Tone Tour Through Martin Guitars' Nashville Showroom
Recently, I was invited for a private visit to the Martin Guitars’ Nashville Showroom to check out some new guitar designs, try out some guitars… and basically drool at their beautiful collection of rare and high-end Martins!
Since the showroom isn’t open to the public, I wanted to share some of the experience with you & give you a chance to see some of these sexy guitars in action… and give you my first impressions of them.
Martin DX Johnny Cash Model
Before I take you into the Martin Showroom, the video above is an unboxing of my newest Martin guitar, the DX Johnny Cash Model. This model is based around the Dreadnought style body, and is essentially a more affordable version of the famous Johnny Cash Signature D-35. The DX is constructed from some incredibly complex and sweet-sounding laminate woods that Martin has developed over the years. It feels and sounds amazing, considering it’s around one-tenth the price of the D-35 Johnny Cash Model. This guitar is a songwriter’s dream, and is incredibly resilient to humidity, temperature, and road-trip wear & tear. How does it sound, you ask?… check out the video above! (spoiler alert: it sounds killer!)
Martin D-35 Johnny Cash Model
This is the real deal! This is the D-35 Johnny Cash Signature Model Martin… a tribute to Johnny’s personal custom Martin Dreadnought (which was the first ever black Martin guitar ever produced). Even though I have played hundreds of Martin acoustic guitars over the years, I was blown away the second I picked this baby up. The craftsmanship was impeccable and the sound was remarkably loud and balanced. Once I started strumming this guitar, I could literally hear the guitar’s sound bounding off the walls in the room… the tone of this guitar punches harder than any other acoustic I’ve played. Check out the video above to hear it as I try to conjure a bluesy train vibe with the finger slide.
Martin 000-42 Model
Oh yeah, now we are getting to my favorite model that Martin developed, the 000 (triple-oh). Martin 000 Model bodies are a little thinner than the dreadnoughts and the tone does not punch quite as hard as the dreadnought-style bodies, but I personally think the 000’s have a bluesier tone overall, and really excel for fingerpicking, and in the studio. The balance, tone, and feel of this 000 just makes it so damn easy to play, and you never feel like you are having to “force” the guitar to do what you want. Once I picked up this especially “blinged-out” 000–42, I couldn’t help but play some of that slow, country-style blues fingerpicking. This is the kind of guitar a doctor would prescribe you if you had high blood pressure, just to get you to chill out. Check the video out above to hear what I’m talking about.
Martin HD12-28 12-String Model
12-Strings can be hard to play, not just because you have to push down twice as many strings with your fingers, but because it can be tough for the guitar designer to fit all of the strings on the fretboard without making them too close together. Plus, the guitar has to be able to support twice the string tension without the guitar becoming over-braced, which chokes the tone and resonance. The main standout element of the Martin HD12-28 12-String was the balance of tone. The highs cut through nicely, without sounding brittle or thin, and the lows were present and strong, without getting muddy or “thumpy.” When I use the 12-string in the studio, it’s usually to double strumming 6-string parts, so the balanced tone is super important, so that the mix doesn’t get too tubby in the low-mids. This was also a very easy-to-fret 12-string, as the fretboard is wide enough to give you comfortable string spacing, while still feeling like a 6-string when you fret. Check out the video above to hear it in action, and hear my first impressions.
Thanks for taking this tour of some of Martin’s iconic models with me. Hope you enjoyed the sneak peek into their new Nashville showroom!
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