Mudcat Café message #187396 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #18723   Message #187396
Posted By: Whistle Stop
01-Mar-00 - 08:22 AM
Thread Name: Martin M-38 - Thoughts, Impressions
Subject: RE: Martin M-38 - Thoughts, Impressions
You're talking about a nice instrument. Dan (Liam's brother)has already said most of what I was going to say. I used to own an M-36 (the three-piece back version, with somewhat less binding) back in the early-mid 1980's, and of the many guitars I have owned, it is the one I am most sorry that I didn't hang onto. It was also a 1980, and the truss rod was not adjustable or accessable. The body size and shape was perfect, to my way of thinking: large lower bout, tighter waist than a dreadnought, shallower than a dreadnought. It had that great Martin sound, with more bass than a 000 style but not quite as boomy as a dreadnought, and I found the body style very comfortable to play, sitting or standing. I played everything on it -- from bluegrass strumming to Celtic-style fingerpicking -- and it handled all nicely. I played it with light strings; I'm sure it would have responded very well to mediums (whether my fingers would have responded as well is another matter).

David Bromberg participated in the design of the M-36/38. I believe the first one was made out of the back and sides of an old Martin archtop; the top was replaced with a flat top, the neck was reset, and there it was. I saw Bromberg playing his trusty 38 in an all-acoustic show in the early 1980's, and he was all over it (no surprise there; great musician). Dan is right about the color of the top being less than ideal; they used some kind of tinted "aging toner" (I hate it when they do that!), and on some models it looks pretty close to Halloween orange, at least to my eyes. But if you can get past that, it's a great guitar. Good luck.