Other Guitars

Deciding on a new acoustic

1

I find myself without an acoustic guitar for the first time in many years. I've been doing some shopping around and have narrowed the field down to either the Martin Dreadnought Junior or the Taylor Academy 10.

Problem is every Martin I've played has had a neck in need of adjustment and crusty old strings, while every Taylor I've tried has been spot on perfect.

I really want to like the Martin as I dig the lower tension from the shorter scale and like the wider string spacing. There's also some snobbery in play here on my part. It's an all solid wood guitar.

The Taylor has layered sapele sides and back, aka laminate wood. And yet they've consistently been more resonant vibrating instruments.

Do I order a Martin on faith, hoping a setup and fresh strings will take it from the (assumed) 70% level I've been experiencing in person up to 100%? Or do I go Taylor knowing that I'm playing a guitar that's at 95-98% on every one I find? I've been to four different guitar stores in my quest so far and I've only found one Dreadnought Junior that was in decent shape (so seven that have been kind of rough) but four Taylors so consistent that they feel like the same guitar.

2

I really wonder about your Martin experience. Did you take a look at their Road Series? Great value. Electronics on board, case included. Same neck width, btw. I especially like the 000 models. https://www.martinguitar.co...

3

Sounds like: You want a Martin, so keep looking until you find 'the one'

4

I wouldn't be put off by the laminated wood back & sides on the Taylor. The solid sitka spruce top is of greater importance. And the Taylor's beveled arm rest is a very nice touch, particularly at that guitar's price point.

No doubt, Taylor has manufacturing QA/QC down to a science.

Both options appear to me to be a lot of instrument for the money. I would choose based on what your hands & ears prefer, and not worry about the name on the head stock.

5

Problem is every Martin I've played has had a neck in need of adjustment and crusty old strings,

Wow -- are you looking at NEW guitars? Martin's factory QA is very thorough -- NO corners are cut. I'd be more concerned about the care and handling history by the dealer(s).

I agree with NJBob -- keep looking....

6

That's what disturbs me - these are all being sold as new guitars. If it was used I would expect various issues, but as a new guitar I'd expect the neck to be in shape with good action. I'm visiting family soon and will try out the guitar shops near them, see if it's an issue with that particular chain.

7

The problem with the crusty strings could be too many tryouts by sweaty fingered players. Try it with new fresh strings before you make a decision. My experience with new Martins is that they are very inconsistent, when it comes to tone. They are wonderfully made guitars, but the tone will vary on the same model from one to another. I definitely would not buy a Martin without a hands on try out. When you find a good one, it's a real keeper. The Taylors are more consistent in that area, but they're not a Martin.

8

Keep hunting, if it needs new strings have whoever put a new set on. At some point the current owner or shop will need to spend $10 if they want to make a sale...

9

Forget all that and buy an Eastman...

10

I'm no real help, as I'm an old Martin guy. I would keep looking for the "one"

Not knocking Taylor or any other brand, but for me, when it comes to an acoustic, it's a Martin.

11

Try a Guild, new or used, before you commit to any guitar.

12

The problem with the crusty strings could be too many tryouts by sweaty fingered players. Try it with new fresh strings before you make a decision. My experience with new Martins is that they are very inconsistent, when it comes to tone. They are wonderfully made guitars, but the tone will vary on the same model from one to another. I definitely would not buy a Martin without a hands on try out. When you find a good one, it's a real keeper. The Taylors are more consistent in that area, but they're not a Martin.

– Richard Hudson

Everything Richard said is exactly what I was going to say. I would hold out for the right Martin. Taylors are fine guitars and overall they are more consistent but they don't sound like a great Martin.

The Guild suggestion is a good one too.

What do I know. My acoustic is a $250 Yamaha and I love the way it sounds and plays.

13

Except for the top end models, new guitars [from the top companies] aren't 'opened up' so finding 'the one' in that condition can make the search difficult. One a few years old will certainly be cheaper and if it's been played, not sitting in a case, will have opened up to some degree and give you a better idea if it's what you're after.

From what I see as far as quality for the money is concerned and Martin, Taylor & Gibson have a price point that drives a lot of sales in Yamaha's direction, especially for a first guitar. Rarely is a parent wealthy enough to take a flyer on a top end guitar when they aren't certain their child, right up through their teens, is going to stay with it. I've played many a Yamaha and find them great value for the money. And when playing in guitar stores, I've had quite a few people ask my opinion on a new guitar for their kids and Yamaha is my recommendation. There are a few makers in the same price range but for me, Yamaha has a plethora of models to suit most tastes and great QC.

Martins, due to their price point in particular, tend to sit in stores so rusty strings is no surprise. Some high end stores such as Blue Dog in North Vancouver stock several brands that compete in all regards with Martin and they sell a lot of guitars. Their list of makers is impressive including fine used instruments and they ship worldwide. You might investigate a similar store near you and consider other brands, at least compare them to the Martin sound you have in your head.

14

I only tried one Martin Dread Jr. and I was really impressed. Perhaps I stumbled on a good one, sad to say. But thanks for posting as I won't order one online without a return policy. The Dread Jr.s are made in Mexico FWIW.

15

I've definitely tried not to be a brand snob this time around. I tried quite a few Yamaha guitars and they felt very solid to me, although the folk guitar didn't have the sound I was looking for.

My dad has a Guild he's owned since the 1980s. It's a beautiful big Dreadnought, gorgeous tone. Just too big for me to be comfortable while playing. I've looked for Guilds in my travels, but they don't seem to be popular around here. I'm hoping trying a new area may fix that.

I'm open to ordering a Martin online, as I've bought guitars online before and had a good experience doing so. I guess I'm just concerned I'd order one, set it up, and not like something about the sound or have neck/fret issues. You'd think that Martin design and solid wood would be the way to go, but I can't shake how consistent every Taylor I've played has been.

16

I have had my Guild D-50 since I graduated high school and it is a great guitar. Last year my wife bought me a new Martin CEO-7 which is an amazing guitar. You should try the CEO-7 if you get a chance, my wife got mine for 1900.00 and no tax. Thanks john

17

You usually need to play a few Martins to get the right one. Taylors are more consistent. Both are great.

That said, if you’re not into higher end guitars there are fabulous deals from smaller brands. One person mentioned the well regarded Eastman. I find you’d be hard pressed to beat the value on a used Larrivee.

18

I admit to an anti Taylor bias.. still just get a post 1986 Martin with an adjustable truss rod.

Selling my 2005 Martin D-1 which is loud as all getout and maybe more bass response than my 70s D-18

$700 shipped w/ NOHSC . I think they are a remarkable bargain for a US made Martin D size.

19

Taylor's are pretty much untouched by human hands during the build process, because of this they are very consistent in playability and tone.

Martin's are all over the place, some phenomenal and some sound like cardboard.

Some Martin's have bolt on necks on the lower end and all Taylor's are bolt and Allen screwed together.

The absolute best acoustic guitar I've played is a 1965 Gibson B-25 and they're out there for a little over 1K.

Robin Ford thinks they're cool.

20
  1. Martin
  2. Guild
  3. Gibson/Epiphone
  4. Taylor
21

Never cared much for Martins, I tend to like higher end Takamines. Mine has a neck that's slick as warm butter! After that I prefer older ones. Love my Gretsch Syncromatic,

22

I like the Martin but also found them inconsistent new. I have both but my Taylor 414ce is my #1.

23

This is on the lower end of the scale, but at an open mic a guy was playing and Epiphone Masterbuilt that sounded terrific. Around $650.

24

Just a nod to DCBirdman who is selling an '05 Martin D-1. I had a D-1 and they are great guitars. The D-1 was Martin's first "affordable" solid wood, made in Nazareth, PA guitar. Martin hit it out of the park with that first generation of D-1's. They were made with the same pristine workmanship as any high end Martin, can be set up to play like butter, and sound as good as any D-18. The tone is complex, articulate, and loud. The D-1's don't have a lot of fancy cosmetics, but they look very nice in a tasteful understated way with the best looking satin lacquer finish I've ever seen (the back of necks over time turn into a great feeling smooth semi-gloss just like a high end Martin).

25

Just a nod to DCBirdman who is selling an '05 Martin D-1. I had a D-1 and they are great guitars. The D-1 was Martin's first "affordable" solid wood, made in Nazareth, PA guitar. Martin hit it out of the park with that first generation of D-1's. They were made with the same pristine workmanship as any high end Martin, can be set up to play like butter, and sound as good as any D-18. The tone is complex, articulate, and loud. The D-1's don't have a lot of fancy cosmetics, but they look very nice in a tasteful understated way with the best looking satin lacquer finish I've ever seen (the back of necks over time turn into a great feeling smooth semi-gloss just like a high end Martin).

– Gretschadelphia

Mine turns out is s 2005.. not sure if earlier from 90s is better. Only reason selling is I came unexpectedly into a 70s D-18 with some area provenance/former ownership. I think for $500 w/ gig bag, $550 with non orig hard case it'a steal. Thin neck lo action. Gotta have 12s tho... anything lighter all bets are off on sound.


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