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Martin D-18E vs. Gibson J-50

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by Billy Moss, Dec 10, 2017.

Which guitar would you rather have?

  1. Martin D-18E

    73.1%
  2. Gibson J-50

    26.9%
  1. emmaporkchop

    emmaporkchop Supporting Member

    Messages:
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    Nov 30, 2010
    I'm biased with my vote since I own a '64 J50, incredible sounding guitar. I have nothing against Martins, I've just never played one that I was comfortable with.
     
  2. Bluedano1

    Bluedano1 Member

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    Aug 27, 2009
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    Manassas, VA (Wash.D.C. suburb)
    I must be lucky!
    23 years with a ( now) well played-in Martin that sounds great ( not perfect, I've played brighter, louder- mine is warmer but still cuts through) and has just been as comfy as a flannel shirt ( I forget what the neck profile is called, modified or low oval? but it has always been a great fit, Medium/low action as well)
     
    alexanderplatz likes this.
  3. blujaz1

    blujaz1 Supporting Member

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    Sep 22, 2008
    Location:
    Tucson
    Not much help on this one because I feel they're 2 totally different guitars. No real baseline for comparison. I like the newer necks on the D-18s and they sound like a Martin should sound. They seem consistent in their sound and build quality. I'm happy with my '54 J-50 in every way so I'm biased but wouldn't discourage anyone from getting the D-18. Both are very versatile and can be used in a variety of musical endeavors. One of each maybe?
     
  4. MikeVB

    MikeVB Supporting Member

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    Location:
    Leesburg, GA
    D-18 just because every recently built Gibson I've played weighed as much as a Mini Cooper. Now a good 40s or 50s Gibson J45/50 is a marvel to behold and play.
     
    Bluedano1 likes this.
  5. Bluedano1

    Bluedano1 Member

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    Even though I've been playing a long time, most of it has been just playing the few guitars I have owned; and just briefly in music stores ' window shopping' ( no intention to buy) so not in a critical ( buying) mode...

    So last year I was lucky enough to go to a private dealer ( home dealer, me just tagging along with a buddy that had guitars, perhaps, to sell...) and the guy had two J-45's: a '50 and '51 both what I'd call 'tobacco sunburst' , featherlight, but did not feel delicate- more like " PLAY ME!!' -Warm resonant- kind of that muted thump+ plus brilliance on the high strings. They sounded and felt so good -really comfy players.

    This year- it was trying out '53 and '57 ( plus newer) D-18's at Bluegrass Jams-
    Very well- balanced tonally and very nice necks and moderate/easy action

    Love 'em all! Win Win on either! ( albeit these were old guitars)
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
    MikeVB likes this.
  6. Axis29

    Axis29 Supporting Member

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    Location:
    Falmouth, Va
    I'm not a Martin guy. I've tried to be. I've played a bunch of them and some I do like, kinda. They're good players, and sound decent, but not quite my sound. I worked for a Martin dealer and liked a lot of the guitars we sold. But, never enough to truly fall in love with any that weren't waaaay outside my price range (Custom Shops and CEOs, especially).

    I'll be honest, I am a Blues guy. I don't do Bluegrass, I am not a singer song writer kinda guy either. I like the smaller bodied, 12 fret guitars with wide necks/nuts. I also like big, thick necks and deep V's.

    I own a Gibson Keb Mo Bluesmaster. It's not anything like either of the guitars you've listed... I've never played a modern J50, either. One of my favorite guitars at the dealer I mentioned earlier (They have a huge inventory of vintage Gibsons and Martins) was a '48 J-50. What a spectacular instrument it is!

    As for the two particular guitars you posted... I gotta be honest, as much of a Gibson guy as I am, I don't like the really orange color of that mahogany. I have a newer Gold Top with that color on the back... It's pretty, but I kinda like the darker 'hog.

    Bottom line though, is you may have to play them both to see.
     
  7. photoguy

    photoguy Member

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    Everybody's gotta be somewhere.
    If the new J50 is anything like my old J50, it would be pretty hard to beat for tone and playability.
    When I bought mine 25 years ago, it was a mess-needed a neck reset, fretjob, and there was a crack at the headstock. On a leap of faith I put the necessary money into repairing it. I figured that the old guitar deserved it. I took a gamble and feel like I won the lottery with it.
     
  8. rmconner80

    rmconner80 Cantankerous Luddite Silver Supporting Member

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    Clifton, VA
    If that's one of the 2016 J50s with the wide x bracing, the one I have is KILLER!
     
  9. Bobbybigbucks

    Bobbybigbucks Member

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    The Martin, because I'm a fanboi.
     
  10. alexanderplatz

    alexanderplatz Member

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    Dec 11, 2008
    IMO you can't really select a guitar based entirely on the make and the model. They're not like automobiles. Of course you can seek out a guitar based on the reputation of the manufacturer or luthier, and a particular model based on its specs, but until you hold it and play it and hear it you won't know if that particular guitar will be inspiring to play. Sometimes a Martin or a Gibson will be a dud, and sometimes a budget guitar like a Recording King or a Blueridge or whatever will turn out to be a gem.
     

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