play and sound great.

Seagulls are Godins. (Canadian)[/quote]

Next week, brother. Needed to wait for the shop to order in the Martin. They already have the J15 and a J35 in stock which I’ll try. It’s not so much that I like the Martin more already, just that I’ve always liked Martins and have found the Gibson acoustics I’ve played to be a bit too boomy for heavy strumming.

The inbuilt electronics aren’t really a consideration at all, just an afterthought.

I’ve not bought a guitar in years! It’s so fucking exciting!

On another note, Steely, I have a love/hate relationship with a certain Mr Wylde…


#20

[quote]Yogi wrote:
On another note, Steely, I have a love/hate relationship with a certain Mr Wylde…[/quote]

I totally understand this. I did like his pride&glory stuff though.