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Dear Emily: Choosing The Right Martin Acoustic

Posted by cfmartinguitar

Dear Emily,

I really want to purchase a Martin acoustic guitar but I have no idea where to start...HELP! -Tom


Custom Shop Administrator-Emily

Dear Tom,


There are so many guitars out there..which one is right for you? Sometimes it's hard to know where to start. I always tell people try out some different sizes and see what feels comfortable. I met a petite woman once who loved her Grand Jumbo and would play nothing else. I also know some very tall people who think Dreadnoughts are uncomfortable. So find a few sizes that feel comfortable and you can experiment with sound from there.

The guitar is your tool to create whatever music you want. So the next question to ask yourself is what do you want to create? Are you a singer-songwriter? Are you looking to play rhythm or leads? Do you want your guitar to punch through a group of instruments and really stand out? Are you playing in bars or will this be more of a family heirloom?


Chris Eckhart, our custom shop setup guru, plays a lot of alternate tunings. For him, a long scale (25.4") sounds and holds intonation way better when he drops tuning. Ergonomically, he feels more comfortable with smaller bodies like an OM or 00. Chris' playing style is more mellow and atmospheric so it makes sense that he prefers a softer species of wood for a top. A softer top really lends itself to a delicate touch and full sound. Chris will reach for a 14 fret instrument first when playing with a capo because he has better accessibility to the fingerboard. It's hard for him to pick a favorite because so many awesome guitars come across his bench, but the first thing he blurted out was "walnut back and sides!" He loves the balance and clarity of walnut especially with his unique playing style.

So yes, choosing the right acoustic guitar is very close and personal to you.

And since you are reading this, you should definitely check out Guitar Center's Singer-Songwriter contest that gives you the chance to win a Martin guitar and a mentoring session with Martin Ambassador Cody Simpson. You can enter here and good luck!

Emily has worked at Martin Guitar for 9 years. She has been cross-trained in every aspect of guitar building and currently serves as the Martin Guitar Custom Shop Administrator. Dear Emily is an advice column that will appear bi-monthly on the Martin Guitar Blog.

Topics: Ask Emily

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