Mudcat Café message #843419 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #54478   Message #843419
Posted By: Don Firth
08-Dec-02 - 03:43 PM
Thread Name: Tech: The Aluminum Martin Guitar
Subject: RE: Tech: The Aluminum Martin Guitar
Hmm. Sounds to me like Martin has fallen on hard times.

My first really good guitar was a Martin 00-18 back in 1953 (my first guitar was a Regal, which I bought new for $9.95). I traded the 00-18 in on a 00-28-G when I started taking classic guitar lessons in 1955. Since I was banging around at the university, I also had a 00-18-G which I used as a second guitar. Very nice instruments. A few years later, someone introduced me to Spanish hand-made classics like Fernandez and Ramirez, and as good as the Martins were, these were a quantum jump in all-around quality and tone—and projection. But I've noticed that even there, things have gotten weird. At one time, if someone asked, "What is the best classic guitar?" it was a toss-up between a José Ramirez and an Ignacio Fleta. "What's the best American-made classic?" Unless you wanted to spend a bundle on a Manuel Velasquez (made in New York), the answer was "Martin 00-18-G." No longer. As far as I know, Fleta's aren't made anymore, and there are so many different models and levels of quality made under the Ramirez label now that I have no idea what the answer would be. In any discussion of classic guitars, Martin is no longer mentioned . When you lose sight of quality and go for the market, it's like Gresham's Law.

Most Martins I've seen made in recent years have been fairly consistently good, but—well—they just ain't makin' 'em like they used to. Were I to buy a steel-string nowadays, it would probably be a Taylor. Possibly a Larrivee

Just my opinion. . . .

Don Firth