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FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / New Custom Martin incoming...

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reverend mikey
Contributing Member
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N of I-90, E of I-29

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Nov 1st, 2018 12:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

I just heard from my dealer that my Custom Shop Martin J-18 arrived today! I'll be picking it up on Monday (I live 3 1/2 hours away) - can hardly wait, but we already had a trip planned to be in town Monday, so that works out great.

Here are the specs:
0000/J body size
18 series specs (5/6 grade Sitka top, 3/4 grade Mahogany back/sides, tortoise binding)
Enlarged soundhole
No pickguard
Rosewood bridge (w/ebony fret board)

They're installing a K&K Mini pickup for me.

I originally ordered this guitar about a year ago (actually in Dec. '17). We found out in June (when it should have been close to being finished) that the Martin regional sales rep never placed the order! He had archived the dealer's e-mail before ordering it, then forgot about it.

So, I decided I still really wanted this guitar with these specs, so we reordered in late June/early July. This time they must've put a bit of a rush on it (as they should!), finishing it in @ 4 months rather than the typical 6 right now.

I'll post a full review and more pics when it arrives next week!

Pic from the factory a few weeks ago waiting for the bridge to go on

reverend mikey
Contributing Member
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N of I-90, E of I-29

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Nov 1st, 2018 12:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

...and the

back...

Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

Buy your virtue signal here
Nov 1st, 2018 12:56 PM   Edit   Profile  

Hope it plays as good as it looks!

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Nov 2nd, 2018 05:19 AM   Edit   Profile  

I've never played a Martin J. Awesome guitar, though.

What neck shape did you order?

reverend mikey
Contributing Member
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N of I-90, E of I-29

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Nov 2nd, 2018 08:19 AM   Edit   Profile  

I stuck with what they're currently using on standard models, 1 3/4" nut and Modified Low Oval, but it has the Standard Taper up the neck rather than Artist Taper, because I have the saddle string spacing wider at 2 5/16" (not 2 5/32"), so the neck taper has to be larger - which is fine with me.

I had a 2012 D-18 with this exact nut width and shape, and it worked well for me, very comfortable. But I can get along with a fairly wide variety of neck shapes - other than hard V, like on some Martins and older Ovations.

Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

Buy your virtue signal here
Nov 2nd, 2018 01:09 PM   Edit   Profile  

The reason I never order custom guitars is that I just don't have strong enough specific preferences that require a custom shop guitar.

When Fender came on as a sponsor all those years ago, they offered me a Custom Shop guitar and I asked for two small changes to a standard NOS '56 Strat, an ash body instead of alder and a flamey neck. I didn't care about the pups past whatever was stock.

(This message was last edited by Chris Greene at 03:10 PM, Nov 2nd, 2018)

reverend mikey
Contributing Member
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N of I-90, E of I-29

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Nov 2nd, 2018 04:25 PM   Edit   Profile  

I hear you, Chris - plenty of good choices in stock models (of which I already have two from Martin; a D-35 and a 000-15sm, and another one coming, a J-40).

I ordered this custom because there was a signature guitar that was a limited edition and no longer available - I loved the specs and tone (but not all the cosmetics and specs), so I went the custom route to try to build something sonically similar.

Martin JDP II

Chris Greene
FDP Host

Idaho, USA

Buy your virtue signal here
Nov 2nd, 2018 05:43 PM   Edit   Profile  

Nice

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Nov 5th, 2018 09:41 AM   Edit   Profile  

**Ragtop taps foot impatiently while waiting for report & photo from rev mikey**

Foggy1
Contributing Member
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SC

So, so you think you can tell?
Nov 5th, 2018 09:48 AM   Edit   Profile  

**Ragtop taps foot impatiently while waiting for report & photo from rev mikey**

I'll 2nd that!


Viera
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Nov 5th, 2018 10:22 AM   Edit   Profile  

rev mikey has been too busy playing his new J-18.

reverend mikey
Contributing Member
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N of I-90, E of I-29

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Nov 7th, 2018 05:37 PM   Edit   Profile  

Yep!

Guitar is now home with me, so I've had time to play it a little more, and take a few more pics.

Here's a quick review:

First of all... was it worth the nearly one year wait?

Oh, YEAH. Nice, nice, nice. Simple (as you'll see in profile pics), but looks, feels, plays and already sounds great. I'm impressed.

It's a Martin Jumbo body, with 18 style specs with a few changes to try to grab the big tone of the JDP II. So it has a rosewood bridge, 2 5/16" string spacing), and a large soundhole. I had the shop install a K&K Pure Mini and that also sounds excellent.

There's beautiful silking in the Sitka top, very even consistent grain lines and absolutely NO sign of run-out. The Mahogany b/s are perfectly straight grained, which I think looks perfect. No blems, knots or unusual grain patterns anywhere (body OR neck).

Other stuff: looks like it has a 1 piece neck, no wings that I can see. Also noticed that the bridge pins line up with the belly bridge body, not the saddle like on the Reimagined guitars. CF Martin branded tuners - anyone know who makes these? They're fine, but I may put on a set of Schaller Grandtunes that I ordered a while back.

When I picked this up, I sat in the shop for 2-3 hours (while my wife shopped elsewhere!) and just played it (unplugged mostly, but then plugged in for awhile through a Fishman Loudbox - very natural sounds straight into the amp). Then I compared it to 6-8 Martins hanging on the wall, everything from an HD-28, D-28, Model America 1, to a couple OM sized Custom Shop guitars with maple b/s, to an M-36. It held it's own up against all of these - slightly different tones, sure, but nothing really bested it (some of those guitars needed new strings, though)!

Speaking of strings, it came with the new Martin MA550T treated medium gauge strings, and they sound BIG, clean, rich, and natural. I'll be trying some of the MA545 Med-Light strings, and also the Monel Retros, but these do sound and feel good to me.

Set up was excellent - I asked the tech (Rich) who put the pickup in if he did anything to the nut slots - he said he couldn't remember (he'd worked on it before the weekend). If it came set up this way from Martin, it's the best set up I've received from them so far. If I was going to play loud bluegrass on it, I'd have to raise the set up some, but for what I play, even with some occasional aggressive strumming, it holds up well.

Okay, enough talk - time for a few

pics... (more in profile)

Viera
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Nov 7th, 2018 06:38 PM   Edit   Profile  

I like it, a lot. I've always preferred the simple yet elegant looks of the 18 Series. How does it compare in both feel and sound to a dread?

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Nov 7th, 2018 09:05 PM   Edit   Profile  

Ok, fine, nice guitar. But I hope you went up the street to Runza while you were there?


:)

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Well ya go to a bar

on a Friday evenin'...
Nov 7th, 2018 09:14 PM   Edit   Profile  

NICE guitar! Dang!

reverend mikey
Contributing Member
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N of I-90, E of I-29

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Nov 8th, 2018 10:15 AM   Edit   Profile  

"Ok, fine, nice guitar. But I hope you went up the street to Runza while you were there?"

LOL! Actually, we tried to meet our son at Runza at 168th & Dodge for lunch on Tuesday... pulled into their parking lot, and they were closed for remodeling! Bummer! We were SO looking forward to eating there (my wife loves the "Frings" - I actually like the Spicy Asian Runza when they have it).

We "settled" for Subway (trying to eat healthy), because we didn't all have time to drive all the way to Maple Street to the Runza there...

...BUT a couple weeks ago we went to the Nebraska/Minnesota football game, and after the game we stopped in Omaha on our way back to MN and ate at the Runza on 108th & Maple (they honored our "free" Runza coupons from the game - another Runza we stopped at didn't!).

So yeah - Runza! YUM!!!

(This message was last edited by reverend mikey at 12:16 PM, Nov 8th, 2018)

reverend mikey
Contributing Member
**********
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N of I-90, E of I-29

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Nov 8th, 2018 10:19 AM   Edit   Profile  

"How does it compare in both feel and sound to a dread?"

I think it has comparable bass to a hog dread, but it's also strong on the other strings, so it still sounds very balanced - I'm impressed, and it just seems to sound better with every hour of play time. I think the Jumbo/Dread body depth really helps with the bass compared to the standard 0000 body, which is OM depth...

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Nov 8th, 2018 04:01 PM   Edit   Profile  

You can't beat a nice Martin Sitka spruce top. The one on my 00-18V is just stunning. And I prefer the sitka to Adi, as the tone is a bit softer, generally.

I was in Omaha for 5 days, stopped at Runza in Holdrege while en route and 3 other locations while in town. Man, I miss that place!

Viera
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Nov 8th, 2018 07:42 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks rev. I've never played a Martin 0000 nor J. I might just have to give one a try.



6L6
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San Francisco, CA

Nov 9th, 2018 09:09 AM   Edit   Profile  

Looks like a great guitar will soon be in your hands!

I too have a Custom Martin on order and it's due in December. Mine is basically a "Pre-Reimagined" D-42. In other words, I ordered a D-42 like Chris's (Mod V neck, 1 11/16" nut, ivoroid binding).

Can't wait!

6

(This message was last edited by 6L6 at 11:10 AM, Nov 9th, 2018)

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FDP Forum / FDP Unplugged - Acoustic Instruments / New Custom Martin incoming...




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