Your Questions About Investing In Martin Guitars

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John asks…

What is a good acoustic guitar for a beginner? Should i invest big? Is a Gibson/Epiphone all right?

I’m 16 and just enrolled in a guitar course in school. I’m very serious about purchasing one that i can use that is durable and has great sound. I can’t decide on a brand tho. i’m looking at a Gibson/Epiphone on ebay for two hundred. Seller is 99.7% positive feedback. Would this be a good beginner? Or would it be a lot of upkeep? Can i take it wherever (e.g. to a friend’s to play, to my school for class, etc.)? If you have any specific brands or models i would appreciate it.
Thank you.

financi4 answers:

I’ve been playing a Gibson Epiphone for years. I had some junky guitars when I started playing. All had bad actions and were hard to play. I think my Epiphone cost me $230 new in 1998.

I bought a good case and take it wherever I want. It’s pretty good as far as wear and tear go. I don’t do much to keep it in good condition. It usually goes back in the case as soon as I’m done playing. I’ve put a few scratches in it, but nothing big. I wipe it down when I’m done playing but rarely use any kind of polish or cleaner.

I’ve gone through a truckload of different string set-ups over the years. I used to use Martin strings, then D’Addario. I switched to Ernie Ball Earthwood a few months ago and they play so easy. I tried Elixer strings last month. They’re good, but they cost twice as much as the Ernie Ball strings and I think the Ball’s last longer and sound better. Elixer is a gimmick.

If I was going to buy a new guitar tomorrow I would get a Breedlove. I’ve played a bunch of them and like them better than Ovation, Takamine, or Martin. (but I like it because it has a good action and a nice hollow sound…not a tinny sound like the Takamine.)

Ken asks…

Is it okay to use wood polish on an acoustic guitar?

It’s steel stringed (if that makes any difference) and I don’t have the time or the money to go out to a music store and buy guitar polish.

financi4 answers:

I agree with Josiah; don’t use household furniture polish on your acoustics. Instead, invest in a bottle of polish made by Martin, Gibson, or Fender.

You can’t go wrong with either three.

Mark asks…

I just bought an acoustic guitar, what is the right humidity to hold it in?

I just bought a zager, and my room is about 70-74 degrees, and 69-70% humidity wise
what’s a good range of humidity/temperature to keep an acoustic guitar?

financi4 answers:

45 to 55 percent is Ideal
How does relative humidity affect guitars?
Wood will try to equalize to it’s surrounding air, in temperature and humidity. If wood becomes too moist it will swell; on the other hand, if wood gives up it’s moisture, it will shrink. All are physical characteristics of wood.

What is the desired level of humidity?
45%-55% relative humidity is optimum. If this is obtained, you minimize the risk of damage. This is the relative humidity the Martin Guitar factory maintains.

What if my guitar has been subject to excessive humidity?
If your guitar has been exposed to excessive humidity seams may separate, bridges may become loose and your action may become unplayable. A dehumidifier is recommended if your guitar has seen these changes.

What if my guitar has been stored in a dry environment?
Low humidity seems to be more of an issue. As your guitar dries, the wood actually shrinks. This results in the top lowering and the strings come with it. All of this stress results in the wood cracking. To solve this problem you should invest in a humidifier. Be sure to also get a hygrometer to measure how much humidity you bring into the air.

What happens to my guitar at 60% humidity?
At 60% relative humidity or above symptoms may include tarnished frets and strings, corrosion to nickel, chrome or gold plating on tuning machines, swelling of the top, high action and loose braces and bridges.

What happens to my guitar at 50% humidity?
At 50% relative humidity your guitar is in good condition.

What happens to my guitar at 40% humidity?
At 40% relative humidity you may see sharp fret ends. This is the area of the fingerboard that extends over the body that may begin to crack slightly from the 12th or 14th fret toward the soundhole.

What happens to my guitar at 35% humidity?
At 35% relative humidity your top will begin to shrink. The soundboard may look and feel rippled or dried in. The sharp fret ends seen in 40% relative humidity will become more evident.

What happens to my guitar at 30% humidity?
At 30% relative humidity you may see cracks in your guitar. Even if you do not see a crack in the guitar, it has still lost moisture and the top has begun to sink. To make your guitar playable you may need a higher saddle.

What happens to my guitar at 25% humidity?
At 25% relative humidity more cracks are seen. Fret filing may be needed.

Thomas asks…

What is the best acoustic guitar I can get for $400?

I just got $400 for my birthday and I want to invest it on my own special present, a acoustic guitar. With the $400 i am willing to spend, what is the best acoustic guitar for my buck?

financi4 answers:

Yamaha, new or a good used Gretsch or Martin..

Robert asks…

Can I run an acoustic electric through my electric amp?

I have a nice martin acoustic electric and a fender super champ XD practice hybrid amp (part tube/part solid state). I am wondering if i need to invest in an acoustic amp or if this would work fine and not damage anything, I don’t really like running it through a PA system.

financi4 answers:

It should be fine. In fact the Fender Super Champ XD has a voicing on the second channel made for acoustic guitars. It models an acoustic guitar amp. It is Voice number 16. That was is made specifically for an acoustic guitar so you should be good to go. No need for another amp.

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