Santa Cruz or Martin?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by JackButler, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. JackButler

    JackButler Supporting Member

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    Well, It's about time to find a new acoustic, well I always buy used, but you know.
    I've had several old MArtins throughout the years, guilds, and one Taylor I loved. All gone. Now I have an old Yairi I love dearly but it has seen much better days.

    I am looking for a 00 or 000 style basically.

    I was thinking of maybe trying to check out a Clapton or Mayer sig model or similar, used they are in my price range.

    Now about 8 years ago I played the only Santa Cruz I have ever had the chance to play and it was a parlour guitar. W/o a doubt, the most amazing toned acoustic I think I ever enjoyed playing. If I would of had the $3.5k I would have bought it then and there.

    So, searching ebay, the OM SC's go for around $1500. How are these compared to a used Martin contemporary?
     
  2. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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    I bought my '59 Martin 0-15 for a song.
     
  3. Peppy

    Peppy Member

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    I own two Santa Cruz and one Martin. (The Martin is an old guitar though and is not comparable to the two Santa Cruz...it needs a bit of work.) Generally speaking...generally...in today's world I would take a Santa Cruz.
     
  4. dsl

    dsl Member

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    Martin 000-28H

    Elderly usually has one - Amazing Guitar.
     
  5. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    Santa Cruz makes guitars like Martin used to make: light and tonefull(Is that a word?) You can still find good Martins, but they are few and far between. With Santa Cruz, you get attention to details(like top voicing) that you won't see or hear in a Martin, unless you plunk down large $$. I sure wouldn't buy on ebay. Go out and experience these guitars first-hand.
     
  6. Lawn Jockey

    Lawn Jockey Member

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    I've never owned a SC. I have played several.

    I've owned several Martins. I don't anymore.

    The one thing that I noticed about the SC is consistency. All four I have had the pleasure of playing were stunning tonally.

    You may find that in a Martin, but you'll have to go through a few before you do.
     
  7. slipbeer

    slipbeer Supporting Member

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    I recently helped a friend go through the acoustic buying process and, by far, the nicest single guitar I played was a Santa Cruz. It just sang.

    We played alot of different brands in the $2500 to $3500 price range and the Santa Cruz really stood out.
     
  8. pedalcr8z

    pedalcr8z Supporting Member

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    (are you the Jack Butler that traded a Mini Z to me for a DRRI?)
    At 55 years old I have owned countless acoustic guitars.....many Martins, Taylors, Collings. I totally agree with everything discussed in this thread so far........Santa Cruz ALL seem to be consistent and while all Martins are good you di indeed have to sift through many examples to find one in the "consistent stunning" Santa Cruz league. The 000-28VS as one members mentioned is a Martin that for some reason they seemed to have paid attention to as it's a great guitar.
    Now, think of your comments regarding the Santa Cruz.........the one you played years ago still stands in your memory banks with stunning sound. Picture THAT guitar on mondo steroid injections and you have a Lowden. I have owned no fewer than 2 dozen acoustics and NOTHING I've ever played has the perfectly even string amplitude and clarity along with the most thunderous grand piano like basses that sustain forever like a Lowden. Each and every example I have touched hits me the same way, like a crystal clear CANNON! They will be very difficult to find as only a few hundred have been made in the last 5 years or so that George Lowden has re-appeared and taken over Lowden again..........(brief hiatus) but the payoff will be an instrument that you'll keep for life as my Lowden has permanently eliminated "acoustic gas".
    __________________[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  9. Tallhorses

    Tallhorses Member

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    +1000 I owned a Tony Rice for a while. Best D I ever played and wish I had it back. Richard Hoover is a great guy to boot. IF you call them you'll get the owner and builder on the phone. I picked up a dozen Martins that sounded dead compared to the TR. I'm not saying Martin doesn't put out a good guitar but play the Santa Cruz and you'll see/hear the difference.

    I also owned a 72 D-18 that had great tone & tons of Mojo but it was a bitch to play compared to the TR.
     
  10. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Supporting Member

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    I had a SCGC H13. Looked little, but felt and sounded big due to the Dred depth. Sounded very "boutique" but ultimately too "modern." Sorry if that doesn't help, it was more of a feel thing versus tone. In fact, the newer Martins also have that modern sound...let's just call it the Taylor sound. Shimmery highs, plenty of overtones, but where's the old time woody thump?

    So SCGC makes great modern guitars, but if you want that dry thumpy cannon, go get an older Martin or Gibson. As said above, the old 50's 0-17s or 0-18s can still be had for under $2k and they're bigger than their 0-size might portray. Great sounding smallboxes. Those Gibson LG smallbodies from the 50's/60's are nice and in the same range too.
     
  11. alanbass1

    alanbass1 Member

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    I've got a Martin OMJM and this is a real nice guitar and with the Englemann spruce top seems to be maturing quickly. I also had a 12 year OM28V which was extremely nice with a great sound, but I recently sold this as I had no need for two OM28 style guitars. I also had a Santa Cruz OM/PW about six years ago but I never bonded with it and ended up selling it as, although close in sound to the Martin's I own/have owned, I felt the mid range was a little lacking for my tastes - a little scooped which might really appeal to others.

    I'm guessing I'm more in tune with the Martin presentation but you need to play and compare the two to see which you prefer before making a decision.
     
  12. geetarboy

    geetarboy Member

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    When you get to the level of high-end Martin's and Santa Cruz's, they're all great guitars and it comes down to playing examples and finding one that fits you. IMO, the Martin OM28 Marquis is a fantastic guitar and would be my choice, but you really need to play them.
     
  13. Peppy

    Peppy Member

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    Then again a Santa Cruz D, D/PW or Tony Rice will get you "that dry thumpy cannon" as well.
     
  14. Tallhorses

    Tallhorses Member

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    Word... That TR is a monster! SC builds guitars like Martin used to. Mom and pop small shop...attention to detail...

    I'm usually a traditionalist when it comes to guitars. Most of my electrics were Gibson or Fender with a PRS or two. Tried Suhrs...sold them. When it comes to acoustics the small builders offer so much better quality and attention to detail. Right now I'm playing a Froggy Bottom D. Micheal and Andy only put out about 100 guitars a year... They care about quality not quantity. Same goes for SC. if I could buy my Tony Rice back I would (If I could still afford it!) Prices continue to rise!
     
  15. davess23

    davess23 Member

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    There are great Martins out there, and great Santa Cruzes.

    That said, since you're looking for a 00 or 000, I'd go for a good Cruz. Martin virtually stopped making their small bodied guitars for a long time in the 70's and 80's. The reason they got back into it is that makers like Richard Hoover and Bill Collings were making money building their own versions of the old Martin designs when Martin wouldn't or couldn't. In effect, Santa Cruz has been building old Martins longer than the current incarnation of Martin has, and in my opinion their small bodies are pretty damn hard to beat.

    I used to be a Martin guy, but for the past dozen years I've owned a German/Brazilian custom Santa Cruz OM that sounds more like a good vintage Martin than the newer Martins I've played.
     
  16. 70s Rocker

    70s Rocker Overdriven Member Silver Supporting Member

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    + a BUNCH on the Lowden
    Years ago, I went to buy a Taylor and ended up with my prize Lowden. It sat in the case for a number of years until GuitarsFromMars told me I should be playing more acoustic. I started played a 314 Taylor at church because I didn't want the Lowden to sit in my car when we went out to lunch.

    Years ago, I was accompanying a soloist with just my Lowden in a very large building (church). For some reason, my mic went dead and I just played the thing as LOUD as I could. Over 1,000 folks and they heard it in the back (even with the soloist's mic working). Few acoustics could do that.
     
  17. Csgband

    Csgband Member

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    I have owned lots of Collings, Santa Cruz. Goodall, Lowden and Martins and for me Dana Bourgeois win. While I still own collings and love them the Bourgeois's play best without feeling too modern. The quality is fantastic and the price very fare.
    Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
    Chris
     
  18. mkolesa@mac.com

    mkolesa@mac.com Member

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    i'll add my vote for the sc... at the price point you're talking you really should try to hear the sc om-pw... it's really about the best i've heard in that ballpark.
     
  19. lchyi

    lchyi Member

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    I can't comment on 00 or 000 style guitars but for my 2 cents, I'd like to say that Santa Cruz makes much better D-style guitars than their Martin counterparts. The top voicing, as it has been said in this thread already, seems to be much more consistent and vibrant than Martins. Every Santa Cruz I played was very well balanced and IMO tonally superior to their Martin counterpart.

    After playing 40-50 Martins at Buffalo Brothers (remember, trying out guitars, so a few short chords, nothing in depth) ranging from $800-$25,000, only one or two really spoke to me when I strummed and played it. Out of the 5-7 SCs there, I think I liked every single one, especially the Vintage Artist I took home.

    But practically, after trying to pick the perfect $2000-3000 ranged acoustic for a couple years now (on my third), I've found that you should just get yourself to a great store and try the SCs and the Martins side by side and just pick the one you like best because it seems like different guitars speak to different people. I've played a lot of acoustics that people hate but I love and vice versa.
     
  20. royd

    royd Member

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    How did you narrow the field to Martin and SCGC? Is it a particular sound that you're looking for? Price point? Style of construction? And why the 00 or 000 size? Again is it a certain sound, a comfort issue, or is it just a look?

    Personally, I think the smaller shops (about 500 guitars a year) build more consistently great guitars than the large scale manufacturers like Martin and Taylor. The smaller shops are just able to give more personal attention to each guitar and frankly have more riding on each guitar than a bigger company. The bigger companies can and do put out some great guitars but IMHO, they tend to be less consistent in doing so. The individual luthiers also build amazing guitars but because of economies of scale, they tend to cost considerably more than the small shop guitars.

    This really is the golden age of acoustic guitars and tere are a bunch of amazing companies out there building great guitars. If you're looking for a fingerstyle guitar but not married to the older martin style sound, check out Goodall and Lowden and probably Larivee. They build amazing fingerstyle guitars with a different tonal family than Martin in a variety of sizes. If you want a traditional Martin sound, look at the SCGC, Collings, Goodall traditional line and the Larivee traditionals. If the issue is more one of comfort, try some other shapes that may work as well or better for you.

    For me the choice is a bit more complicated than between a Martin and a SCGC. You should do some research and find a few high end acoustic dealers within reasonable distances - Toronto, Pittsburgh, Wildwood in Conshocton, OH has a great inventory, and then take a few day trips to play as many guitars as you can. One guitar will grab you and you'll know you've found the one. It might be a Martin or a SCGC, they build some very nice guitars, or it might be something else. Bottom line is that you don't want to spend a ton of cash on an acoustic and three weeks later play something that you never even considered and kick yourself for not waiting.

    But... if I had to make a choice between a Martin and a SCGC without playing the individual guitars, I'd instantly choose for the Santa Cruz.
     

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