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

Previous 20 Messages  
reverend mikey
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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)

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Nov 9th, 2018 10:06 AM   Edit   Profile  

I did not know you could get a Mod V neck with a 1 11/16" nut; I just assumed it would have to be 1 3/4". Good to know.

That neck would be much like the neck on my '76 Yairi, which I like.

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

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Nov 10th, 2018 12:08 AM   Edit   Profile  

Ragtop - did you drive off of I-80 and go into Holdrege to eat at Runza? Or is it right on the interstate?

BTW, my best friend from college is from Holdrege. We still keep in touch (we were best man in each other's weddings). But he lives in Orlando, FL these days.

LOL. Hijacking my own thread...

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Nov 10th, 2018 04:26 AM   Edit   Profile  

Nope, I came down through Colorado Springs and then to I-70 into KS. Off the interstate at Colby, through Norton, up to Holdrege on Hwy 183.

The Runza there used to be a little tiny place, but I was surprised to find that it's been rebuilt into a great big place, shiny and new.

Back in the late '90s I was disgruntled with my job and looked into buying a Runza franchise. They liked me and I liked them, but I didn't have the $40k in cash that they required.

Too bad, it's a great company. I would have built mine in Elkhorn.

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Nov 10th, 2018 05:00 AM   Edit   Profile  

mikey, tell me about the Martin J body. Is it dreadnought-sized, but with a tighter waist?

Or is it all around bigger?

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

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Nov 10th, 2018 03:26 PM   Edit   Profile  

The J body is the 0000 size (one larger than 000/OM). Martin calls it the Grand Auditorium size.

Martin has two models that are 0000 size: the M model, which has 000/OM depth (the M-36 is this size body; they used to also sell the M-38) and the J model, which is the same outline (16" across the lower bout, so a little wider than a dread), but with dreadnought depth.

The only "J" currently in the Martin line is the J-40 (I have one of these on order as well - I'm nuts!). The Jumbo model, introduced in the '80's, was Chris Martin IV's brainstorm and baby.

They used to also sell the J-62 and J-65 (which were Jumbo's with maple backs and sides. These weren't as popular (although some folks loved them) and have been dropped from the line. One of these Maple J's used to have a cutaway, and an oval soundhole (and a fingerboard with 22 frets!).

Once in a while they would do a run of "J-18" guitars - a hog Jumbo, and a few stores (like Gruhn in Nashville) do regular runs of 0000/M and Jumbo 18's with Sinker Mahogany (around $1,000 upcharge over regular hog).

They've even done a 12 fret Jumbo (which looks strange but sounds beautiful - and it DOES look beautiful with the sunburst!).

Sorry - probably more info than anyone wanted...

Vince Gill with a 0000/M Sinker Mahogany Martin

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

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Nov 10th, 2018 03:32 PM   Edit   Profile  

Here's a sample of a J-40 (he starts actually playing the guitar around 1:15).

Eddie's Guitars in St. Louis

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

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Nov 10th, 2018 03:38 PM   Edit   Profile  

Here's another - a custom J in Adirondack and Mahogany - and short scale (24.9")! This thing sounds incredible though!

So many guitars, so little $$

He starts playing around 2:45

Ragtop
Contributing Member
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The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Nov 10th, 2018 04:12 PM   Edit   Profile  

Nope, not TMI, now I know. Thanks!

Man, that is one stunning guitar that VG is playing. Fabulous.

reverend mikey
Contributing Member
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***

N of I-90, E of I-29

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Nov 10th, 2018 10:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

Yeah, those are gas-inducing, but so it VG's playing!

Ragtop
Contributing Member
**********
********

The older the violin

the sweeter the music.
Nov 11th, 2018 03:49 AM   Edit   Profile  

I noticed that VG anchors his right hand with his pinky on the pick guard, and then plays with his thumb and middle finger.

I play EXACTLY the same way. Self-taught, don'tcha know.

The only difference is that he's Vince Gill and I'm not!

reverend mikey
Contributing Member
**********
***

N of I-90, E of I-29

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Nov 12th, 2018 10:24 AM   Edit   Profile  

"The only difference is that he's Vince Gill and I'm not!"

No kidding, right?!

Previous 20 Messages  

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




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