Entry Level Martin Guitars?

Randy99CL

Country Gent
Feb 17, 2020
2,110
Albuquerque
Just noticed that MF has a few Martin guitars on sale. I hadn't looked at them before, I didn't know you could buy a Martin for less than $500.
Question: How would these two Martins compare to similar Fender or Yamaha or others.
MIM, I would expect them to be of high quality. If I were buying another brand I'd pick one selling for less but the name is worth a lot to me.

I know there are a million import guitars in this price range, are there others that may be obviously a better value giving more for the money?
TIA
 

Emergence

Gretschie
May 25, 2022
396
New York
For $799 you can get an all solid wood Martin with a sitka spruce top on sale. The finish is satin. A little polish may bring spruce up its appearance. Personally, for under $1000, I'd look for a higher level used guitar. You'll need a little patience but your search may be rewarding. If you have the discipline to save while you search, you may end up with something very nice.
 

dspellman

Gretschie
Jul 4, 2020
314
Los Angeles
Just noticed that MF has a few Martin guitars on sale. I hadn't looked at them before, I didn't know you could buy a Martin for less than $500.
Question: How would these two Martins compare to similar Fender or Yamaha or others.
MIM, I would expect them to be of high quality. If I were buying another brand I'd pick one selling for less but the name is worth a lot to me.
Nope. My perception is that I'd rather have a similarly priced offshore brand (Yamaha, Seagull, etc.) than a cheap Martin. The name doesn't mean a thing to me if the guitar it's on is a CPOS. It mostly will NOT be "of high quality." I have an 814ce Taylor and a '67 Martin D35. I wouldn't touch a cheap Taylor or Martin. Instead, I have a cheap Yamaha, and it's a better guitar than anything near the same price from the other two brands. Don't be blinded by the logo.
 

thunder58

Super Moderator
Staff member
Dec 23, 2010
26,671
tappan ny
MIM, I would expect them to be of high quality.
And they are .... I was on the factory tour ( for the 4th time ) a few years back . Martin puts the same quality control standards in Mexico as they do in Nazareth . Even geographical location was important to them when looking for a location at the time . My D-13e is MIM and it's a great guitar . ( of course my HD-35 and my D12-28 are in a class all themselves ) ...But back to MIM , those guitars are great deals . When it come's to a Martin I always like to buy new due to the lifetime warrantee ( you must register , on the web sight , then you'll receive the paperwork )
But like anything else , go to a local store and try if it's available . Keep me posted
 
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WillyW

Electromatic
May 3, 2022
70
ABQ
My $300 7ender Sonoran and $160 Gretsch Jim Dandy had the cheap martins beat.

my j-45 has every other martin beat.
 

Pine Apple Slim

Country Gent
Dec 14, 2011
1,907
North Alabama
I havnt played the MIMs. I wouldn't be afraid to try the Special D or 000 but honestly I wouldn't expect anything greater than any other new $800 box..
Historically I have not been impressed with anything under the 18 series other than the 15s which are great but a bit one dimensional. Still Id love to have a D15 12 fret with the slotted headstock.
16s, DMs, Road series, were just kinda meh to me, ok but nothing spectacular.
The cheaper laminate/composite ones were not good at all in my opinion, loud like a Martin yea but the tone was harsh and brittle IMO.
But personally if I was looking for a Martin as my main acoustic I wouldn't settle for anything under a D18 in a dread or 000-28 in a smaller body.
 
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Pine Apple Slim

Country Gent
Dec 14, 2011
1,907
North Alabama
If I was you I'd look at the higher end Eastmans. A buddy of mine has a 000-28 Eastman that's a real cannon. A 000-28 Clapton model at half the price. Very good guitar with a sweet tone and a volume that will hang with my old D28.
 

radd

Friend of Fred
Dec 27, 2017
5,835
Santa Cruz
If I was you I'd look at the higher end Eastmans. A buddy of mine has a 000-28 Eastman that's a real cannon. A 000-28 Clapton model at half the price. Very good guitar with a sweet tone and a volume that will hang with my old D28.

Eastmans are beautifully made instruments, I’ve owned 4 or 5, one somewhat higher end Dreadnought. the dread played great and was a cannon but the tone did not compare favorably to the Guild D40 or J45 I had or the D18 I have now that beat them all……to my ears.
 

TSims1

Gretschified
Jun 18, 2013
12,525
Atlanta
You know about guitars so nothing revelatory to add other than you typically are not going to get a great guitar at the bottom end of a manufacturers lineup. You may get a guitar that plays okay and sounds okay. Lower end Martins are just eh. Especially the low low end. Personally I’d pass.
 

TSims1

Gretschified
Jun 18, 2013
12,525
Atlanta
And up n up it goes. For instance the Eastmans referenced above. Nice guitars for the money. Really nice even. But a good Martin sounds better. And I’ll put on my flame suit here and say a good boutique acoustic sounds even better than a Martin when you get into that upper echelon, which is how I wound up with a Collings that would steal your heart forever were you to strum her once. I went out to buy a parlor Martin, and wound up forking over some more $K’s to get a Collings. And it was worth every cent.
 

thunder58

Super Moderator
Staff member
Dec 23, 2010
26,671
tappan ny
say a good boutique acoustic sounds even better than a Martin when you get into that upper echelon
Oh I agree too . Have you ever heard a Bourgeois Guitar . Josh Turner of " Rhonda Vincent and The Rage " fame plays one . Sounds incredible and made in Maine . And I know your familiar with Maton Too Tony
 

TSims1

Gretschified
Jun 18, 2013
12,525
Atlanta
Oh I agree too . Have you ever heard a Bourgeois Guitar . Josh Turner of " Rhonda Vincent and The Rage " fame plays one . Sounds incredible and made in Maine . And I know your familiar with Maton Too Tony

Oh yeah. I actually have a one-off NAMM show special sitting in my studio right now from Bourgeois. My friend bought it the same week I bought my Collings. I’ll try to post a pic, it’s really something to see.
 

radd

Friend of Fred
Dec 27, 2017
5,835
Santa Cruz
And up n up it goes. For instance the Eastmans referenced above. Nice guitars for the money. Really nice even. But a good Martin sounds better. And I’ll put on my flame suit here and say a good boutique acoustic sounds even better than a Martin when you get into that upper echelon, which is how I wound up with a Collings that would steal your heart forever were you to strum her once. I went out to buy a parlor Martin, and wound up forking over some more $K’s to get a Collings. And it was worth every cent.

I don’t doubt that guitars such a Collings are a cut above Martins.

I was going to say that Collings guitars are out of my budget, but truth be told that budget limit is a self imposed one, not based on my finances. I feel that my Martin D18 exceeds my skills all ready.
 


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