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Discuss all things guitar related

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Postby SouthOzHedgesFan » Thu May 06, 2010 2:55 am

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Last edited by SouthOzHedgesFan on Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Barbara

Postby LowdenF24 » Thu May 06, 2010 8:05 pm

Back when I was ignorant and thought Martins were good guitars, I had a D16H (before 16s became a low end instrument and dropped the value of my instrument considerably), and all Martin literature said that the H stood for Herringbone. The only herringbone I could find on the instrument was along the back strip.

My impression is that the H stands more for "Martin can charge more" than for any visible clues.

Jeff
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Postby SouthOzHedgesFan » Fri May 07, 2010 7:03 pm

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Re: Barbara

Postby nylonstrunggirl » Sat May 08, 2010 6:36 pm

MH's "Barbara" was a plain old 71 d-28,. The same guitar he's pictured with playing as a child in John Stropes' book Rhythm Sonority Silence. Nothing special about it, other than the fact that he owned it. Martins built from 69-88 are some of the worst sounding guitars they built because of the oversize rosewood bridgeplates and heavy bracing.

Herringbone binding was used on style 21 and 28 martin guitars through 1947. Newer HD-28's are just d-28s with herringbone binding and scalloped rear shifted bracing. The bracing has a huge impact on the tonal differences of the guitar. Michael did not play one of these.

As a side note, pre-1945 Martins are a whole different animal, and there's a reason they sell well upwards of 5 figures. Martins today are exceptional guitars.

Barbara was in the car with him when he passed away. It survived the accident and is locked away with everything else he owned.
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Re: Barbara

Postby tinsmith » Sun May 09, 2010 7:52 am

That's what I want. A D-28 with as few frills as possible.
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Re: Barbara

Postby LowdenF24 » Sun May 09, 2010 9:19 am

Tin,

In today's market I think you are much better served spending the same amount of money and having a luthier build you a "no-frills" instrument to your requirements and design. The biggest problem with assembly line factory instruments is that attention is not paid to tuning each individual piece of wood. Instead they overbuild to a generic spec. Today's Martins are way overpriced based on the reputation of instruments built almost a century ago.

I'm a fan of Canadian luthiers such as Schwartz, Greenfield, Beneteau, and Irish luthier George Lowden. However, none of their instruments are "traditional" in my view. I'd suggest calling Tim McKnight whose instruments, while containing innovations inside (and all the other benefits of hand-crafting) look a bit more traditional - if that is the look you are after.

Jeff
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Re: Barbara

Postby tinsmith » Sun May 09, 2010 6:58 pm

Thanks Jeff.....the problem I have is mostly with things like binding & humidity related issues. I love my Guild, but it should be in humidor or something. I can't provide that right now just internal Planet Waves stuff....which saved it BTW.
There are many luthiers up here, so perhaps when it's time again, I'll give that a shot. A friend of mine has a good one in Newburyport MA.
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Postby SouthOzHedgesFan » Mon May 10, 2010 12:39 am

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Last edited by SouthOzHedgesFan on Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Barbara

Postby Badger » Tue May 11, 2010 9:02 am

Hello to all.
I think I can add a few things about Michaels guitar. I'm surprised no one else has done it sooner. Nylonstrunggirl is right about Barbara just being a straight d-28 and the x-bracing. I think an e-mail to a Martin dealer or a visit to their website can give you some specifics on the differences in tonality between hd-28 and d-28. As for Michaels guitar there were a few alterations that he made to it. If you look at his guitar you can see that the bridge has been routed out and a larger "intonated" saddle put in. Also, the three bridge pins on the low end strings are made of brass as is the nut. He also played nickel wound strings. There is also a matter of amplification but that is another matter for another thread.
Sound is a very subjective and for every 2 people, you get 5 opinions. I'll offer mine. Currently I play a custom martin constructed of d-45 grade tonewoods but missing all of the flashy ornamentation of a d-45 with the exception of a snowflake inlay on the fretboard. It looks like a d-28 only it has scalloped bracing. I have it set up as MH's guitar was. I made the alterations over time with my local luthier (John Gray in Washburn, Wisconsin) and tried several bridge pin materials over the course of a couple of years. It is my opinion that these alterations each make distinct and sometimes subtle changes to the instrument. When combined they add up to an interesting somewhat unique sound. I don't think it's for everyone but I like it. Hope this helps you on your journey.
Be well.
Badger
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Re: Barbara

Postby LowdenF24 » Sat May 15, 2010 12:33 pm

Now that you mention it, I do recall that my D-16H had scalloped and rear-shifted bracing. When I bought it, it was the closest thing I could find to Norman Blake's pre-war D-18.

Jeff
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