Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Martin 000X1AE

I’m currently on the hunt for a quality guitar to use for bluegrass and general folk style situations like shows and such. I got to play on the Martin 000 owned by Laurens Joenson (multi-instrumentalist currently touring with Chris Simpson of Magna Carta) and I must say, it was one of the nicest feeling guitars I’ve ever held. What are your thoughts on this model guitar? I can’t spend more than about R6500 (South African Rand) which adds up to about $800. Any other suggestions?

The biggest thing is play as many guitars as you can before buying in order to help find the right one. I love Martin 000 guitars. They are really comfortable and they have a pleasing tone. For sitting around casually playing on the sofa, they are about my favorite. If you want a Martin 000 in the price range you are looking for, you might try to find a 000-1 on the used market. I see them from time to time for around $500 in good shape. They are all solid woods except for the sides (which are laminated). I bought one for my mother in law years ago. When I bought it, I compared it with the standard 000-18 and sound wise, they were pretty close. The biggest difference (other than laminated sides) is the finish is matte instead of polished. My mother in law’s has become a really sweet sounding guitar.

As far as a guitar for BG and Folk Jams, if you want to have volume to compete, you might be better served by a larger bodied guitar such as a dreadnaught. There are a bunch of makers now making incredible guitars in your price range. Eastman and Recording King make all solid wood guitars that are available in that range (at least here they are). If I were buying a guitar in that range for that purpose, that’s exactly what I would be investigating. The E10Ds are pretty nice ( Check other forum posts for more options, I feel like I am missing a few. If he doesn’t respond here, I’d try to pick drGuitar’s brain a bit. He has some really nice value guitars (as well as some nice more expensive types). A Taylor 110 is also a good guitar in that range.

With all that said, it comes down to what works for you. Get something you love and that’s the most important thing. The guy or gal that sounds best at a jam is not generally going to be defined by playing the “right” instrument. I’ve got friends that sound better on a “beginner” guitar than I do playing whatever great thing I might be able to get my hands on.

By the way, I don’t want to talk you out of the 000. I have played an OM (very similar to a 000) quite a bit in groups and I can make myself heard. A dread is louder, but the OM still cuts well. Eastman also makes OM sized guitars. I haven’t played them, but they look great on paper. If they are as good as their dreadnaughts, that might be something worth considering. If you really like the comfort of the 000, but want a bit more volume, I am a fan of 0000 guitars. They can do just about anything you want.

Hi mreisz.

Man oh man! Thank you so much for all your input. I will be checking out every option I can. Thanks for the links and other manufacturer suggestions. I haven’t even heard of them! I haven’t settled on anything yet luckily, because I do tend to change my mind quite often! XD I feel so bad replying with such a short message, but I really appreciate all your input.

Thanks again!

I found a previous topic that I thought you might find interesting. If you look about half way down the 4th page of the topic one of the forum members (drguitar) does a sound comparison between some guitars. There are inexpensive and expensive guitars. One manufacturer I was trying to remember but didn’t is BlueRidge.

Hi again!
Thanks for the link! I see the Blueridge guitars are quite good value for money. I’m going to be checking out some reviews on them and also audio samples of each. It seems I’ll only be able to get one here in South Africa if I order online. So I’ll have to do a lot of listening and judging from what I find on the net.

Thanks so much once more

So I decided to go for the Martin 000. I spoke to the sound technician at a musical I’m playing guitar for and he told me that he deals with the company who imports Martin guitars in South Africa. The great thing was, he helped me get it at cost price!!! It ended up being R5500 ZAR ($630) instead of R7900 ($900). So I’m pretty happy!

Awesome! That’s sounds like a great deal. Let us know how you like it!

So I finally got the guitar! It’s the one in my avatar. I’m in love with it! The guitar really projects. It doesn’t have all the low end of say dreadnought styled guitars, but the tone is absolutely beautiful. Extremely versatile instrument. So all in all, I’m very happy

Sweet! That’s a great looking guitar.

Congrats on the new guitar Hugo!

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Congrats on the new guitar Hugo!

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Thanks mate!